Thursday, January 12, 2017

The Alper Initiative's Birthday!

The Alper Initiative for Washington Art is one year old!

The initiative promotes an understanding and appreciation of the art and artists of the Washington Metropolitan Area. They provide and staff a dedicated space located within the American University Museum, to present exhibitions, programs, and resources for the study and encouragement of our DMV creative community.

Longer Mission Statement

Alper At A Glance

  • 2,000 square foot space
  • 5 exhibitions of Washington art per year
  • 1 common gathering area and exhibition space
  • The ONLY museum space in DC dedicated to the display, research, and encouragement of the region's art and artistic community
Their presentation of the initiative mission and vision has generated supportive feedback from the community.

"I think there has always been a separation from the National Identity of Washington, DC and the Local Identity of DC. Partnering with the American University Museum helps to soften those boundaries and raise the level of critical attention towards local talent."
— Judy Byron, Local artist\

“The Alper Initiative is in the process of revolutionizing the way that Washington, DC sees its visual artists; this is a game-changer for our area's cultural tapestry.”
— F. Lennox Campello, local artist and art critic

Letter from the Director

The Alper Initiative for Washington Art is the gift of Carolyn Small Alper, a Washington artist, AU alumna, and philanthropist. It provides the space and resources to fulfill one of the American University Museums’s primary objectives and meet one of the region’s greatest needs: to promote an understanding and appreciation of our region’s art and artists from our past, present, and future. It is an exhibition space and a place for study and research. But it is first of all a meeting place for people and ideas. Its most important contribution to the Washington region may well be the opportunities it provides for us to exchange perceptions and, perhaps, rewrite the history of Washington art.
The Initiative presents five exhibitions of regional artists each year, creates publications and programming to engage and build the audience for Washington art, and serves as a resource for its study and critical appreciation. Curators are solicited to propose appropriate exhibitions, and artists are invited to submit their work for consideration on our website.
The Initiative is a part of a thriving museum that for ten years has specialized in presenting Washington artists in the larger context of national and international contemporary art. Washington art is strong, intelligent, and relevant, and has earned a prominent place in contemporary cultural discourse. Thanks to the Alper Initiative for Washington Art, we have the means to present serious, focused exhibitions for all the world’s appreciation and enlightenment.
Jack Rasmussen
Director and Curator
American University Museum

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

The curious case of the disappearing/reappearing Capitol painting

The story so far: A Congressman selects a painting from his district to hang in the U.S. Capitol building, and the painting depicts cops as animals. The painting, done by David Pulphus, shows the protests and riots in Ferguson, Mo. after a police officer shot Michael Brown, reports the Independent Journal Review.

It also shows a muscular Brown (I think, because of the graduation cap) as a Christ on the cross, and a feral slim black wolf (in Timberland boots?) encountering the obese police.

As a work of art, the painting, done in a naïve style, leaves a lot to be desired, as a narrative work, it is powerful enough that it has started a mini art war in Congress!

The painting was chosen by or on behalf of  Congressman Lacy Clay (D - Missouri), and is part of the well-known Congressional Art Competition. The Pulphus painting sometimes hangs, then gets removed, then gets re-hung, in a tunnel between the Capitol building and the Longworth House Office Building.  Clay represents Ferguson, Mo., where Michael Brown was shot and killed by police after fighting with a cop who had stopped him.

The real life cops (who are depicted as fat animals in the painting, one seems to be a horse, and one seems to be some kind of a wild pig, and curiously, all seem to be black or brown) are justifiably pissed off by the depiction, and have complained vociferously about the piece, and where it is hanging.
Andy Maybo, president of The Fraternal Order of Police District of Columbia Lodge #1 said, “This piece of art, which depicts officers as pigs, is both offensive and disgusting. During a time in our society when tensions are so high that someone can be offended by a single word, this painting does nothing but attack law enforcement to its core.  The fact that a member of Congress would advocate and praise such a painting is reprehensible.  We, in law enforcement, regardless of the police department we work for, are held to higher standards that certain Members of Congress now have made a mockery of.”
And then Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.) personally removed the painting from the wall, and then the painting became a political football, as narrative art often does... you never see anyone bitching about abstract art, do you?

It is not the first time that artwork has been censored/removed/covered up in government buildings in the DMV; and more often than not, artwork is "censored" waaaay before it is ever hung - censored in the selection process that is... when was it the last time that you saw a nude acquired as a public artwork in the DMV? I will tell you, somewhere between the 1800s and the halcyon days of the WPA.

"Older" artwork, even historical pieces, have been censored by political censors routinely around here...

Remember when Luis A. Luna, the Assistant Administrator, Office of Administration and Resources Management announced a decade ago a decision to install a "temporary screen" to cover up several historical murals on the 5th floor of the Ariel Rios building in Washington, DC. These murals were created under a 1934 U.S. Treasury art commissioning program, and have apparently been the subject of complaints over the years, and were also once previously covered up during the Clinton Administration, before being apparently exhibited again during the Bush administration, before being hidden from view once more... no idea if they are covered up again, but five gets you ten that they're either covered up or (worse) have been removed. The murals which have titles such as "French Explorers and Indians," "Torture by Stake," "The Red Man Takes the Mochila," etc. depict a diverse set of panoramas ranging from spectacular scenes of the often violent interaction between the American West's native nations and the new settlers, to artistic recreation of historical meetings between European explorers and native Americans.

Soooooo... who's right and who's wrong in the current Pulphusian saga? As faithful readers know, I'm nearly always on the side of the artwork, and rage against the censor. This case is a tough one for me personally, as I really, really understand the thin blue line perspective on this.

In some cases where I have been on the side of the censor, it has always been from the perspective of "he who owns the walls", but that doesn't apply in this case, as those Capitol walls are owned by the people of the United States.

Is the painting insulting to police? Of course it is; it was meant to carry a very caustic message, and it does that superbly well.

Does Duncan have a right to remove it, since it was properly sponsored by another politician? Of course he doesn't.

The painting needs to hang freely, lest we approach art as Cuba, North Korea, China, Iran, etc. approach art. And remember when nearly the entire world was aghast when the Taliban destroyed the gigantic Buddha sculptures that were offensive to that repressive mentality, and we all condemned the demolition as a vile and barbaric act of cultural ignorance and artistic destruction?

I don't like the painting and the narrative that it relays, but I defend the right of the painter and his sponsoring politico to hang it.

Artomatic Moves into Crystal City for 2017

Artomatic, the planet's greatest visual arts show that everyone on Earth loves and that most art critics hate, returns for its signature art event, which is going to be held this year in Crystal City, Virginia. Artomatic draws hundreds of artists and performers throughout the D.C., Maryland and Virginia area to showcase their talents for a six week long free exhibition that routinely attracts thousands of visitors, and the wrath of art critics.

This year, the Crystal City Business Improvement District (CCBID) welcomes Artomatic back to Arlington County for the third time in a 100,000 square foot space, located at 1800 S Bell Street with a spring opening date on Friday March 24th. 

Artomatic is well-known for transforming empty spaces into vibrant arts communities that create unique and exciting events for tens of thousands of visitors - all free to visit. Anyone can show art at Artomatic - it is non-juried and art is selected on a first-come, first serve basis - so it’s a great way to discover new art.

In addition to visual art Artomatic also features a range of performing art forms throughout the exhibition – live music, dance, spoken word, comedy as well as professional development series and special events showcases.  Every night of the event, thousands of people visit Artomatic to discover new art, grab a drink, listen to music, go on dates, and mingle with the creative community. No matter what kind of creative events you like, you’ll find something to like at Artomatic.

“We are very excited to be working again with the Crystal City BID, a constant champion of the arts, to create a unique, invigorating and brand new artistic experience for all visitors to enjoy”, said Jennifer Williamson, current Artomatic Board President. “We will be conducting Artist tours starting from mid January to allow interested participants an advance glimpse of their artistic home for six weeks where they can start imagining the endless creative possibilities they can do with the space”.

“We first brought Artomatic to Crystal City in 2007 in order to demonstrate the transformation that was already in progress – a new main street, fun restaurants – as well as to underscore how easily accessible our neighborhood is from DC.  The second showing in 2012 helped us further showcase our emerging arts and innovation scene,” said Crystal City BID President/CEO Angela Fox.  “Now in our third iteration, we are excited to mark the beginning of the next generation of growth, engagement and creativity for Crystal City.”

Launched in 2013 to transform Crystal City’s interior concourse into a vibrant arts and cultural destination, the Art Underground includes Synetic Theater, the 1200-foot long FotoWalk Underground, ArtJamz Underground, the Gallery Underground, TechShop, and Studios Underground which provides work space for two dozen artists.

Visitors have easy access to Artomatic with the Crystal City METRO Station, as well as plenty of parking and bus stops nearby.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

The curious case of the most expensive photo ever sold

So six months ago, he had an idea. Nearly every Peter Lik photograph is printed in a “limited edition” of 995; the first print sells at about $4,000, with the price rising as the edition sells out. With his eye fixed on a record-setting sale, he printed a single copy of “Phantom.” Then he alerted a handful of his most ardent collectors, one of whom, he said, agreed to the $6.5 million price. Before the deal was signed, Mr. Lik hired a public relations firm to make sure that the sale, and the record, were noticed.
“The P.R. firm dropped those off yesterday,” said Mr. Lik, looking at four fat ring binders, which an associate had just plopped on a table. They contain hundreds of stories from around the world about the “Phantom” sale. Typical was the reaction of Time magazine, which published the headline, “This is officially the most expensive photo ever.”
It’s hard to know what’s “official” about it. Previous records in photography were set by competing bidders in public auctions for images that were familiar and celebrated. This was a private sale for a newly printed photograph, and scant details were offered. But while the buyer’s hidden identity inevitably arched some eyebrows, anonymity in such deals is not unusual. Joshua Roth, the Los Angeles lawyer who represented the buyer, declined to name his client, though he emphasized that the client exists.
Despite the reported size of the deal, the art world greeted the news mostly with silence.
Read the NYT article here...

Monday, January 09, 2017

Portrait painting gets politico in hot water

Former Senate minority leader Harry Reid used leftover campaign funds to pay one of his staffers to paint a portrait of himself, campaign records show...
... The Washington Free Beacon uncovered the expenditure last August, when they noticed a $7,000 check paid from Reid’s campaign committee, Friends of Harry Reid, to Gavin Glakas, one of Reid’s former staffers. Glakas had already painted a portrait of Reid’s wife Landra, which hung on a wall in his office on Capitol Hill. At the time, the Free Beacon reached out to both parties for comment but did not receive an answer... 
...Although both FEC regulations and House ethics rules prohibit the use of campaign funds for “personal use,” this is not the first time a politician has used campaign funds to commission a self-portrait.
Read the report by Sara Gonzales here. 

Artists and Obama

Sarah Gottsman's editorial titled "From Chuck Close to Shepard Fairey, How Artists Captured Obama’s Historic Presidency" takes a 10,000 foot level view of the subject, which is of course always interesting, no matter who the Prez.
While many presidents have been the subject of art (with one—George W. Bush—recently becoming an artist himself), President Barack Obama has been a particularly popular muse for artists. His historic presidency has inspired an outpouring of artworks, from both amateur and established artists.
Shame that Ms. Gottsman is not a DMVer, otherwise she would be aware of the many, many artists and many multiple views of the current Prez that have been exhibited at Charles Krause Fine Art, which have included many artists' favorable views of POTUS, plus a sprinkling of negative and critical views (both from the left wing nuthouse and the vast right wing conspiracy's perspectives) of the Prez.

Read the editorial here.

And below are some of my "Obamas" over the years...

"Young Obama" (Detail)
Charcoal, circa 2008
In a private collection in North Carolina
"President Obama as The Batman
Charcoal, circa 2014 (10x10 inches framed)
In a private collection in Washington, DC
"Obama as Atlas"
Charcoal, circa 2006-2014 Framed to 20x16 inches (Updated Yearly)
"Eyes of Obama"
Charcoal, circa 2014 (Framed to 5x7 inches)
In a private collection in Miami
"President Obama Walking to His Right"
Charcoal, circa 2014 (10x20 inches framed)
"President Obama Looking to his right"
Charcoal, circa 2014 (Framed to 10x10 inches)

"President Obama Walking to the Left" (Detail)
Charcoal, circa 2014 (10x20 inches framed)
"President Obama Walking to the Left"
Charcoal, circa 2014 (10x20 inches framed)

Sunday, January 08, 2017

Racy HRC

A local council in Melbourne, Australia has demanded that a mural of Hillary Clinton in a swimsuit be removed from a public wall.

Details (and pic) here.

Saturday, January 07, 2017

Looking back in time

Just got a note in the emails about this piece being acquired by a California Hollywood-type from a secondary market dealer for a lot more than I originally sold it in Seattle waaaaay back in 1979 while I was in Art School!

Ostdeutscher Schwimmer
Acrylics on paper. 40x30 inches, circa 1979 by F. Lennox Campello

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