This next post in our series of staff blogs at Main Street Arts showcases the art found in our homes. We hope that this series will give a little insight into who we are, our backgrounds, and our interests. This will be an ongoing feature that will continue throughout the duration of our closure due to COVID-19.
Brad and I have what I think is the start of a really great art collection hanging on the walls of our home. Being the directors of an arts organization that hosts several exhibitions per year gives us the chance to see all types of work from new and familiar artists all the time. Sometimes we can’t let a piece of art leave the gallery unless it’s in our car and on its journey to our house. (Okay, maybe not sometimes…maybe often.)
We have many pieces in our collection that we’ve acquired from our Main Street Arts connections including work shown in exhibitions, work from our gallery shop artists, and pieces from former artists in residence.
Hanging in area of our stairwell is a drawing of our four-legged kids by July/August 2019 resident Geena Massaro that hangs below a Robert Marx painting that was included in his two-person exhibition in 2017. In another area, a painting of mushrooms by October/November 2018 resident Emily Tyman is paired with a painting by Jim Mott that was included in the Upstate New York Painting Invitational at Main Street Arts in 2017 and a ceramic sculpture by Autumn Hasthor, a now RIT alum, who had her BFA show Sewn Solid on the second floor of the gallery in 2018. Also included in the grouping, a ceramic sculpture by Lane Chapman (a former resident at the Flower City Arts Center) and a RoCo 6×6 featuring an elegant little glass mushroom by Sage Churchill Foster whose work is regularly featured in the gallery shop at Main Street Arts… (Read Sarah’s full post here and see what else is on her walls!)
I moved into an apartment in the Neighborhood of the Arts in Rochester a few years ago with my son. It’s the best neighborhood I’ve lived in in my adult life—my goes to the School of the Arts and can walk there. We have picnics at the Eastman gardens. So, I do my best to make sure the interior feels like home, too.
My favorite artist is Egon Schiele. I’ve got a few canvas prints in my living room that, in terms of form/gesture and color, make my living room feel light and airy.
I continue to learn about new artists through the exhibits (and even just the conversations I have with Brad, Sarah, and Maria) at Main Street Arts. I have loved the work produced by the artists in-residence but I actually purchased a few things from Lya Finston. I’m in love with these.
The rest of the art in my home is sentimental. My mother is a botanical artist—she has a knack for precise detail and color, particularly reds and pinks. In my opinion she’s extremely skilled and that’s probably because she puts endless hours into fine tuning her work. I have this orange fritillaria that she painted for my college graduation and the pomegranate above my stairs.
About a year ago I commissioned Beverly Rafferty to paint this image of the moon over the ocean. The silver in this painting glows at night and it has a completely different look than it does in the daytime. Her work is incredible and I particularly love this painting because I’m friends with her daughter. Plus it reminds me of living near the ocean. On the east coast, the full moon always rises on the ocean.
Finally, when I moved back to New Jersey for a period of time, I kept in touch with my closest girl friends. Here I have a cork board full of stationary from them with the sweetest notes. I keep it in my reading nook.
I love to put art on my walls. I have my own art, my children’s art and art from other artists all around my house. About a year ago I started the “art wall”, as we call it in my home, which proudly displays paintings, drawings, prints and collages made by my children. A few times a month new pieces go up and old pieces come down and the kids get really excited to have a new piece displayed. The art wall also adds color and energy to my living room and I like to just sit and stare at all of the beautiful pieces. There are piles and piles of drawings and paintings my children have made and I can’t display them all, but it is nice to have a fluid space, that from time to time exhibits an especially beautiful picture.
Since working at Main Street Arts I have been able to collect a few pieces from various exhibits. I love bringing new art home and finding a place for it. Below is my latest purchase “Ties that Bind” by Emma Percy with 2 little glass sheep my daughter got my husband and I for Christmas last year, safe on top. I paired it with my own art—an embroidery and a weaving. It is a thoughtful little story in my living room and it brings me a sense of peace and joy to sit back and look at it or glance at it from the corner of my eye as I go about my day.
I acquired a piece by former artist in residence Angela Guest and absolutely love having it in my home and looking at it every day. This piece in particular brings me great joy and wonderment. I recently rearranged some of the art on my walls and decided to pair it with a photo collage made by my daughter, Penny, for the Ontario Pathways exhibition at Main Street Arts last year. I like how the colors and playfulness interact between the two.
For me, living with original art is a personal requirement right after food and shelter. I know that my quality of life would suffer without the variety of art objects I interact with every day. Working from home during this pandemic has made this even more clear.
As I make my way downstairs at the start of each day, I am greeted by so many thought-provoking paintings, photographs, sculptures, drawings, and prints.
Any beverages I drink each day, from cups of coffee to glasses—or ceramic tea bowls—of wine, have been made by an artist I know or whose work I admire. I have favorite cups and mugs in our collection but I find such joy in using a different cup every day.
Where and how artwork is hung is important. I like to install the work in our home as I would in the gallery and enjoy bringing seemingly different kinds of art together in close proximity—this is an added benefit when you live in an old house. The walls of our own personal exhibition are always evolving. When something new is acquired, it finds its place next to pieces that we have already lived with for years.
Continuing to add new artwork to our walls will often present new ways to view the work and I will notice new things. A new way to perceive the composition, a color that stands out differently on a particular day, or a new personal meaning to the piece.
I know that my tendency to like certain types of artwork is informed by my own aesthetics and motivations as a painter. I like the blurred lines between my roles as a curator, collector, and artist. Sarah’s interests and background as a graphic designer play an equal role in the art we collect and I love the way we continue to influence each other’s taste in art.
Keep an eye out for next week’s Get To Know Us blog post, when we’ll let you know how else we are spending our time—other than giving you great virtual arts content!