Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Matthew Parker: An Appreciation

Matthew Parker: An Appreciation

An artist on his work and living with cancer

Matthew Parker is one of my best art buddies. We met almost 20 years ago when we were festival neighbors, and we’ve set up at dozens of DC-area events since then. Matt makes intricate hand-cut collages of hundreds of photos that he takes of landmarks, neighborhoods, sporting events and more, capturing familiar places in a unique way.

Artist Matthew Parker
Matthew Parker

When he started to make photo collages, Matt drew upon his background as an architect. He credits the curriculum at The University of Tennessee School of Architecture with teaching him to understand a place through “observing, sketching, and looking at the landscape.” His first collages of Washington landmarks included a 2001 study of the Capitol building, photographed on multiple days over three months, in many different lights.

Art by Matthew Parker

He tries to convey what he calls “the poetics of space” by observing a place over time -  days, months, or even years - and bringing together multiple perspectives in a single image. His favorite collages use the motif of light as a throughline. He explains that this 2006 piece, Rush Hour, came about when he was photographing sunsets from the DC side of the Memorial Bridge, reveling in the beauty of the light even as drivers raced by, oblivious. Matt used long exposures to create images of horizontal streaks of light from the cars’ brake lights, echoing the patterns of the sunset.

For a more recent collage of the Jefferson Memorial, Matt photographed the frozen tidal basin in December, capturing the pink and purple tones of the wintry sky, and then again in March and April, when the cherry blossoms were blooming in similar shades. Finally, he collaged the images into a harmonious whole.

For years, Matt has worked hard at both architecture and art, exhibiting at festivals and enjoying road trips with his wife LeaAlice and their two young sons. His life took an unexpected turn in 2018, when Matt was diagnosed with male breast cancer (MBC). He was understandably shocked by the news: less than 1% of breast cancer cases occur in men. Even his experienced oncology team admitted that they had seen only a handful of cases of MBC in their careers.

Scheduled to begin chemotherapy in October 2018, he asked to delay a few days so he could show his work at Art on the Avenue, his favorite art and craft show in Alexandria, VA. His doctors were surprised, “but they respected that,” he says, and they encouraged him to continue making art as he underwent treatment.

Following chemo, surgery, and radiation, Matt’s cancer was in remission by June 2019. Unfortunately, it came roaring back, and in February 2021 he was given a diagnosis of Stage IV cancer: treatable, but no longer curable. For the next two years, Matt was on a regimen of oral chemotherapy, which he describes as “popping a pill once a day, basically living normally” to try to keep the cancer at bay.

Matt’s cancer recurred more aggressively last fall, spreading to his brain, spine and bones, and since then, he has been in what he calls “serious chemo,” which has left him with very little energy, at times unable to walk. He began a course of whole-brain radiation last week.

Now, at age 47 and facing a daunting prognosis, Matt is still making art, whenever he has the energy. “I have a gift of this art that I can do,” he says, “and I rely on it as a coping mechanism.” While he has taken periodic breaks from showing art during treatment, he always goes back, noting that “connecting with customers has been huge – it’s beautiful to hear that people love your work.” He notes that the planning that goes into a festival or exhibition takes his mind off cancer.

“The art has been this thing that helps me to be normal again. I’m going to keep going until I can’t.”

You can find prints of Matt Parker’s photo collages at Locally Crafted in Gaithersburg, Maryland, and on Etsy.

Monday, May 27, 2024

In case you forgot


Michael Janis to create the Ward 5 Public Art Memorial

Honoring the Unseen Builders of Democracy: Join the First Community Presentation for DC's Ward 5 Public Art Memorial

Post by Chip Montague.

In a historic move to acknowledge and honor the invaluable contributions of enslaved individuals who helped build the U.S. Capitol, the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities (CAH), in collaboration with the DC Office of Planning (OP), has selected DC Michael Janis to create the Ward 5 Public Art Memorial. This significant project aims to shed light on the often overlooked role of over 200 enslaved people whose labor laid the foundation for one of the most iconic symbols of democracy.

Date: June 22, 2024

Time: 2:00 PM – 4:00 PM

Location: Landon Park Recreation Center, 2901 20th St NE, Washington, DC 20018

Janis, Co-Director of the Washington Glass School (WGS), has been actively engaging with the DC Ward 5 community to ensure that the memorial resonates with the local residents and accurately reflects the historical significance and human stories behind the Capitol’s construction. This community-centered approach underscores the importance of collective memory and inclusivity in public art.

The upcoming community presentation on June 22nd at the Landon Park Recreation Center will provide a platform for Ward 5 residents to view and discuss the proposed design for the memorial. This event is not only a preview of the memorial but also an invitation for the community to contribute their voices to this landmark project.

The memorial aims to be a poignant reminder of the systemic racism and exploitation that have marred American history, while also celebrating the resilience and enduring legacy of those who were enslaved. Situated in the nation’s capital, this tribute will join the ranks of many other monuments and memorials, enriching the narrative with stories of those who have been historically marginalized. As the Nation’s capital, monuments and commemorative works have typically been focused on or reserved for commemoration to individuals or subjects of national importance within the monumental core, the original L’Enfant City, and mostly in Wards 1, 2, 3, and 6. Many of these subjects participated in slavery, systemic racism, and the mistreatment of, or took actions that suppressed equality for, persons of color, certain groups of people, and women.

DC's Commemorative Works Program reviews proposals submitted by sponsors, but since the program was established in 2001 has received only a handful of applications for local subjects. OP's Commemorate DC work includes technical assistance to community partners in Wards 4, 5, 7, and 8 to identify commemorative subjects and sites before supporting efforts in Wards 1, 2, 3, and 6. The Office of Planning's partners are convening meetings with community groups and residents to discuss subjects to commemorate, appropriate sites, and concept designs of commemorative works. Concept designs will be reviewed by the Commemorative Works Committee who will make a recommendation on each proposal to the Mayor and District Council, who have final review and approval. A link to the 4 initial Commemorative projects here.

The DC Public Art Memorial is more than a work of art; it is a symbol of reconciliation, education, and recognition. It will invite all visitors to reflect on the past and encourage ongoing dialogue about equality and justice.

DC's Commemorative Works Program. 

Join Michael Janis, the DC CAH & OP along with the Ward 5 community on June 22nd to witness the unveiling of a project that seeks to honor the past and inspire a future of inclusivity and acknowledgment. This is a n important occasion for Washington, DC, and for the nation, as we begin this transformative initiative. 

More images and lots more info on Michael Janis's historic project here: http://washingtonglassschool.com/wgs-michael-janis-selected-as-artist-to-create-new-washington-dc-memorial

Friday, May 24, 2024

Wolverine Campello

That somewhat scary dude is me, probably in a photo booth in Times Square around when I was 15 or 16... looking remarkably Wolverinish with those giant sideburns! 

Lenny Campello, Times Square phone booth early 1970s

Thursday, May 23, 2024

Lume Deodorant ads: please stop!

I get between 4-8 Lume Deodorant spam emails a days from multiple sites... I am curious which part of the algorithm triggered that fucking equation? Unless with all the AI stuff, my phone, or Alexa, or my laptop can smell my pits?

Monday, May 20, 2024

Another fair model

 Free to a Good Home: Artists Launch a New Fair to Clear Unsold Works From Their Studios


Thursday, May 16, 2024

This weekend in Reston: The Tephra Fine Arts Festival!

I'll be in booth 626 at the Tephra Fine Arts Festival in the Reston Town Center this weekend!

I checked out all their artists online, and here are my top picks, which I will confirm on Saturday!

I liked Lauren deSerres' art (she's in booth 925) - she notes that she "is a mixed media painter who creates whimsical imagery of nature and animals to create stories addressing the human experience and our impact on the world." 

Ning Lee in booth 909 is a wondrous landscape painter.

Matthew Miller in booth 510 is easily the best trompe l'oeil painter in the outdoor fine arts field - his work is simply spectacular and he'd be my Best in Show winner at any show!

"Pamplemousse" 12"x9" Oil on panel by Matthew Miller
"Pamplemousse" 12"x9" Oil on panel by Matthew Miller

Kristin Moger's highly sophisticated animal-themed work is also notable (in booth 935)! She writes:

My meticulously patterned ink art reflects my love of nature, biology, geology, art history, ethnic art from around the world and textiles. I notice patterns in everything, from grande to microscopic. I harken back to these loves as I draw my joy and compassion-infused art. 

Wednesday, May 15, 2024

Festival Season: Time to Pitch the Tent and Sell the Art!

Guest post from Michele Banks!

In May, outdoor art and craft shows begin to spring up like dandelions, ranging from small, local events lasting a few hours to four-day extravaganzas with hundreds of elaborate booths.

In my 20 years of making and selling art, I’ve participated in hundreds of outdoor art and craft shows. I vastly prefer festivals to gallery shows, for one simple reason – people buy my work.  At my last gallery opening, after devoting months of work to creating a meaningful and cohesive exhibition, I sold one small painting. The very next day, I set up a tent at a festival and sold twelve.

The Michele Banks tent!
The Little Shop of Science: set up and ready to go
And I absolutely get it! A tent on the street is much less intimidating than an art gallery, where you often have a vague sense that you’re doing something wrong and it’s mysterious how you might go about buying something, or if you’re even supposed to. In the tent, the work is clearly for sale, the price is on the tag, and you can take it with you.

One of the best things about art festivals is getting direct feedback on your work. It’s incredibly instructive to observe which pieces people look at and which ones they choose to buy, and how those categories diverge. Festivals are also great opportunities to describe or explain your work to people (over and over and over), honing your message as you discover which images and words make people’s eyes light up.

There are, of course, major drawbacks to showing art at festivals. Obviously, the success of outdoor events is highly dependent on the weather.  No amount of marketing will bring out a crowd to look at art outdoors in a rainstorm, and even the strongest tent is no match for high winds.

Also, doing festivals is hard physical work. All my stuff - paintings, tables, tent, weights, display walls, bags, and more - has to be schlepped from home to car, car to tent, set up, taken down, tent to car, car to home again. It might take two hours to set up my tent for a five-hour event, not including loading in and out and driving to and from the venue.

The top outdoor art festivals are competitive and expensive, with some selecting one in 10 applicants and charging up to $1000 for a 10x10 foot space. In theory, I could get on the circuit and do these major festivals, where I could probably sell higher-priced work. However, assembling the infrastructure to do the big shows (heavy-duty booth, portable walls, lighting, etc.) practically demands that you have a van and lots of storage space - and I live in a condo and drive a Prius.

So I end up generally doing the best one-day events I can find that are close to my home in Washington, DC. And that’s where you’ll find me, in my traveling Little Shop of Science, about a dozen times a year. My next stops are at SoweboFest in Baltimore on May 26 and Glover Park Day in DC on June 1.

I’d love to see you there! I expect to be adding more events around DC to my calendar soon, and as always, if you can’t make it, you can shop online.

While on the subject, I'll be in booth 626 at the Tephra Fine Arts Festival in the Reston Town Center this weekend!

Tuesday, May 14, 2024

The curious case of King Charles III portrait

 Cough... cough...

official portrait of King Charles III by British artist Jonathan Yeo
Official portrait of King Charles III by British artist Jonathan Yeo

Monday, May 13, 2024

Susan LaMont at Susan Calloway Fine Art

The immensely talented Susan LaMont will open "Personality and Place" with a reception this Saturday at Susan Calloway Fine Art from 4 to 6 p.m.

The Garden Room, oil on panel, 20"h x 24"w by Susan LaMont
The Garden Room, oil on panel, 20"h x 24"w by Susan LaMont

Susan Calloway Fine Art and Consulting

1643 Wisconsin Avenue NW Georgetown

Sunday, May 12, 2024

Saturday, May 11, 2024

Open Studios this weekend!

Visit the largest Open Studios event in the DMV.

The Gateway Arts District - Mount Rainier, Brentwood, North Brentwood and Hyattsville, MD. Four towns, one community.

Over 250 participating artists along the Rt. 1 corridor.

Just at Otis Street Arts Projects (OSAP): Ebtisam Abdulaziz, Jason Bulluck, Stephanie Cobb, Ceci Cole McInturff, Chris Combs, Beth Curren, Art Drauglis, Kendra Lee, Liz Lescault, Kirsty Little, Shelley Lowenstein, Becky McFall, Lisa Rosenstein, Gloria Vasquez, David Mordini and resident artists Jasmine Adams.

Right next to them is the Washington Glass School!

You can also visit uberartist Robin Bell this Saturday! May 11, 12-5PM.

Robin Bell will be at OSAP all Saturday talking about his current exhibition "Objects." 

About the exhibition:

Robin Bell fuses his 3D and sample-based structural art with light interventions in the OSAP’s gallery. The space serves as a canvas for displaying, creating, and expanding his work over two-months. Visitors are encouraged to witness the evolution of the piece by attending both at the start and end of his show. Through this exhibition, Robin hopes to push himself and other DMV artists to confront and comprehend our shared challenges with site-specific interventions.

About Robin Bell:

Robin Bell, founder of Bell Visuals, is an award-winning editor, video journalist, and multimedia artist based in Washington DC. Robin works on a range of creative, political and public interest projects.

Building upon his formal training as a classical printmaker, Robin developed a unique style of live video collage which he has performed at well-known venues, including The Kennedy Center, 9:30 Club, The Phillips Collection in Washington DC, Central Park Summer Stage in NYC, and The Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles, California. Robin was the lead video editor for PBS television show Foreign Exchange with Fareed Zakaria. He also taught video classes at the Corcoran College of Art and Design.

In addition to his ongoing work with ephemeral media forms, Robin creates permanent public art installations, and is the director and producer of the Directed Actions Live Film Series.

This weekend: Bethesda Fine Arts Festival

On May 11 & 12, 20234, the Bethesda Fine Arts Festival takes over Woodmont Triangle, along Norfolk, Auburn & Del Ray Avenues, welcoming over 100 of the nation's best artists, live entertainment, and Bethesda restaurants. Take a glance at the artists attending this year's festival by clicking the link below.

Take a glance at the artists attending this year's festival by clicking here

Admission to the festival is FREE and free parking is available in the public parking garage on Auburn Avenue. This event is held rain or shine. 

My picks? In painting Cassie Taggart in booth 94 and Letitia Lee in booth 55.  Top abstract painter was Jorge Caliguri from Philly in booth 99.

In mixed media I like Susan Roche in booth 71 and Kate Norris' gorgeous collages in booth 19.

And there's not one pedestrian photographer in the show! They are all really good! My personal top pick is John Deng in booth 44.

John Deng
John Deng's booth
See all the photographers here.

Art by Susan Roche
Art by Susan Roche

Thursday, May 09, 2024

The Home I Never Knew; Ni De Aquí, Ni De Allá


Guest Curated by Flor Herrera-Picasso, Casa Azul de Wilson

Opening in June 2024, the Greenville Museum of Art (GMoA) will host The Home I Never Knew: Ni de Aqui, Ni de Alla, a group exhibition of artwork by Latino/a/x artists from or currently residing in the southeast region of the United States.

Accepting artworks by artists ages 15+ and working in all media, the GMoA aims to provide a space for artists identifying within the Latino/a/x community to share about their lives growing up in this region, including hardships, triumphs, and everything in between.

Reclaiming the idea of “ni de aqui, ni de alla,” or “not from here, nor there,” we will highlight the range of individual and shared experiences associated with being both “from here” AND “from there,” belonging or not belonging, or feeling mentally, emotionally, or culturally from elsewhere.

Wednesday, May 08, 2024

"Space Between" by Anne Marchand at Zenith

 SPACE BETWEEN Paintings by Anne Marchand

May 10 - June 15, 2024
1429 Iris Street NW, Washington DC 20012
Open: Wed-Sat Noon-6pm or by Appointment

MEET THE ARTIST RECEPTIONS: Friday May 10, 4-8 pm & Saturday May 11, 2-6 pm
ARTIST TALK: Saturday, June 1, 2-4 pm

“Space Between” delves into the complexities of the human condition, exploring the unseen realms that shape our existence. This exhibition utilizes the power of art to illuminate the spaces between myth and reality, consciousness and subconscious, and intuition and logic.

Art by Anne Marchand at Zenith Gallery

Tuesday, May 07, 2024

The non existing formula for pricing art

 Over in FB land, artist Bardia Jaan asks an often-asked question:

Easy easy question: how do you price your art? 

Material cost + (hourly rate * number of hours * 2)?  Plus studio cost Plus Misc stuff like going to Sushi?

That’s what I thought someone said.  This might be for artists who have just started selling.

In my opinion, there's really no formula - art for sale is a commodity; therefore, ECON 101 tells us about how prices in most cases is driven by supply and demand, but that doesn't work for 99.999% of us because it only works for that art that is very limited in supply but in high demand. 

About a decade ago, you could pick up a painting by my good friend Sam Gilliam at a local DC area auction house for hundreds of dollars, because there was no "demand" and buyers were not willing to pay above a few hundreds for a Gilliam canvas from the past. 

Ten years ago this Gilliam painting from 1972 was estimated at $1000-2000 and sold for $600. That painting is now probably worth several tens of thousands of dollars if not 100s.


A couple of things happened driven by art galleries (not in DC) "discovering" Gilliam and suddenly there was a demand, and his prices skyrocketed and it couldn't have happened to a nicer person! 

Or take the case of Carmen Herrera, for decades and decades her canvasses sold for practically nothing (if they even sold) - then a curator from the Tate "discovered" this artist who had an amazing pedigree (she showed alongside some of the greats of art in the 40x, 50s, etc.) and organized a retrospective for Herrera at the Tate, and suddenly the world art collectors discovered her work and rushed to buy it - creating the demand and thus a huge rise in prices. 

More examples? 

In the 60s Alice Neel was on welfare and traded her paintings to Lida Moser for Moser to take slides of her work so that Neel could try to get galleries interested in her work... then... go back to the top of this post and substitute "Neel" for those two artists... cough, cough...

Sunday, May 05, 2024

Unread emails

In case you wonder why I am often slow in answering emails - that's how many unread emails I have in my inbox... cough... cough...

Lenny Campello's unread emails!!!

Saturday, May 04, 2024

Shawn Yancy at Pepco Edison Place Gallery

The multi talented Shawn Yancy is having a solo show at the Pepco Edison Place Gallery in DC!

Shawn Yancy at Pepco Edison Place Gallery

The show has been curated by Miller Spencer who writes:

One of the DC area’s most respected broadcast news anchors and philanthropists is an amazing artist!  

Miller Spencer is proud to present Shawn’s first solo exhibition Intersections: This is Where We Meet.

Explore Shawn’s beautiful abstract works and get a glimpse into her thoughts, feelings, life experiences and more.

The exhibition ends this month at the Pepco Edison Place Gallery, located at 702 8th St NW, Washington, DC 20068.  

The gallery is open to the public from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays as well as the second Saturday of each month from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. 

Please contact Miller Spencer at info@millerspencer.com to arrange a private tour or request prices.  

Learn more at www.millerspencer.com 

Friday, May 03, 2024

May the Force be with you tomorrow

 Just sayin'...

Hipster Yoda - drawing on Bisque by Florencio Lennox Campello, 2024
Hipster Yoda - drawing on Bisque by Florencio Lennox Campello, 2024

Thursday, May 02, 2024

Stephen King at Dorcas

There is a very cute small library at 28 Main Street, in Prospect Harbor, Maine, and while we were in the area hanging around Winter Harbor last weekend, we stopped to visit as I was told that they had a very large collection of works by Stephen King.

The Dorcas Library did not disappoint! It was small but formidable presence and staffed by two of the nicest lady volunteers on this planet.

Dorcas Library, Maine
Dorcas Library, Maine

My reason for visiting was that I had been told that in spite of its size, they had a formidable collection of books by Maine's best-known writer, the very talented and scary Stephen King (whom I met ages ago in 1979 or 1980 at a SeaCon in Seattle while I was in art school).

The visit did not disappoint, as the collection was indeed spectacular!

Stephen King collection at Dorcas Library, Maine
Stephen King collection at Dorcas Library, Maine

The collection had been donated by a King collector, and then to my spectacular surprise I discovered that also donated was a small etching of King that I had done as an art school assignment in 1980!

Campello with Stephen King etching at Dorcas Library, Maine
Campello with Stephen King etching at Dorcas Library, Main

The American Writer Stephen King, c. 1980 by F. Lennox Campello
The American Writer Stephen King, c. 1980 by F. Lennox Campello