I wanted to share something very personal to me. our art collection. not pictures or anything, but the artists that we collect. My wife Rania and I have, over the last few years, been trying to collect works of DC area artists. We're pretty committed to promoting and supporting local art and we have a lot of great friends that happen to be great artists. Place and community are important to us. We also want to shape our collection into something very personal and a narrative of sorts or our life, people and things that we want to be close to. Our collection is one venue and outlet for our creativity. I've talked to a number of people recently that want to collect DC art but were uncertain where to begin. I hope this helps those people... as well as just serving as a list for me to remind myself to buy art. Plus, you know.. if any of you want to buy us gifts (our birthdays are both in february). And yes, its 100% subjective. And no, I mean no offense if you are not on this list.
So far, we've managed to get works by these wonderful artists:
I knew Novie a looong loong time ago, well before either of us knew of one another as artists. I was taking a year off of college, she was working at a punk rock pizza joint where a roommate of mine worked. We were acquaintances, but not really friends. I re-met her at a lecture at the Arlington Art Center and she showed me some of her work. I fell in love with it. Plus Novie is a great woman. I got to know Novie better as we were both on the board of the Washington Sculptors Group for a spell and we are now studio neighbors out in Mount Rainier. I can't get enough of her work and if rich enough would get her to design an entire room. I deeply hope that I can actually work with her on projects in the future.
I first saw Andrea's work at Artomatic back in 2002. Stunning pieces and I've been buying jewelry from her for years. Her studio was nearby our house and before she took a sabatical from DC we bought a small piece of hers. we need a larger piece i'm afraid. it's unique and beautiful. natural and synthetic. delicate and indestructible. I dont know a soul that doesn't love her work.
Once michael started working in his now renowned scraffito technique i really wanted a piece of his. I've managed to pick up a few of his pieces at the Washington Glass School open studios. I'd really love to buy a large panel of his works, especially his more architecturally oriented pieces. he should be an art megastar. His work is that compelling.
I met and became good friends with Tim at the 2002 Artomatic. I had gone a bit over the top with a painting installation at that artomatic and was fortunate to have tim fall in love with my work. I was able to barter with tim to get some cool pieces of his. nothing like his newer pieces... which i covet. Even though he is mostly known, these days anyway, for his self contained video installations, my favorite pieces of his are complicated and narrative arrays of found objects with cast and blown glass. series such as the 7 deadly sins. But then again, maybe if ya'll would stop buying his work, his prices would go down and i could afford it. ; ) Tim is one of the founders of the Washington Glass School, a MUST SEE studio for every art lover and collector in the dc area.
Kirk Waldroff -
I met Kirk in 2003 through the Mather Studios, a subsidized housing project for artists. we became friends, but also, along with Kristina Bilonick and rania hassan, worked together on a secret project called Art Monday. We've even exhibited together under the pseudonym Arthur Monday. Kirk is a printmaker and carpenter, but sometimes casts his wood blocks in glass. or concrete. ( he and i made a concrete countertop for his place once)
I set up across from Jaime at a Crafty Bastards and few years ago and fell in love with her and her work. I bought a piece of hers as a present for Rania for Christmas last year. I guess really all i have is a print. I want originals, so I'll have to keep checking her work out.
Kerri and I became friends through the Washington Glass School where she used to teach. She was doing some interesting work with Venus figures and drawings on cast plate glass. recently I plastered the walls of her new house.
Beth and i worked together at the Shakespeare Theatre. I've known her for, i guess around 12 years or so. i have a few small pieces of hers from original pastel to prints to her current series of plush figures.
I've absolutely loved Scott's work since I first saw it... prolly at Artomatic 2000?.. I became friends with Scott at some point... don't really know how... but I was fortunate to go to his moving sale and score a really cool piece. The pieces of his that I love are, like a few artists that i know, a bit beyond our budget.
I don't remember when I met Kelly, but the first time I saw his work was at the warehouse cafe and he had done a large painting, possibly on the wall. super cool. i first got to hang out with kelly while doing the Pool Tradeshow in Vegas a few years ago. i've gotten two pieces as gifts. but I hope I can buy a large piece of his someday.
Erin creates really cool holga photos. but she has a certain and unique style that I really like. I first met Erin through Artdc.org and some gallery hopping. recently she's been seduced by the dark side of art: sculpture. I'm excited to see where that might go.
Sean Welker ( Sadly, he's moved on to Chicago. Rat bastard)
If sean had stayed in dc we'd be best friends by now. I love him, and his work. I picked up only a very tiny piece of his at his going away studio sale. i got to visit with him once in Chicago and would love to go back.
Carlos Beltran Baldiviezo-
I set up next to and met Carlos a few years ago at the Downtown Holiday Market just outside the National Portrait Gallery in DC. His figurative clay sculptures are beautiful and we traded pieces. I really like his work, though I have only seen him a few times since. he works out of the Torpedo Factory in Alexandria, Virginia.
Jessica Wade Howard
Jessica made a painting for us when we got married. I met jessica and her husband Lee, another sculptor, during my time at the Shakespeare Theatre. Jessica was once one of the set painters, then went on to work for Stanislavsky theatre, and then onto motherhood and a non art job. I hope she someday finds her artwork again. she's very talented.
I would wholeheartedly recommend adding these artists to your collection. We, of course, have some fine examples of our OWN WORKS. all over our house. too many. want some? Clearly you should have our works too.
There are still a ton of artists that we still want pieces from and I would encourage everyone to seek them out. That list includes, but is not limited to:
I have been in love and a hero-worshiper of margaret forever. she's awesome and her work kicks ass. I really want a piece of hers but I know that I will need to be very careful in picking which one. Also, once margaret co curated a show at DCAC with a curatorial statement that still haunts me. Her studio is a MUST SEE for every collector and art lover in the DC area.
I first met Sondra through her curation of the DC City Hall's Art Collection ( which you should go through... for free, any weekday) . She's a masterful curator, but a subtly amazing encaustic aritist. I say sublte, because the impression that her work has made on me has been slow. Perhaps I have grown to appreciate it, but I think that the non objective nature calls for a contemplation that takes time. In any case, all of the sudden her work became fresh in my eyes. It's funny how that works.
Now, I could kick myself for not buying one of Erwin's Snake Lights when I first saw it and I could actually afford it. Someday. Someday I will get a piece of his. Erwin is a director and studio mate of mine at the Glass School, so I've gotten to talk to him quite a bit about his work. His news stuff is going to skyrocket him. Buy it if you can.
Chris is a master of iron and metal working. A MASTER. If you appreciate quality functional metal pieces, check his stuff out. I'd kill for him to make me a dinning room table. Or just about anything.
Mike is a friend also through the Mather artists. His metal sculpture is a bit mind numbing when you contemplate his exactness and labor. Now, of course, he's gigantic and his greatness means i never see him anymore. Someday i'll get one of his pieces though.
A glass artist that makes exquisitely cast glass "boats" with wonderful metal stands. The simplicity and elegance of his work is very nice, and really its only that its cast glass and steel that it would fit in our collection, as i think "exquisite" doesn't describe what we usually like. I guess you start to learn a lot about yourself as you collect art.....
I met Syl through the Washington Glass School.
Allegra's work is playful, and colorful, yet highly industrial and rugged. no one is doing work like her.
Another Washington Glass School artist.
I first saw Dave's work at an artomatic, though i'd heard of him earlier since he owns and operates one of DC's only hot shops. I met Dave mainly through taking a metal casting class at his DC glassworks, and i keep stopping by to say hi. we've been in some shows together. anyway, his work is fantastic. narrative, symbolic, rugged, unusual, a bit crazy. everything i like in sculpture, Dave represents.
Megan Van Wagoner
Another DC Glassworks artist. I first saw Megan's work at Artomatic 2009. She had these cast glass potatoes on ceramic pillows with a kind of decorative element, all held up by steel. Delicate, rugged, 3 great materials. subtly strange, yet poignant. Totally engaging work. I've only managed to buy some of her functional pieces.. 2 coffee mugs.. but we'll get some sculpture sometime.
I first learned of Jeanette through Artdc.org. Loved her work, but it really doesn't translate to a jpeg well. Seeing her work in person you can really see how detailed and rich it is. I like works that just dominate and force you to believe in another world entirely. Her work does that. I don't ever see Jeanette, so i don't know her as much as other people on this list, but i've met her once and know her to be rock solid.
I first saw and met leila through Artomatic.. 2008? A great combination of silk screening on steel and ceramic. Once part of the Boozer Kingdom of Red Dirt Studios, I saw leila fairly regularly, and i think we both learned to MIG weld at the same workshop at Sam Notos studio in Greenbelt. Plus Leila is super nice.
Andrew is a bad ass, plain and simple. Once i went to a show of andrews where his girlfriend was dressed up as a nurse and he stayed in a closed coffin the entire time. How hot is that? to me, HOT. I love andrew to death and hope I get to spend more time with him. And I want one of his paintings.. but may have to settle for a less expensive series.
I first saw Cory's work as spray paint work on a column at Artomatic 2007 (nearly all of my friends are through artomatic....). He had these roller derby girls and penguins. totally fresh. totally cool. i didnt actually met him for a few years... maybe 2009? Not sure. He's become a friend now though and I really look forward to seeing his new work.
I met jenny through my half assed attempt to become part of Sparkplug, the artist collective formed by DCAC. Sadly it conflicted with Sunday dinners with the Mather artists and I had to bail on it. No regrets and now I see Jenny fairly often. Her work in mono type has a haunting quality and an imagery that lingers with you. I've not yet decided on which vein of her work i like the most.
I met cheryl through the Washington Glass School. She's been on a hiatus from making work, but when she gets back to it in 2011 i'm sure we'll see really great work come out of her.
I first met sherill at artomatic 2000 and admired her work from the get go. ( another example of why you should snap at work you like right away!.. hard lesson learned thank you erwin timmers) i didnt really become friends with Sherill till the last few years. I even have an upcoming show with her, thanks to her for arranging it and inviting me to participate.
I met Kristina through the Washington Glass School. I used to go to her open studios in MidCity. and see her around at shows. Once rania and i started doing street festivals, i became friends with Kristina and she was part of our Art Monday thing. Kristina keeps going on to greater and greater things all the time. Her work is really cool. I had a framed silk screen at my house for a long time ( not a print.. the actual screen) but was just holding it and friend of mine bought it. I own a shirt she silk screeend but no real artwork. Someday that will be remedied.
I first saw matts work at artomatic 2000 but didn't really meet him until 2005. Matt is simply the most prolific painter in the world. no dc collection can be complete without a sesow. matt is also one of the most dedicated people i've ever met. he is also Dana Ellyns husband. someday he'll take me up on the going out for drinks offer i always make. ; )
Maybe the second most prolific painter in the world. She's matt sesows wife, making them the most awesome art couple. Dana's work is very obviously akin to matts work, but she has more emphasis on the drawing and coherency of brush work. Her style has noticeably gotten tighter since i first saw it, and i really like the direction it's gone.
Emily Greene Liddle
Another artist i first saw at Artomatic. And there was a time i saw her work EVERYWHERE. all kinds of shows. I didnt meet emily until the past 2 years I think. she's an amazing painter with a very minimal classy approach, though her content is a bit dark. All the better. She's a super cool woman and she and her husband are two of the nicest people you'll meet. I wish I knew them better. And had a painting.
I don't personally know Billy, but his work is absolutely fantastic. I want a piece if his. we have many many mutual friends, so i know he's a great guy. And that's important to me in buying peoples work.
CeCi Cole McInturff
Ceci's studio. gallery is right around the corner from my house. i don't know her well, but i love Ceci and her work just keeps getting better and better. It's probably time to get some before her prices go up.
Brendan is a neighbor of mine and really genuine guy. His work is irreverent with really cool found objects. He has a smart biting satire in his work. We'll have to get one of his pieces soon.
I've only met Decoy a handful of times, but if you've been in DC for a bit, you've seen her work. One of the most prolific DC street artists in the 2000's. She's got her own style and a multitude of series. Hopefully DC will have her around for a long time.
Bridget Sue Lambert
Another person i've only met a few times but Bridget is really nice and has a very cool aesthetic. I like miniatures and dollhouse/ diorama/ model kinds of things and she's got that is spades. Cool work, and though photography doesn't tend to draw me, hers does.
Cool cool guy. And very dynamic. Henrik founded Art Outlet which has produced some of the most fun art shows in the dc area. His prints are graphic and punk rock and i love that.
i've never met Chrisitan, though I've tried. I first saw his work at....yup.... Artomatic and absolutely love it.
Mark's work is wickedly cool. So complicated and skillful. Plus mark is a great guy and was extremely vital in the work of the washington sculptors group.
I first met Sergio and his awesome artist wife Claudia at Artomatic 2007. I've been to their beautiful studio, which i recommend visiting. i don't see them much and i don't think they are particularly active in the DC gallery world, but i do love them. A very kind couple, and extremely dedicated to art making.
Sergio's work hits me in a way that jives right. its visceral work that forms a visceral reaction.
Matt is a super great guy who creates a wonderful world of soft sculpture. he does photography and prints and drawings, but his sculpture is what i absolutely am drawn toward.
This list will be amended as my brain works through it.
Then there are far too many people whose work doesn't really fit our collection or house or budget but I admire greatly nonetheless. Even people who are good friends. I'm not even going to list them, but most are on the WPA Artfile or the WSG Gallery, which i would encourage all DC area collectors to check out. As i said, a collection of art becomes your voice, you should shape it in a way that jives with you. Buy a piece of art because you love it.
Red Dirt Studios
Washington Sculptors Group
Washington Glass School
We do have some non-dc artist's pieces too, but that's a different post for a different time.
in short, here are my tips:
1. If you love it buy it now.
2. Buy what you love. buy what speaks to you.
3. It means more if you get to know the artist. Go to open studios. Meet an artist for coffee. Go to openings, but get there early.
4. Take art workshops. you'll make something, learn about the process, and meet tons of artists.