Friday, January 06, 2017

Portrait of Lucifer

Satan wears many faces... this is one of them...

Multiple Exposures Gallery looking for new members

Multiple Exposures Gallery is looking for new members...

Multiple Exposures Gallery (MEG), a cooperative fine art photography gallery located in the Torpedo Factory Art Center in Alexandria, Virginia, currently has two membership openings — one permanent membership and one limited term membership through January 31, 2018 — for which they are issuing an open call.
Information sessions
Information sessions will be held at MEG on Saturday, January 7th, and Sunday, January 22nd, from 10am-12pm for photographers interested in learning more about the gallery and our selection process. Topics to be covered include: the benefits of MEG membership; roles and responsibilities of a MEG member; expectations for sales; displaying your work at MEG; the application and portfolio submission process and timeline; and “best practices” for submitting a portfolio for membership consideration.

The information sessions, which are optional, will be held at MEG in Studio 312 at the Torpedo Factory Arts Center, 105 North Union Street, Alexandria, VA  22314. You may RSVP for either information session by sending an email to MEG Vice President Eric McCollum.

Application process
To be considered for membership, photographers must complete a four-step process:
  • Notify Eric McCollum of your intention to apply no later than January 28, 2017.
  • Deliver a portfolio of work to MEG between February 4-7, 2017 between the hours of 11am-5pm.
  • Meet with a minimum of three and maximum of five MEG members before February 23, 2017.
  • Pick up portfolios at MEG between February 24-27 during the hours of 11am-5pm.
Key documents
Below are key documents to review and the application for membership that must be submitted with the portfolio of work:

Jurying for membership will take place on February 23, 2017. Any accepted applicants will be notified soon thereafter.

If you have any questions about this opportunity, please contact Eric McCollum.  

On the second anniversary of a hero's death

Two years ago my father died on this day... here's my eulogy from two years ago:
"Hoy se ha caido otro roble en la selva del amargo exilio" is how I always thought that my father's eulogy would begin once he died.

"Today another oak falls in the jungle of bitter exile," began the eulogy for the man whose bloodlines my children and I carry on.

Florencio Campello Alonso died today at age 90 in Miami, the heart of the bitter Cuban Diaspora. Like many Cubans of his generation, he was the son of European immigrants to Cuba. His Galician parents left the scraggy mountains of northern Spain's ancient Celtic kingdom and in the first decade of the 1900s migrated to the new nation of Cuba upon its liberation from Spain.

Galicians have always been uneasy subjects of the Spanish crown, stubbornly hanging on to their ancient Celtic traditions, to their own language and to their bagpipes, so it is no historical surprise that they left their mountain homelands en-masse and headed to the new tropical paradise of Cuba, free from the heavy hand of the Spanish monarchy.

And thus it was never a surprise to me that my father was both a fighter against heavy-handed rulers, a lover of freedom, and one who was never afraid to re-start a life for the better, even if it involved discarding the old. 

My father could have been one of the privileged few who currently rule atop the food chain of Cuba's Workers' Paradise. But instead of accepting the benefits of oppression, this most valiant of men chose the harsh path of right over wrong.

And he paid for it dearly (he spent years in Concentration Camps), but when he died, his soul was clean.

In his youth, my dad worked the brutal hours of the son of an immigrant who was slowly building a small financial empire in eastern Cuba. My father was pulled from school as soon as he learned to read and write, and like his two other brothers and eight sisters, he was expected to work and contribute to building a familial empire.

And he did, as my mother relates the stories of my father's childhood in the fields of eastern Cuba, a blond creole in a land of jingoist natives... he trying to out-Cuban the "real Cubans"... how he organized a labor union of the exploited Haitians who worked almost as slaves at the Los Canos Sugar Mill, how he joined a group of bearded rebels in the mountains of the Sierra Maestra in the fight against a tyrant, how he ran for the leadership of the Sugar Workers' Union and beat the Communists to the post, and how he spent years in a Castro Concentration Camp, jailed for the crime of refusing to join the Party, because he believed in Democracy and not Communism. 

And because of that stubbornness, in the 1960s he was offered the bitter pill of exile, and this brave man decided to choose family... and left his birth place, and thus became another immigrant within two familial generations and brought his wife and child to another new land.

And it is to him that I owe the greatest gift that a father can give a son: the opportunity to grow in freedom in the greatest nation in the history of this planet.

It is because of my father's courage that I was raised in this country and not in a land bloodied by brutality and oppression.

It is because of my father's teachings that I was raised with the conviction that freedom is not free and never to be taken for granted; after all, he fought for freedom and then Castro, the man who inspired the fight, ended up being a worse dictator, eventually destroying all notions of freedom for all of his people.

It is because of my father that I was taught that every citizen owes his nation some form of service, and that's the main reason that I signed (at age 17) to serve in the US Navy.

It is because of my father that I despise anyone who hides behind the mask of victimism to excuse failures and shortcomings.

When our family arrived in New York in the 1960s, my father began to work in a factory three days after he landed at the airport; my mother (who came from a privileged Cuban family and had never worked a day in her life) found a job as a seamstress five days later. That pattern was repeated for decades as they worked their way in a new nation.

"We thought we'd be back within a few years," was the answer given to me when I once asked the question about leaving their birthplace. When that didn't materialize, they became fierce Americans in the "United States of Americans" sense... these were the "America None Better!" set of immigrants, and in my Dad's case, you better be ready to fight if you dissed the USA.


Always a fighter he was... and always for the right reasons.

Cubans are archaic immigrants... we love this great nation because we recognize its singular and unique greatness; perhaps it is because our forebears had the same chance at greatness and blew it.

And my Dad loved this nation even more than he once loved Cuba... perhaps it is the genetic disposition of the serial immigrant. After all, his father had left his own ancient Celtic lands and kin for a new land... which he learned to love dearly.

My father always wanted to make sure that I knew that I was an "Americano" and not another forced-on label.

"Labels," he'd say, "are just a way to separate people."

By labels he meant "Hispanic" or "Latino" or anything with a "-" between two ethnic words.

I also remember as a kid in New York, when he bought a huge Hi-Fi record player-color-TV console... that thing was huge. He bought it "lay-away" and he'd pay $10 a week to the store and him and I would walk all the way from our house on Sackman Street to the store on Pitkin Avenue to make the payments every Saturday - he never missed a single payment, and that taught me a lesson.

It was soon playing my Dad's favorite music, which oddly enough was Mexican music (Cuban music was a close second)... and he knew all the words to every charro song.
Guadalajara en un llano, Mejico en una laguna...
Guadalajara en un llano, Mejico en una laguna...Me he de comer esa tunaMe he de comer esa tuna.... aunque me espine la mano.
That Jorge Negrete song... being shouted often on weekends at the top of his lungs from our apartment in a mostly Italian neighborhood in East New York in Brooklyn must have raised some eyebrows.

My dad and I watched Neil Armstrong land on the moon on that TV set... we also watched loads of Mets games... and in 1969 and 1972 went to Shea Stadium to see the Mets win in '69 and lose in '72. He really loved baseball and he really loved those Mets!

When I joined the Navy at age 17, my first duty station was USS SARATOGA, which at the time was stationed in Mayport in Florida, so my Dad decided to migrate south to Florida and moved to Miami... just to be close to me.

He and my mother spent the next 40 years in the same apartment while I was stationed all over the world.

When I visited him today in Miami, he looked good and freshly shaven... this is a good thing, as my father was a freak about hygiene... and that's a common "creole" trait.

The Hospice nurse almost teared up when I told her that my parents have been married for 60 years.

I looked at this old "gallego"... his skin as white as paper, his eyes as blue as the sky, and his head (once full of blond hair) as bald and shiny as the old Cuban sing song ("Mira la Luna, mira al Sol... mira la calva de ese.....") and I saw the generations of Neanderthals, Denisovans and Gallego Homo Sapiens that led to my bloodlines... the generations of fighters, of strugglers, and of tough guys who didn't take no for an answer and who made a better place for others. 

And I felt at peace and grateful.

And as my father died tonight, after an extubation,  all that I can think to say to him is "Thank you for your courage... from me, and from my children... and soon from their children. You opened a whole new world for them."

I love you Dad... Un Abrazo Fuerte! Thank you for your gifts to me and my children and it is no coincidence that you died on El Dia de Los Reyes.

Thursday, January 05, 2017

Artists & Makers Studios is hiring additional staff

My strongest possible recommendation:
Seeking positive, forward-thinking, organized & innovative individual, looking to job share Operations Management role for growing 23,000 sq. ft. Artists & Makers Studios 2 in Rockville, MD.

We are seeking a manager that has an understanding and appreciation of art, combined with the business and marketing skills to manage and run a profitable operation. Experience in art sales or a management role in an art related enter...prise is preferred. Basic Business Software (Word, Excel, etc.) software is required, and experience with Photoshop and web design is a plus.

The Operations Manager is responsible for the smooth day to day running of the Wilkins buildings, is the liaison between resident artists and management and a proactive presence to the continued growth and success of the organization. Duties include everything from spackling walls to writing financial reports so no two days are ever the same!

This approximately twenty hour per week job will include one evening art reception and two Saturdays a month, and two open studio events per year. If you are a dynamic organized business person who loves art and loves people, apply today.

Send resume and salary requirements to Judith HeartSong.

Wednesday, January 04, 2017

New van research

The gallery van is closing on 300K miles, and as a consequence, I spent half a day researching the best deal for another van... then my amazing wife gets home (she's a trained researcher), and in 15 minutes she shows me the best deal in the country based on price, consumer ratings, and safety! And it is a few grand cheaper than the ones that I had found! That, my friends... is BOOM!

Second Art Scam Alert of the day!

Artist Carla Goldberg in NY got this scam email yesterday:
From: Mark Griffin
Subject: art


Happy New Year! I would like to make a purchase to Europe. I will be making payment by means of my credit card. I will like to know if there is any special discount. Lastly regarding shipment, my picker will come for the pickup after payment.

May I proceed with my order?  Mark Griffin
See the earlier alert here.

The scam works like this.

Latino definition gets more confusing

At least for me... as I've just discovered that the US House of Representatives considers people of Basque ancestry to be "Latinos"
They raise the total Latinos in Congress to 38, according to numbers kept by NALEO. NALEO's numbers can differ from those kept by the House gallery, whose tally includes members of Portuguese and Basque descent.
Read the article here.

I've got enough of an issue with Portuguese descent being considered "Latinos" - I can grudgingly understand someone of Portuguese decent from Brazil (and thus of Latin American geographic ancestry) being labeled Latino, but someone raised in Rhode Island with great grandparents who came from Portugal in the 1800s is a Latino?

Or someone from Montana, whose ancestors came from Euskal Herria (the Basque word for the Basque country), in the 1800s to tend sheep in the mountains of Montana... is Latino?

At least the Portuguese speak a Romance language, although by that definition the French, Italians, Rumanians, cough, cough... The Basque have their own confounding language which has no relationship to any other known human language family.

Similar confusion exists in the USA with the term "Anglo-Saxon" by the way... In fact I think that Univision newscasters have begun a semantic revenge upon all Non Hispanic Americans of European ancestry; lately I've noticed that they refer to this group as "Anglo-Saxons".

That ought to piss off Scots, Italians, Spaniards, French, Russians, Bulgarians, Greeks, Welsh, Irish, Swedes, Norwegians, Estonians, Finns, Laplanders, Andorrans, Belgians, Poles, Danes, and all the other folks who live from Portugal to Russia, etc. as much as being labeled under one label pisses me (and a lot of other gente) off...

By the way... if you describe a Scot as an Anglo-anything; you better be ready to fight...

Makes my head hurt.

Art Scam Alert!

Be aware of this mutant trying to rip off artists:

From: Dave Gordon (
I would like to make an order
Do you ship internationally?
Let me know if payment is accepted by Master card or Visa card.

Dave Gordon

Tuesday, January 03, 2017

Campello at auction

Details here on this vintage, framed 1994 drawing of Virginia horses...

Bid for it here...

Monday, January 02, 2017

Digital work at auction

Emulsion deadline next week!





  • New, BIGGER Location—To accommodate the increase in the number of applicants for EMULSION, we have contracted the use of the 5,000 square foot PEPCO Edison Gallery. We hope to show a minimum of 40 artists.  This increases your chance to participate.
  • More Prize Money—We have increased the first prize purse from $1,500 to $2,000. We have also added two additional cashes prizes of $250 in the new honorable mention category.
  • Extended Viewing and Extended Programming—EMULSION 2017 opens on Fri., March 3 and runs through Thu., March 16. That’s two full weeks of viewing plus weeknight programming.
  • Television Coverage—WETA (DC PBS Affiliate) will be filming the drop-off, installation and opening reception.

  • $2,000 First Place Prize
  • $1,000 Second Place Prize
  • $500 Third Place Prize
  • Two (2) $250 Honorable Mentions
Entry Fee

An entry fee of $42.5 paid to East City Art via Submittable

Pepco Edison Gallery located at 702 8th Street NW in the heart of Downtown Washington DC

Sunday, January 01, 2017

Happy 2017!

Here's a wish for a Happy New Year's wish to all planetary life, but especially to all my fellow veterans, and all Americans on active duty; and to all of the men and women in our Armed Forces all over the planet, and who are away from their families and their nation on New Year's Day, with a special cyber hug to all my U.S. Navy brothers and sisters at sea - we've got your back!

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Goodbye 2016

Through the wonders of Al Gore's Internets, I've become aware that there are a lot of people whining about 2016 being the worst year ever, blah, blah, blah? Not hard to avoid, as one is constantly being barraged by the whinesturm.


I'm not even going to go back to history to discuss 1939, 1347, 476, 2001, and personally 1959.

But I am going to put it in context (I hope)... 

What do we remember about Western history from 2,000 years ago - the year 16? Mostly what we have from the Romans, right? The ironically named Germanicus kicked butt in Germany, Drusilla was born, cough, cough...

Get to the point Lenster!

Here's my theory: In 5,000 years or so, the only thing that will be taught about the 20th century will be one name.

Note that I piled on the centuries: 5,000 years from now, or the year 7016.

WWI and WWII will be little blips in the multi-millennial history course - unless some Ivy League college will have a quaint "History of the second millennial" history course. No one will know off the top of their heads who Hitler was, or Roosevelt, or Kennedy, or Castro, or Ghandi.

The only name who will anchor the 20th century will be Neil Armstrong, the first man to set foot on another world, and possibly Yuri Gagarin, the first man technically in space.

Odds overwhelmingly favor the existence of other civilizations, and although our solar system's remote location in the outskirts of the Galaxy make it hard for any enterprising civilization to find us, I suspect that in the next few hundred years or so, first contact will be made, and that will be an important milepost in human history.

In comparison to Gagarin, Armstrong, and First Contact: Trump, Hillary, Obama? 2016? Naaah... no one will remember any of that in a few years... in fact, by the time the next President is elected in four years or eight years, it will be a dim memory, sort of like Carter, or Ford...

Just sayin'... and whine on...

Friday, December 30, 2016

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Super Art Scam Alert!

It first came to my attention yesterday when DMV artists Viktor Epkuk, and then Anna U. Davis both posted on Facebook that their artwork had been illegally appropriated and was being displayed for sale on an online website titled wallpart dot com - Warning - do not go there: there have been reports that the site itself may have malware and can infect your computer just by visiting it.

The list of DMV artists whose work is offered for sale (as "prints") on this site grew; Sean Hennesey, Erin Antognoli, John M. Adams, and others... and someone noted that:
my flickr stream is on there. This is the weirdest site, it seems to pull images automatically without any sort of human intervention - there are stock images there with huge watermarks, google images, images from ebay, images from wikipedia, images where the "title" is actually the copyright and credit, it's a random assortment, and my favorite part is the "we respect copyright, if you see your stuff just email us these 50 things and we'll take it down. Maybe. If we believe you.
 Viktor Epkuk went into research mode and notes that:
For other artists whose works are caught up in this theft scheme and for those looking for cheap art posters. DO NOT FALL FOR IT. 
Wallpart is an elaborate scam site created more to steal your data than art.
Graphic Artist Guild released the warning below in 2015. "It now appears the Wallpart is actually an elaborate phfishing scheme, devised to trick visitors into entering in their personal data. Comic artist John Ponikvar summarized his findings on his blog, Peter & Company. The site features a prominent “Report Violation” link, which appears to collect the personal data from anyone filling out the form. As Ponikvar reported, the Report Violation form “…is actually the main purpose for the site’s existence – they completely anticipate artists being upset about their work supposedly being sold, so they developed a system to exploit those who complain.” Additionally, the site‘s source code is larded with malware and malicious code; one of our board members reported that her personal computer was hijacked by the website as she was looking into the site’s functionality."
Read that report here

What to do? First, do not fill out - or even visit the website - but if you have, and your work is there, then report the violation to the FBI's Internet Crime Complaint Center here. 

There have already been complaints and Hyperallergenic reports that:
Artists and photographers are up in arms over a website that is selling cheap posters and prints of their work, without their knowledge or permission. Called the Poster Shop and located at, the site is tied to an incomplete address in Sydney, Australia, its phone number follows a British format, its packages ship from China, and according to Kotaku the domain was registered by a man named Sergo Zuikov, who lives in Moscow. It has been the subject of many articles and forum discussions warning artists and would-be buyers of its shady ways, and a petition calling for the site to be shut down has garnered over 62,000 signatures.
 See and sign the petition here.

Artists interpret "blue" with 140+ diverse works

Strathmore is experiencing a different kind of blues this winter—beginning January 7, the arts center presents La Vie en Bleu, its 26th annual juried exhibition, featuring 146 works by 101 artists in the D.C. metro region and beyond. A complement to Strathmore’s season-long exploration of blues music, Shades of Blues, the art center tasked artists to interpret “blues” however they like, using their medium of choice. More than 1,000 works were submitted, and the resulting exhibition is exceptionally diverse.

This is paired with the companion exhibition, Crossfade, an exploration of technology and perception featuring up-and-coming artists from Baltimore.

More information below. Images from Bleu can be found in DropBox for your perusal.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Anatomy of an art commission

It all started at the 2016 SOFA Art fair in Chicago last November, where my work was being shown by the hard-working Audrey Wilson, when (after the fair ended) a well-known Chicago area art consultant emailed me:

I am an Art Consultant from the Chicago area. Saw your work at SOFA and would be interested in talking about a possible commission piece, for a client
What would be the best way to reach you?

I respond to her that I am very interested and that I am forwarding her email to the gallery which was showing me there, which is the right thing to do, so that the gallery can coordinate the possible commission.
Lesson One to artists: Do not screw your art dealer, who put up the sheckels to show your work at a fair, or a gallery show, and thus deserve a commission for the possible… ahhh… commission.

How much commission does the gallery take for a private commission of an art piece? This should be clearly stated in your contract between the artist and the gallery.

Lesson One point one: Make sure that you have a written contract with your gallery.
Emails later, I am dealing directly with the art consultant. She emails me an image of a drawing that she saw in SOFA and is looking to see if I’m interested in doing two very large versions of the drawing which are to be mirror images of each other.

Like a good art consultant, she then reminds me:
Please keep in mind when considering pricing that I do need to get a percentage of the sale  I will charge my client retail value but just like a gallery I take a percentage and that is negotiated with artist per piece. Just wanted to bring that to your attention.
Lesson two to artists: The industry standard in these cases is about a 20% commission to the consultant.

I then prepare a commission proposal for her:
Description: Two 36x66 inches original charcoal and conte drawings on pH-balanced, acid free paper, medium weight paper. The drawings will be mirror images of each other and as close as possible to the image depicted below. They will be shipped, unframed and rolled in a large tube. Work includes a Certificate of Authenticity and Provenance signed by the artist. Artist will also deliver all preparatory sketches. All artwork will be signed and dated in pencil recto on front and verso.  
Total artwork cost: $ USD
Shipping (via FedEx): $75
* Gallery: 25%
* Consultant: 25%
* F. Lennox Campello: 50%
Approval: Work will commence once approval to proceed is given via email. Approval to proceed is understood to mean that both have parties agreed on size, composition, substrate, cost, and commissions. 

Payment: Artist is acting on good faith and requires no advance deposit. Full payment is due upon completion of the work (estimate is no later than December 25, 2016 provided that approval to proceed is given by December 5, 2016). Payment via check is preferred in order to save bank charges. Artwork will be shipped immediately after receipt of payment and clearance of payment by bank.
The proposal is briefed to her clients and accepted. I then send her a sketch of the commission as I understand it, but I have the orientation of the works wrong and it needs correction – at the end she sends me a rough sketch:

It matches my last proposal drawing, so we are set to go.

I get started on the first drawing, and as soon as it is done, I take a photo of it and email it to her so that she can see it immediately.

Lesson Three to artists: Keep communicating at all times so that there are no surprises.

I finish the second drawing, which is a friggin’ bear, since it has to be a mirror match for the first one, and because of the huge size of the paper, not easy to deal with… but then it is finished.

I send her an image of the second one, and all is good.

Then I ask for more data, and send her a note:

Question: I always sign the work both on the back and the front.... some people (as long as it is signed somewhere) prefer not to have a signature on the front of these minimalist pieces.... I'm OK with either... you may want to ask your clients if they want the front all clear (no siggie) or if it's OK if it is signed and dated on the front as well.

She asks, and they’re good with both signatures. Do you see the importance of good communications?

I am now ready to ship, but being the good Virgo that I am, I worry about her framer, so I take the time to draft and email her this:

I'm sure that you use a great framer who knows all of this ahead of time... but I'm sending this from the bottom of my heart and speaking from experience:
1. The drawings are on pH-balanced, acid free, cotton paper - please only use conservation materials in framing.
2. Drawings are signed both on front and back - if any trimming is needed, please be aware of signatures - space has been left to accommodate the desired final size. The paper needs to be trimmed for the correct width - trim from the edge opposite the leaping figure and from bottom as needed. The drawings have also been fingerprint-signed on the verso.
3. Because of the size of the paper, it needs to be relaxed before framing - this is done by unrolling paper from shipping box and laying on top of a table long enough to accommodate the length of the paper. Warning: If the paper rolls on too-short a table when opened, it can be damaged if it "bends" over the edge of the table - this may cause crescents on the paper - if this happens, they can be removed by dampening the back of the area where the crescent occurred and laying to dry on a table long enough to accommodate the paper. It is very important that the framer knows ahead of time that artwork should only be unrolled on a long table that can accommodate the length!
4. If clients require "float framing", recommend 1/4 white conservation spacers, but of course, whatever size they end up framing to, the drawing must not be allowed to touch the glass... use either spacers of 8-ply museum mat board.
Payment is ready to be processed, but speaking from experience, I advise her to call her credit card company and warn it that an online charge for the agreed amount is about to take place from the gallery. This saves time, as if a significant amount(as this is) shows up froma DMV source for a Chicago credit card, chances are that it won’t happen.
I then pack the work myself, ensuring than nothing short of a small nuke can damage the work. As soon as it is shipped, I email the tracking number to the consultant.

Next: What happens next!

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Monday, December 26, 2016

Art Yard

A note from a friend:
Bill and I are now part of ArtYard, an arts organization that we are building from scratch with some wonderful friends. Our leader and founder, the amazing Jill Kearney, wrote a post about how ArtYard was born. We invite you to click here to read the post.

Sunday, December 25, 2016