2013 Artist in Residence Finalist – Tonia Klein

Tonia Klein – Milwaukee, WI

 

Proposal:  The facet of the Pfister Artist in Residence program that I have enjoyed int he last four cycles is that each artist in residence has had an entirely different artistic perspective. My work is highly narrative, and typically involves some sort of fairy tale mythology.  And I love patterns!

My plan is to utilize the details of the ornate interior architecture in order to make various intricate patterns and create new narratives. The studio space in the Pfister would have a computer, printer, tri-pod and digital camera, a silkscreen table and about a thousand types of patterned paper in various states of collage.

Typically, I combine traditional methods of drawing, painting and printmaking with newer computerized digital photography and design techniques. The work ends up as a collage, screen print, digital print, and lately, I have been making opaque vinyl pattern pieces for window installations.

Currently, I work in a custom framing shop near Chicago, and often work with customers bringing in interesting things to frame. I enjoy hearing their stories about the pieces they bring in, and it would be fun to turn the tables and share the stories behind my own work.

Tonia’s work will be on display at Gallerie M in the InterContinental Hotel beginning on January 18th, 2013 through February 14th, 2013.  The public will be able to vote for Tonia & the other 2013 Artist in Residence finalists through the Pfister Hotel Facebook page beginning on 1.18.  Fans will be able to vote once per day through 2.14.  (Please note that the public vote only counts for one chair on the final selection committee).

Starting at Noon on January 18th, you can vote for your favorite artist by visiting the voting tab on Facebook right here.

You can find bios for the other finalists by clicking their names below:

Eddie Villanueva
John Kowalczyk
Pamela Anderson
Stephanie Barenz
Sue Lawton

2013 Artist in Residence Finalist – Sue Lawton

Sue Lawton – Milwaukee, WI

 

Proposal: In my latest body of work, an art book entitled “The Circus and the Cyclone”, I worked with a wide range of people, from family and friends, to local musicians, to folks from around the country and around the world.

Over the course of the next year, I will continue writing and illustrating a new series of fantastical tales set in Wisconsin and Upper Michigan merging everyday encounters with extraordinary happinings. The visual style utilized my unique blend of inks and watercolor inspired by artists of the Golden Age of Illustration. I also plan to continue working with The Vitrolum Republic as they embark on the journey of recording their next album.

Each tale begins as an idea, but only takes true form through interactions with participants. I would love to paint another full-sized, vintage-inspired theatrical backdrop to use for a photo shoot for one of my next works. As these stories unfold, new images will come to life through pencil sketches, ink line drawings, and finally, fully color completed works. The final steps are then executed using traditional methods as well as my own techniques I have spent the last ten years fine-tuning.

Sue’s work will be on display at Gallerie M in the InterContinental Hotel beginning on January 18th, 2013 through February 14th, 2013.  The public will be able to vote for Sue & the other 2013 Artist in Residence finalists through the Pfister Hotel Facebook page beginning on 1.18.  Fans will be able to vote once per day through 2.14.  (Please note that the public vote only counts for one chair on the final selection committee).

Starting at Noon on January 18th, you can vote for your favorite artist by visiting the voting tab on Facebook right here.

You can find bios for the other finalists by clicking their names below:

Eddie Villanueva
John Kowalczyk
Pamela Anderson
Stephanie Barenz
Tonia Klein

2013 Artist in Residence Finalist – Stephanie Barenz

Stephanie Barenz – Milwaukee, WI

 

Proposal: “THE CARRIERS”

The Pfister carries thousands of stories from over a hundred years. The famous Victorian art collection, the antiques, and rooms have served as silent witnesses to all of it. Every day a new story is written and this is where my proposal begins.

The title “The Carriers” is used to describe how I would use images of the hotel’s people and objects to “carry” the memories and stories of the Pfister. For example, I would ask guests if I could interview them about where they were coming from, their visit at the Pfister, what they brought with them, and what kind of transportation brought them to Milwaukee. I would then paint an image of their luggage or the train car that they arrived in that is piled high with their stories and memories from our conversation. Our conversation would most likely extend beyond their stay at the hotel and I would work from images they give me.

I would also create works solely based on the hotel’s past and present history. Anything could carry a memory, such as a hotel room or an old chandelier. This playful approach has endless possibilities. I would turn the Victorian collection and the hotel archives for imagery and inspiration.

Over the course of a year I would like to create an entire body of work entitled “The Carriers” that would include 20 to 30 paintings. I would turn these images into an illustrated book and hopefully collaborate with the Pfister resident journalist and storyteller to write some text for the images

Stephanie’s work will be on display at Gallerie M in the InterContinental Hotel beginning on January 18th, 2013 through February 14th, 2013.  The public will be able to vote for Stephanie & the other 2013 Artist in Residence finalists through the Pfister Hotel Facebook page beginning on 1.18.  Fans will be able to vote once per day through 2.14.  (Please note that the public vote only counts for one chair on the final selection committee).

Starting at Noon on January 18th, you can vote for your favorite artist by visiting the voting tab on Facebook right here.

You can find bios for the other finalists by clicking their names below:

Eddie Villanueva
John Kowalczyk
Pamela Anderson
Sue Lawton
Tonia Klein

 

2013 Artist in Residence Finalist – Pamela Anderson

Pamela Anderson – Wauwatosa, WI

 

Proposal: As the 2013 Pfister Artist in Residence I will engage Pfister visitors in dialog about the correlations and contrasts between Victorian Art and my style of painting, the Abstract Expressionist style.

Victorian Art’s vibrant colors evoked high society during the 19th century.  Brighter emotional colors and dynamic strokes were used to record the culture of the time.  The Abstract Expressionism movement was the first Art Movement formally developed in America. Exiled European artists and young American Artists found themselves conversing about the times. This stimulating dialog resulted in creation of dynamic, vibrant artworks.  The Abstract movement began as the last of the art movements of the Victorian era were ending.  I feel that the technological advances that the Victorian era made allowed the way scientists, artists and the public viewed art and aesthetics.  This began to pave the way for a new art period to begin. The visual appeal of my canvasses recognizes this through intense use of color. I have been studying the Abstract Expressionist Artists, developing my own techniques and interpretation of their artistic style.

My plan is to select 8 works from the Pfister Victorian Art Collection to study and paint my interpretation of the motions and colors used in the collection.  I will display artwork from the Pfister Collection that inspired me and explore the poetic interchange of color and emotions with the visitors in the gallery.  My legacy piece will be a work created from expanding on the possibilities of this medium and approach.

I am looking forward to my growth and education if honored to be the next Pfister Artist in Residence.

The works that speak to me for this exploration and dialog are:

  1. Incense – Roberto Bompiani
  2. Grecian Girl – Antonio Torres
  3. Music – Cesare Auguste Detti
  4. Flirtation – Georges Achille-Fould
  5. The Rose – Adolphe Piot
  6. A View of Venice – Charles Clement Calderon
  7. The Poppy Field – Louis Aston Knight
  8. Confidences – Federigo Andreotti

Pamela’s work will be on display at Gallerie M in the InterContinental Hotel beginning on January 18th, 2013 through February 14th, 2013.  The public will be able to vote for Pamela & the other 2013 Artist in Residence finalists through the Pfister Hotel Facebook page beginning on 1.18.  Fans will be able to vote once per day through 2.14.  (Please note that the public vote only counts for one chair on the final selection committee).

Starting at Noon on January 18th, you can vote for your favorite artist by visiting the voting tab on Facebook right here.

You can find bios for the other finalists by clicking their names below:

Eddie Villanueva
John Kowalczyk
Stephanie Barenz
Sue Lawton
Tonia Klein

2013 Artist in Residence Finalist – John Kowalczyk

John Kowalczyk – Milwaukee, WI

 

Proposal: MKE: A City With 4 Seasons

If given this opportunity, I will create four distinct bodies of work for the gallery nights. Each body of work will include fifteen paintings and the general inspiration will be one of the four seasons. Currently I am working on a winter collection.  By limiting myself to the use of red, black and white and utilizing hard edge geometry, I capture the feeling of winter’s wind visually. There will be layers of narrative along with layers of materials.  Paint, fabric, handmade paper, ribbons, repurposed prints all become elements of the collage. I will involve the community by interviewing people about their experiences with the seasons in Milwaukee and translate their stories into my abstract paintings.  The community could create collage material with me or bring materials to be used in the finished painting.

My work is 2D and 3D inhabiting the space between painting and sculpture.  I am interested in the play between folk and fine art. I illustrate this by mixing materials that elevate in a fine art context. I will personify the seasons, infused with the communities’ stories, with my paintings to result in a body of work accessible to everyone, yet layered with hidden treasures.

John’s work will be on display at Gallerie M in the InterContinental Hotel beginning on January 18th, 2013 through February 14th, 2013.  The public will be able to vote for John & the other 2013 Artist in Residence finalists through the Pfister Hotel Facebook page beginning on 1.18.  Fans will be able to vote once per day through 2.14.  (Please note that the public vote only counts for one chair on the final selection committee).

Starting at Noon on January 18th, you can vote for your favorite artist by visiting the voting tab on Facebook right here.

You can find bios for the other finalists by clicking their names below:

Eddie Villanueva
Pamela Anderson
Stephanie Barenz
Sue Lawton
Tonia Klein

 

2013 Artist in Residence Finalist – Eddie Villanueva

Eddie Villanueva – Milwaukee, WI

Proposal: If you grant me the opportunity to become the next Pfister Hotel Artist in Residence, I will accomplish the following objectives.  I will develop a new body of acrylic and oil paintings based on my response to the bustling environment of the hotel, it’s lavish architecture, and it’s rich history. I will average approximately one painting a week which will vary in size between 11″x14″ and 36″x48″. While I will exhibit my paintings throughout the year, I will also use the space to curate challenging contemporary exhibitions of national and international emerging artists working in a range of critical practices.  Furthermore I will initiate a series of forums, visiting artist talks, and other community building programs that will offer a bridge between the hotel and the local, national and international art community.  If I am granted the position of Artist in Residence not only will I eagerly develop my own work, I will use the tools of my emerging professional practice to help develop the potential of this great opportunity and its relationship to the community at large.

Eddie’s work will be on display at Gallerie M in the InterContinental Hotel beginning on January 18th, 2013 through February 14th, 2013.  The public will be able to vote for Eddie & the other 2013 Artist in Residence finalists through the Pfister Hotel Facebook page beginning on 1.18.  Fans will be able to vote once per day through 2.14.  (Please note that the public vote only counts for one chair on the final selection committee).

Starting at Noon on January 18th, you can vote for your favorite artist by visiting the voting tab on Facebook right here.

You can find bios for the other finalists by clicking their names below:

John Kowalczyk
Pamela Anderson
Stephanie Barenz
Sue Lawton
Tonia Klein

 

Timothy Reflects: Part Two – On “Planned” Projects

Timothy’s time as Artist in Residence has since reached it’s halfway point.  And oh, what a marvelous 6+ months it’s been for Timothy.  I’ve asked him to reflect on some of his experience, and we’ve decided to break down his experiences into four parts, this is Part Two – On “Planned” Projects

“What makes you think of these ideas?” “How did you decide to use cassette tapes?” “He’s a genius!” “You realize you’re clinically insane right?” These are all comments and questions from various guests. ALL of them have been said or asked many times over. As artists we can materialize what inspires us, but what dives us and motivates us, what sparks the desire, is not always so tangible. In twenty-three years I haven’t left the country and I have only visited at length nine states.

Milwaukee has been indescribably inspiring. The Pfister has acted as a platform so many opportunities. It has come to the point that Milwaukee is offering the same satisfaction as traveling to another country. When inspiration in this deep you have to run with it to create your work. Before landing in Milwaukee my proposal was to create “six Victorian ball gowns” This has morphed to five vignette gowns from slightly different eras that act individually and together to tell a story. That story is of the fictional Mrs. Charles Pfister, as the hotel’s founder, Charles, was never married.

Then I found out that Miss Wisconsin was crowned Miss America 2012. This sparked my interest in the pageantry to discover that there is a Ms. Wheelchair Wisconsin a subject close to my heart.

With my large weavings I have been doing with them as much as I can, one in particular I threw into our swimming pool to conclude that unquestionably need to make a merman tail. But then you find out that people have their own relationships with cassette tapes and now I have guests requesting items made from their cherished tapes. Being raised catholic, the Fiddler on the Roof was my window into Jewish wedding traditions. Now being at the Pfister I have rediscovered incredible traditions specifically around the Jewish wedding canopy, the Chuppah. I am excited to begin work on a few.

To even begin to guess that you “know” what you’re going to work on is a drastic misconception. This has been an incredible evolving experience.

Timothy Reflects: Part One – On “‘Studio’ Practice”

Timothy’s time as Artist in Residence has just about reached it’s halfway point.  And oh, what a marvelous six months it’s been for Timothy.  I’ve asked him to reflect on some of his experience, and we’ve decided to break down his experiences into four parts, this is Part One – On “‘Studio’ Practice”

During “Art-Making” I love to use the phrases “studio practice” and “art practice.” It describes the concepts and thoughts behind our methods.I enjoy how it can describe the meditative processes outside of the art itself. I set alarms on my phone for twenty minutes before I have to leave the studio. It allows me to get lost in the work and then a chime tells me when it is clean up time. Then on to dinner, a meeting, and art exhibit or even, rarely, bed.

When you’re working a part time job and trying to be a practicing artist, any spare minute of your day you’re working. Having the opportunity to create every day, all day, I have had the extraordinary opportunity to truly define what I need to create and environment most conducive to my art making. What does the environment need to have in it? The contents of my hotel storage space, the studio itself and the drawers of my sewing machine have changed dramatically since the first day of my residency.

One of the most profound revelations was the use of audio books as a therapeutic device. Being that some of the cassette tapes that I’m weaving into cloth are various publications on tape you would think this would have been obvious to me. It took a severe boredom of my iTunes to make the discovery. I do not read. I weave, I make lists, and I imagine. I am far too distracted to sit still and look at words to build images. But I love stories. I love listening to epic tales of the mountainous shelf dangers of hunting for groceries at a supermarket. I had a terrific library teacher in elementary school. I specifically loved her reading of “The Mouse and the Motorcycle” and “The castle in the Attic.”

Being read to by audio books has been one of the most soothing studio practices I’ve ever experienced. AND so relevant! I’m weaving books on tape! It is inspiring my use of these books and how I treat the tapes before I weave with them. I hope to soon give all of the tapes one final play before they land at their final destination as fabric. Audio books are the best “Television Series” imaginable because hour-long episodes never end. There will always be another book, another voice, and another story. I am easily bored with music and it is crucial to be listening to music that inspires the projects I’m creating. A costume can be influenced by what is happening during its creation.

 

And So It Begins…

First day on the job as the Pfister Narrator and I feel like I’ll get used to hanging around this place pretty quickly. Greeted by the bubbly Timothy Westbrook concocting another masterpiece in his studio, I walked in on what I thought would be a quiet Sunday because of the Packer game. I was mistaken. Brunch –the most extraordinary brunch I have ever seen–  was just wrapping up and sure enough, there was a TV hidden in that stately armoire, so the lobby lounge comforted a roaring chorus of Packers fans.

Within minutes of cozying up to the bar, Val asked if I drank alcohol and if I wanted to try something delicious. Two questions I rarely say no to. This was apparently a holiday tradition and a rite of passage for new employees. “Must try the Glog,” advised Timothy. It was warm, smooth and strong. Be sure to ask Val for a glass next time you are in.

I was happy to run into Ed Makowski, the third Pfister Narrator, and his adorable offspring Edmund. He recounted every detail about their trip to the art museum, but acted uncharacteristically shy when I asked to take a picture. Ed shared suggestions for getting to the good stories a few hidden spots in the hotel.

As you can imagine, the Pfister has been heavy on my mind the past few months, and by pure serendipity, I came across this article in the Shepherd Express. (I got my first break as a writer in the Shepherd.) It’s a quick read about the history of this gem and its founder, German immigrant Guido Pfister. It got me thinking about the modern application of this Historic space. I will be studying these paradoxes as they unfold and seeking out the characters passing through.

By all means, if there is something you are dying to know or some secret you’d like me to uncover – let me know via the comments or directly at jlkashou@gmail.com. More to come!

The Beginning

This is the first of three posts where I wrangle an unsuspecting Pfister guest into a short story project.

Pt 1. – The Beginning (this one)
Pt 2. – The Middle
Pt 3. – The End

Today, I asked for random details to shape the beginning of a story.

Jeff / Milwaukee/ Writer & Producer

  1. A fire you had to put out this week? Deciding on whether to spend a lot of money on a rug.
  2. Where do you go for peace? Lynden Sculpture Garden
  3. Favorite relative? My Aunt Vanda. She reminds me of my mother, who’s no longer with us. She’s wise, not book smart.  And she’s curious. I think that’s important.
  4. Best gift or surprise you’ve given? I teach.  I think passing along information and knowledge is like giving a gift.
  5. A food you won’t eat? Onions, because I’m allergic.
  6. A city you’re curious about? Istanbul
  7. As a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up? Lawyer
  8. Something you have that’s broken? I can’t think of anything that’s bugging me. I usually fix everything.
  9. Describe your favorite boss. In college, I waited tables.  This boss was not like most other restaurant owners.  She was actually kind to her employees and took interest in us.  We were part of her family.
  10. Describe your least favorite teacher. My gym coach.  He was… well… we just didn’t mesh well.
  11. What does this character want? Peace of Mind

Okay! Here we go…

 

Corinne shrugged the coat from her shoulders and stood on the ribbed floor mat to stamp the snow from her boots.  She would still have to remove the boots before entering the kitchen.  Aunt Vanda had often scolded that “mud room” didn’t mean “make as much mud as possible.”

Corinne pushed open the door, the familiar chimes tinkling above her head. Aunt Vanda stood at the stove, swallowed by a cloud of steam.  The windows, usually framing a view of wildflowers or snow sculptures, were opaque and sweating.  Aunt Vanda peered into an enormous, grumbling pot.  As she stirred, her signature swag of silver bangs was pinned back with a glittery barrette.  Corinne remembered when the edgy auburn bob had boasted only one thick streak of grey. They all loved this full head of platinum and smoke.

Aunt Vanda greeted Corinne without looking up from her pot. Corinne walked to the cabinets and pulled down a coffee mug.  She never had to ask if there was coffee made. Aunt Vanda always had coffee.

She sat at  the tall wooden table in the center of the kitchen, sipped her coffee and watched Vanda at the stove.  Corinne hadn’t met many people who also appreciated silence.  She and Aunt Vanda had shared powerful moments that hadn’t included a single spoken word.  The best was when Aunt Vanda had introduced her to the Lynden Sculpture Garden and they’d strolling the grounds in exquisite and soothing quiet.  Corinne was grateful to find someone that finally understood her non-language.

After a few more minutes of tantric stirring, Aunt Vanda lifted the long-handled spoon to drain a dark strip of fabric.

“Is that the teal?” Corinne asked.

“No, this’ll be more of a smoky blue once it dries,” Aunt Vanda said. “I think she’s making a dress with this one.” Corinne watched  Vanda transfer the dripping fabric into a bowl of cool water.  Whether it was cooking or creating, they could often push open the kitchen door to find Aunt Vanda floating about her vast kitchen, peeking into cabinets, lifting lids from multiple large pots, kicking closed the oven door, grinning to herself.

The first time Corinne entered this space, she was arrested with thick aromas of cumin, mint, figs and lamb.  Aunt Vanda was fascinated with Istanbul at the time, and her menus reflected that passionate curiosity.  She’d even splurged on an expensive Turkish floor rug, once she’d learned that their artistry rivaled that of Persia and Egypt. Morocco was Vanda’s next fantastic study.  Later,Vienna .Singapore. New Orleans.  Aunt Vanda couldn’t treat herself to much travel in those days, but she gifted herself with knowledge, as she put it, learning everything she could about the culture or city of the moment.  Anyone who spoke with her would’ve thought that Aunt Vanda had lived in locales around the world when, actually, she’d never traveled further than 100 miles beyond this farmhouse in her entire life.

As a child, Vanda watched her family’s farm waste away after her father died and her mother had taken to the drink. Vanda protected her six siblings from most of their mother’s violent tirades, but not all of them.  They each carried a constellation of scars and dark memories.  Vanda’s siblings fled the farm and the small town, one by one, and never came back.  Not even after their mother died and Vanda was alone on the farm.  Vonda didn’t fault them. She had simply learned to live with the ghosts howling in the shadows.

Then she met her truth.  Jim showed up on her doorstep like an angel dispatched from the clouds.  He was passing through town and decided he might stay for a while. He asked if he could earn a few dollars by helping repair things around the property. Vanda had thanked him, but told him that she usually fixed everything herself.  Whenever Vanda retold the story, her eyes always twinkled at the part where Jim had asked her if she planned to spend her life always doing what she’d always done.

They were wed in seven months.  The marriage had, indeed, been tumultuous but Aunt Vanda said she would always think back to their first date when Jim had ordered for her and instructed the waiter not to include onions. She hadn’t even remembered telling him about her allergy, but he’d obviously remembered some passing mention of it.  If he could care for these small parts of her, she decided, they could manage the big parts together.

In fact, Jim was integral in opening the World Café & Inn.  He converted the old barn into a restaurant, scavenging the entire region for scrap parts and used equipment.  The farmhouse rooms were even converted into a boarding house.  Jim loved her fiercely and completely until his passing.  That’s when Vanda had the idea to change the inn from a boarding house for adults to a transitional home for teens.

When Corinne came to the Inn, she’d been braced for another tooth-and-nail, survival-of-the-fittest foster home.  She was aging out of the system and was relieved learned to be placed in a group home where she would work at a restaurant in exchange for room and board.  Most foster kids found themselves homeless once they turned 18 and were released from the state’s care. Corinne had barely survived her foster homes; she wasn’t cut out to make a life on the street. Her social worker had been a childhood friend of Vanda’s and said  she only placed her most promising kids at the World Café.  Corinne had listened to the warm endorsement but couldn’t help rolling her eyes at the words “treats you like her family.” The social workers always said that. They’d always been wrong.

It had been seven years since Corinne lived at the Inn, and she was one of several “World Kids” whose heart never moved away.  Vanda had become their family, which is why they called her Aunt Vanda.  There were nearly three dozen of them breathing out there in the real world.  A handful had perished, but most of them had been refortified after lifetimes of abuse, neglect, rage and fear.  They’d become musicians, gym teachers, lawyers, mothers, soldiers, sous chefs. They’d become whole.  Corinne worked at a jewelry store.  She liked dressing up and being surrounded by beautiful things and loved the serenity.

She lived in the city now, but found her way back to visit Aunt Vanda at least once a month.  She liked observing the new Kids as they stocked the silverware trays or carried fresh greens to the barn.  They were doing more of the cooking now, since the nearby culinary school had taken an interest in the Café and its mission.  Vanda still set the menu (apparently, she was all about Serbia these days) but she filled her cooking time with creating hand-dyed fabrics for a designer in the city.

Corinne stood to refill her coffee mug.  She could feel Aunt Vanda’s eyes on her this time. She knew.  Vanda always knew.

“So,” Vanda said wiping her hands on a rag and taking a seat at the high wooden table. “What’s eluding you, kiddo?”

Corinne let the warm coffee rest on her lip while she thought.  “Peace of mind,” she answered.  “I can’t seem to get any peace of mind.”

 

Read parts 2 & 3 here:

Pt 1. – The Beginning (this one)
Pt 2. – The Middle
Pt 3. – The End