Sunday, March 04, 2012

T-Shirt God

Che Guevara, T-Subula Deus by F. Lennox Campello

Here's the initial step, a the charcoal drawing of the psychopath Che Guevara, one of my recurring themes. The drawing is on watercolor paper, which gives it that rough texture.

Che Guevara, T-Subula Deus by F. Lennox Campello
Ready to acquire a halo

Che Guevara, T-Subula Deus by F. Lennox Campello
Che Guevara with his halo

Che Guevara, T-Subula Deus by F. Lennox Campello
He begins to turn into an icon (is if)... the Latinized inscription reads T-Subula Deus or "T-Shirt God". Notice that I've cut a window in the forehead.

Che Guevara, T-Subula Deus by F. Lennox Campello
And here's the small LCD screen which will be embedded behind the drawing.

Che Guevara, T-Subula Deus by F. Lennox Campello
And here's the final set up, with the LCD screen playing about 75 images of Che's ubiquitous appearances on billions of T-shirts.

Che Guevara, T-Subula Deus by F. Lennox Campello
And here and below are some close-ups of some of the images which rotate through the embedded LCD screen.

Che Guevara, T-Subula Deus by F. Lennox Campello

Che Guevara, T-Subula Deus by F. Lennox Campello

Fellow Potomackers: Fresh Flowers and Furry Friends tonight!

I would have picked somewhat of a better title for the show, but watercolors by Barbara Bell, collages by Merry Lymn, digital work based on photographs of flowers by the very talented Bert GF Shankman, fused glass portraits of dogs by Shirley Hendel and ceramics featuring cats by Leigh Partington all make up the next show at Potomac's Gallery Har Shalom (located at Congregation Har Shalom, 11510 Falls Road, Potomac, MD) and because we're neighbors, I really want to make sure that this gallery gets some attention! And when was the last time that a gallery held an opening reception that started at 11AM?

Opening Reception: Sunday, March 4, 2012, 11am - 1 pm
Exhibit dates: Friday, March 2 - Monday, April 30, 2012
Call for hours and directions: 301-299-7087

Barbara F. Bell uses her own photographs as a major resource for her watercolor paintings. She focuses in this exhibit on regeneration and renewal in the natural world, her palette reflecting the early light and gentle colors of May along the riverbanks, and in the forests and fields of England and America. Barbara began her formal training in art while on academic leave from university teaching. She worked in studio arts at Montgomery College (Rockville) in the 1980s. Retirement from teaching in Montgomery County Public Schools twenty years later afforded her the time to resume her artwork. See for more information.

Merry Lymn began taking formal collage classes in October 2008. In 2009, she was juried into her first art show, and since then she has been juried into several others. She divides her work into five subject areas--landscape, still life, people, Judaica, and wildcard. For this show, the pieces are exclusively flowers for which she created special Jewish flowers including a Shin Flower, a Vase with Shin Flowers, a Shofar Flower, and a Lily from the Song of Songs. See for more images.

Bert GF Shankman presents his Flemish Series of flowers in this show. He first saw this technique of painting when he minored in Art History for his AB at Case Western Reserve University. He practiced this style, called Chiaroscuro, when he studied at the Corcoran College of Art and Design. These pictures use light and dark to model the shapes and forms of the flowers and vases. They are done digitally starting out with photographs of flowers which he grows in his garden. Though decidedly different, they give a feeling of 16th century Flemish art. Visit for more details.

Shirley Hendel was an award-winning decorative painter for many years. Several years ago she was introduced to fused glass and became fascinated with the possibilities for expression that glass materials and techniques offer. She now works exclusively in that medium while trying to maintain the perspective that decorative painting provides. She specializes in pet portraits, especially dogs, but also other creatures both real and whimsical. Her fused glass portraits (you could almost call them caricatures) are not based on actual dogs and cats as much as they are reminiscent of the lovable mutts and house cats that we grew up with or may still be in our lives. Just like these mixed-breed pets, these portraits come in assorted shapes and colors; no two exactly the same.

Leigh Partington has been doing ceramic art for over 30 years. Her work has evolved to include a combination of whimsical wheel-thrown and hand-built pieces that emphasize her love of and appreciation for animals, birds and nature in general. As a feline fancier – cats have always been a part of her life, she portrays them as functional pieces and decorative objects. She combines different clays for a marbled effect in some of her pieces. All pieces are bisque-fired. Then she adds detailed illustrations painted on with Speedball underglazes and dips the pieces in a transparent glaze. She uses a combination of overglazes sponged on the exterior for mottled color effects. The pieces, including ceramic pitchers, garlic keepers, egg separators, ocarinas, and platters, are then oxidation fired in an electric kiln.

Saturday, March 03, 2012

Just back...

Just back from the WPA Select Gala on L Street in DC. As usual, tons of collectors, loads of bids and plenty of good art.

Like any auction or group show curated by a diverse set of eyes, there were mostly excellent superb choices; amongst my favorites:

Joan Belmar. Talking Wood #2, 2011. Acrylic, ink, Mylar, wood, and vinyl on plywood, 30″ x 30″

Victoria F. Gaitan. Bustle No. 2, 2011. Archival print on 100% cotton paper, Edition 1/3, 22” x 33”

See all the artists here.

Looking for...

I'm looking for an emerging hyper-realist painter or a trompe l'oeil painter for a special project... send me some names or websites.

Friday, March 02, 2012

Opportunity for Artists

When: Friday, April 13, 2012

Out of Order is the Maryland Art Place's Annual free-hung Benefit Exhibition, Silent Auction and Party!

This is a great opportunity for artists to (a) help a great art venue and (b) sell work and get 50% of the Samolians.

For more details, access their website: or call 410-962-8565.

Start preparing now...

Thursday, March 01, 2012

Remember when the creator of the iconic Obama campaign poster, now in the permanent collection of the National Portrait Gallery, was accused of ripping off local DMV photographer Mannie Garcia?

Copyright Mannie Garcia/Associated Press
A few days ago Shepard Fairey plead guilty to trying to destroy documents and fabricate others in an attempt to try to conceal his process.

“I was ashamed that I had done these things, and I knew I should have corrected my actions,” he said on Friday in Federal District Court in Manhattan. The LA-based artist and the AP had earlier settled their long-running legal battle over the issue of Mannie Garcia's photograph.

Three years ago I asked the NPG about many of the slimy issues associated with the acquisition of this contested image, including a question that I asked and which I received several run-around emails which never answered my request for clarification for the NPG's acquisition policy.

It is my understanding that contemporary portraits could only be considered for acquisition if the portrait was done by the artist from the actual living subject. At least that's what I was told by an NPG curator a few years ago when I sold a portrait to the NPG. The NPG response should have been an easy one. They could either have said:

(a) Mr. Campello, you are right in that it is the policy of the NPG to acquire contemporary portraits only when the portrait has been done directly from the subject. However, because of the historical importance of this piece, the NPG made an exception to this policy as it would with any important contemporary portraits.

(b) Mr. Campello, you are incorrect when you ask if it is the policy of the National Portrait Gallery to only acquire those contemporary portraits which are done directly from the subject.

Instead I heard crickets back.

Then, I wrote to the NPG and recommended that since the Fairey piece is now in the permanent collection of the National Portrait Gallery (through the generous donation of the DC area's ubercollectors Heather and Tony Podesta) I thought that it is only fair that Garcia's photograph also hang next to Fairey's piece and that the wall text reflect the process via which the ubiquitous Fairey work was created; that tells the whole story about the Obama poster.

Otherwise 100 years from now, people would have forgotten that Fairey and Garcia were apparently linked in the creation of this image, but only one got the credit.

It never ceases to amaze me how some stuff, such as this, which could be so easily and fairly solved, by otherwise nice, kind, progressive people (as I am sure all the head honchos at the NPG are), are otherwise ignored and the little folk, such as Mannie Garcia, get shoved aside from the pages of art history.

Fairey crime can get up to a maximum term of six months in prison and a maximum term of supervised release of one year, as well as a possible fine of up to $5,000, or "twice the gross pecuniary gain derived from the offense or twice the gross pecuniary loss to the victims", whatever the heck pecuniary means.

He will be sentenced on July 16; the NPG is sentenced now for failing to do the right thing for Mannie Garcia.

Saint Sebastian

One of my recurring themes in my love and exploration of the human figure is the legend of Saint Sebastian (martyred around the year 268)... here are some new drawings on the subject; these and others will be in New York in mid April.

The Death of Saint Sebastian by F. Lennox Campello

The Death of Saint Sebastian by F. Lennox Campello

The Death of Saint Sebastian by F. Lennox Campello

The Death of Saint Sebastian by F. Lennox Campello

Go to this on the 3rd...

Born in Dublin, Ireland (which according to Irish creation myths was settled by Spaniards sent by King Milesius and thus why I'm always wondering why Irish people aren't considered Hispanic/Latino... Ireland that is... not Dublin (named after a witch who drowned in a pool of water), which was founded by Vikings and is thus not very Irish after all...), DMV area artist Jackie Hoysted made her home in Maryland in 1996 after working in France, England, Ireland and Florida as a software engineer.

Jackie Hoysted - Girls! Nice Doesn't Cut ItShe has a degree is Computer Science from Trinity College, Dublin (which happens to own a lot of my artwork in their private collection) and a fine arts degree from the Corcoran College of Art & Design (which happens to own zip of Campello art... is that weird or what?).

She has had multiple solo shows of her artwork throughout the US and has been featured in publications, including, The Gazette, the Washington City Paper and the Examiner and even here!.

She was selected by Scott Ligon for inclusion his book The Digital Art Revolution and this wizard and talented artist is the creator of the project Send Me Your Last Cigarette.

When you walk into Gallery 555dc you will be surrounded by Jackie’s current series “Out of Context” Girls! Nice Doesn’t Cut It. These women are "not to be messed with, taken for granted or pigeon holed. They can stand alone or together as sisters."

Champagne Reception: Saturday, March 3rd, 1-5pm and the show hangs till March 30th!

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

This Friday...

Cudlin buries the hatchet

I figured that I better hurry and come up with the above headline before the Washington City Paper does it, but in any event, my good bud Jeffry Cudlin has decided to end his Hatchets & Skewers art blog in perhaps the most eloquent art goodbye ever written.

Check it out here.

Current issue of ACA magazine

The current issue of American Contemporary Art magazine has my usual "Letter from DC" on pages 14-15.

Read it online here.

Washington Glass School is looking for incubator artists

If you have always wanted a studio space to work on your art, but don't have the space right now, or don't have a huge amount to invest in your own studio, then you might like the thought of becoming one of the studio artists at the Washington Glass School.

They welcome artists of many sculptural disciplines – like jewelers, enamellers, and of course, glass artists. The Washington Glass School (near the Rhode Island / Route 1 Eastern Ave border of the District of Columbia) is now accepting applications for their incubator studio space (available immediately).

To get you settled, they are temporarily offering a $50 discount for the first three months. The regular table/studio space rent is $275 per month. Not only do you finally have a dedicated space to work in, but you also join a vibrant and successful group of glass artists and get to benefit from many new opportunities. As a studio artist - besides being part of the arts community - you have full access to the studio's cold shop facility and kiln firings.

Interested? Give Tim Tate a call 202-744-8222! Or email:

Washington Glass School
3700 Otis Street
Mount Rainier, MD
202) 744-8222

Contemporary Uruguayan Artists at the IDB

The exhibit Contemporary Uruguayan Artists will open March 5 in the Cultural Center Gallery of the Inter-American Development Bank, in Washington, DC, in conjunction with the 53rd Annual Meeting of the IDB’s Board of Governors in Uruguay’s capital of Montevideo.

The 17 works include painting, print, sculpture, mixed media, and photography by 13 contemporary artists at a critical point in Uruguay’s history. While each of the works stands out as an individual artistic expression, as a group they reflect a common history and tradition and provide a window on current trends that are transforming the country’s culture and environment. They challenge the viewer to consider certain overarching questions: What is the perspective of each artist and of the group as a whole? What is the cultural and physical landscape that influences their mode of expression?

The exhibit is part of a project called About Change: Art from Latin America and the Caribbean organized by the World Bank Art Program in cooperation with the IDB’s Cultural Center and the Organization of American States’ AMA | Art Museum of the Americas. The project consists of a series of exhibitions being presented in various venues in Washington during 2011–12.

“The IDB is proud to host this exhibition honoring Uruguay and its capital city, Montevideo,” says Bank President Luis Alberto Moreno.

Iv├ín Duque, Chief of the IDB’s Cultural, Solidarity and Creativity Affairs Division, highlights the exhibit’s role in celebrating the Cultural Center’s two decades of activities. “During these 20 years, the center has gained international recognition for bringing the artistic and intellectual heritage of Latin America and the Caribbean to a broad audience,” he says. “The Cultural Center will continue to build on this foundation, which is based in a conviction of the enormous value of the region’s cultural treasures as part of the world’s cultural legacy.”

Marina Galvani, Curator of the World Bank Art Program, describes how the works speak to contemporary issues. “Along with the rest of Latin America,” she says, “Uruguay has reason to celebrate its growing role in the global economy, which even includes signs of reverse migration.”

“But at the same time, artists are moral commentators and often harsh critics,” she continues. “As such, the works clearly express the social and moral collapse of the middle and upper-middle classes, employing in some cases irony, in others, a sympathetic touch. They also reflect delicately—even poetically—on many global subjects, such as the environment, consumerism, and urban decay. ”

Dr. Christina Rossi, art historian from the University of Buenos Aires, was invited by the IDB Cultural Center to write the essay for the exhibit catalogue, which is entitled, “Re-situations.” ”These works grapple with the construction of memory—personal, national, regional, global—as a critical act expressed from the perspective of Uruguay,” she says. “There is no doubt that the realities of Latin America are best interpreted in a global context, and that today’s communication tools enable us to reach well beyond our national borders.”

Artists whose works are represented in the exhibit are Santiago Aldabalde, Ana Campanella, Muriel Cardoso, a group comprised of Gerardo Carella, Federico Meneses, and Ernesto Rizzo, Jacqueline Lacasa, Babriel Lema, Daniel Machado, Cecilia Mattos, Diego Velazco, Santiago Velazco, and Diego Villalba.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

(e)merge is back!

The (e)merge art fair is back for its second iteration.

The dates are October 4-7, 2012.

Last years's inaugural edition of (e)merge featured 80 vetted exhibitors with works by artists from 21 countries. Over 5500 attendees visited the gallery and artist exhibitions, performances, panel discussions, curatorial museum walk-throughs, and private collection tours.

Online applications are now being accepted and the application deadline is April 27, 2012 and notifications willsent via email by June 2012.

GALLERIES + NON-PROFIT SPACES (to apply Click here)

- Exhibitors may present 1-3 artists in each room
- Art being presented may include works in all media: installation, painting, photography, new media, performance, sculpture, works on paper, and video
- The artists presented should not have had any solo museum or Kunsthalle exhibitions

ARTISTS (to apply click here)

Artists whose proposals are accepted by the selection committee will be provided with exhibition space at the Fair free of charge.

To be eligible for artist exhibition space artist applicants must:
- Be currently without gallery representation
- May have had solo gallery shows, but may not have had solo museum or Kunsthalle exhibitions
- Whereas work in all media will be carefully considered, projects involving experimental works in non-traditional formats are especially encouraged . Such work may include installation, conceptual art, performance, new media, or the inventive use of materials to express challenging concepts.

On this date...

In 1854, founded by anti-slavery expansion activists, the modern Republican Party of the United States was organized in Ripon, Wisconsin.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Art Scam Alert!

Ignore this dirtbag... I will take care of him in my own way; see below - all the grammatical errors are his:

Date: Mon, 27 Feb 2012 13:21:12 -0800
Subject: i am interested in your artwork


It was great reading and seeing your ads artwork on i would like to make a purchase as i'm really interested in it.

Let me know the last price and if it still available for sale and it's present condition let me know if you are the real owner, and send me pics as for the Shipping i will take care of that through a pick up.

Hope to hear from you

Philip Eckhardt

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Opportunity for Artists

Deadline: Friday, March 9, 2012

The Bethesda Urban Partnership and Bethesda Arts & Entertainment District has announced “Tunnel Vision,” a public art exhibition to be hung in the Metro Tunnel that runs under Wisconsin Avenue in downtown Bethesda.

“Tunnel Vision” will showcase the work of 12 selected artists inside the Metro Tunnel. Interested artists are invited to submit up to 5 images of their work for review. Each artist will be paid $500 for the license to use their image. If selected, artists will need to provide a high resolution file for the image of their artwork to be printed on a poly metal material, size 4' high x 8' wide. Artists are encouraged to submit artwork that can easily be sized to 4’ x 8’.

Artists must be residents of Maryland, Virginia or Washington, D.C. to be eligible for consideration. There is a category for young artists, age 14-17, to apply. The deadline for submitting images for review is Friday, March 9, 2012. Interested artists should visit this website for more information and the application for consideration.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Wilmer Wilson IV at Conner

One of the young artists whom I've been advising all of you to keep an eye on, Wilmer Wilson IV will be making his debut at Conner/*gogo art projects this coming May (I know that this is a long way away, but I want to make sure that you all start planning it now); the show is titled “Domestic Exchange:”

In this new work, the artist engages issues of identity and race by appropriating the brown paper bag as a cultural symbol identified with bag lunches, alcohol and skin color. Wilson amassed dozens of inflated bags to construct a monumental sculpture with undulating, fleshy forms. On the opening day of the exhibition, from 5 to 8pm, Wilson will present a durational performance: “From My Paper Bag Colored Heart.” Exploring the history of the paper bag as an indicator of racial color, Wilson enacts a liminal struggle between freedom and self-destruction.
There will be an opening night reception, Saturday, May 17h from 6 to 8pm. Artists in attendance.

Wilmer Wilson’s performance will begin at 5pm on Saturday, March 17th and culminate during the opening reception (6-8pm).

Friday, February 24, 2012

Coincidence or one great artist borrowing from another?

I know that I am a pedantic Virgo.

But I also know that seldom there are coincidences when things look a little "too close."

Below is the new video (and megahit) by American uberstar (of Cuban ancestry) Gloria Estefan... check out what happens around 20-23 seconds into the video...

Now see below the artwork of Cuban artist Aimee Garcia Marrero... well-known to Cuban art collectors (and she should be, as she's one of the really talented, young multiple-threat artists); and the Estefans are Cuban art collectors... but judge for yourself:

Aimee Garcia Marrero

Aimee Garcia Marrero
Probably a coincidence from one brilliant mind... and yet, I have a rule about coincidences...

Thursday, February 23, 2012

New Worst Ever

I have this hobby of trying to read as many books as possible (all genres) dealing with Cuba. And I've just finished reading Stephen Hunter's Havana, a fictional account set in Havana in 1953.

This is possibly the worst ever book with a Cuban setting that I've ever read; Especially surprising coming from such a decent fiction writer.

I was also surprised to find that Newt Gingrich reviewed this book in Amazon about eight years ago. Newt writes:

Stephen Hunter has a great knack for country attitudes, good shooting, complex stories and politics.

In "Havana" Hunter captures a moment in time when Castro is just emerging (the Yankees having failed to offer him a $500 signing bonus) and Batista is back in power with the help of the American mob.

Just as in "Hot Springs" where Hunter resurrected the great pre-Las Vegas center of gambling and prostitution (matched in that era only by Youngstown), here he reminds us that Havana in the early 1950s was a city of power seekers, tourist pleasures and American and Cuban mobster domination and corruption.

He weaves together a brilliant Soviet agent, Earl Swagger (hated by the Soviet system for his individuality and protagonist of almost half Hunter's novels), the CIA, the American mob, Fidel Castro and the Cuban secret police into a wonderfully complex and constantly intriguing story.

His characterizations of a young Castro are worth the entire book: "Speshnev looked hard at him and, try as he could, only saw a familiar type, thrown up by revolutions and wars the world over. An opportunist with a lazy streak, and also a violent one... No vision beyond the self, but a willingness to use the vernacular of the struggle for his own private careerism." (p. 101)

"He does carry on don't he? He reminds me of a movie star. They get famous too young and they never recover. They always think they're important." Earl Swagger on young Fidel (p 319)

Whether for fun or learning or both, this is a worthwhile novel.
What Hunter blows in this shoot-em-up story is the background setting of the city itself, plus he takes spectacular license with Cuban history to bend the story to depict a somewhat idiotic young Castro.

Young Castro was a killer and a student mobster in the violent daily activities of Havana University and the city in general, but no one can ever or should ever accuse this murdering dictator of ever being dumb. Castro has the feral intelligence of power-seekers, and he's always had it, especially in the violent days preceding his failed attack on the Moncada Barracks.

Strangely enough, in this key part of the beginning of the Cuban Revolution is where Hunter really torques my pedantic side. In the real course of events, Castro (who is very nearsighted and requires thick glasses for distant vision), was driving one of the leading two cars carrying the rebels attacking the Moncada Army Barracks in Santiago de Cuba.

In the book, Hunter depicts Castro having to rush and drive his car onto the sidewalk to run down three unexpected soldiers - he kills two of them, grabs their machine guns and in a heroic display fights against hundreds of soldiers as the hapless rebels, pinned outside the barracks are mowed down by soldier fire. Eventually, the heroic guerrilla is pulled away from the melee by a Soviet agent in a most unlikely escape.

In reality, what happened was that the rebels had essentially the element of surprise, and were driving into the Moncada compound; however, the brilliant and fearless leader's vanity got the best of him, and he removed his thick, black glasses in order to appear more manly. Not being able to see squat, he quickly drove his car off the street and onto the sidewalk, effectively attracting the attention of the guards, who then sounded the alarm and proceeded to wipe out the attackers.

Fidel, and his brother Raul quickly hi-tailed it out of there - they were about the only attackers who got away - and many witnesses claim that the Castro brothers got the hell out of Dodge as soon as the bullets started flying, leaving their fellow rebels to die on the streets or to be captured and tortured later on by Batista's murderous henchmen.

Perhaps this could be an entertaining read for someone not familiar with the sense of what Havana truly was in the 1950s; a complex, international city where dozens of languages were heard on the streets, with a huge Chinatown and a significant European immigrant population, all that in addition to the casinos and the mobsters and the whorehouses and the brutal police depicted as a single dimension in this book.

But to a pedantic Virgo, it is an offense to the senses; sorry Newt.