Pamela

And now, we turn to Pamela.

It’s Pamela Anderson’s first day as the Pfister’s new Artist-in-Residence. I will endeavor to answer all the questions that come along with Pamela’s name.

No, she does not know David Hasselhoff.

No, she does not tease up a mane of golden blonde hair.

No, she does not run down sandy beaches in her swimsuit saving wayward surfers…well, at least I’m pretty sure she doesn’t.

And, yes, Pamela is a painter who is bold, expressive and the first of her kind for the Pfister. Pamela is the first abstract painter in the Pfister’s roster of artists who have made the ground floor studio their home.

Here are a few other things to know and adore about Pamela.

She’s tough. She’d never talk about it, but health issues have tried to slow her in recent times. Pamela brushes all that off and simply keeps getting back up when she’s knocked down.

She’s persistent. Pamela has such obvious joy over having been selected to be the Pfister’s Artist-in-Residence. She comes to the role after showing that commitment is not defined by overnight success but by what you do in the face of rejection to show that you really want something.

She’s super talented and charming. Her paintings brighten spaces all around town, and now we’re blessed to have them showcased at the Pfister. I’ll give guests wandering into her studio a warning shot…give yourself some time to stop and chat because you’ll find it’s hard to pull yourself away from the great conversation you are bound to have with Pamela.

She’s got great taste. Her studio is going to shine because of her great eye for style. She’s one well-put-together lady, too. When I see her coming, I’m happy to straighten my tie and step up my game.

Pamela and I got to spend some time together chatting about what it means to be an artist in service to the Pfister, and I know she drank deep from the well of knowledge that is our outgoing Artist-in-Residence Todd Mrozinski. Pamela is primed and more than ready to define the next twelve months in her own terms. Watch as she bursts on the scene at the Pfister and takes us all on an artistic journey of thrilling twists and turns. I know I’m tickled with excitement about what’s about to come.

Have a happy day one, Pamela. What a joy it is to have your splashes of color and wit adding new dimensions of life at the Pfister. Make the experience your own in each and every way and everyone will win big.

Follow me on Twitter @jonathantwest for more smart remarks and snappy retorts.

Todd

And then there’s Todd.

Today is officially the final day of Todd Mrozinski’s term as the Pfister’s Artist-in-Residence. For me and others around the Pfister, this is the moment when Todd leaves us with one final everlasting shadow. His own.

Todd made his mark during his artistic residency by using the shadows cast from the light at the Pfister to capture the profiles of countless guests, associates and well-wishers with brush and paint. Sounds like a simple proposition, and you may be thinking, “I sort of remember doing something like that in grade school, right?” But you would be wrong. Todd is a magician of sorts, an artist of supreme talent who somehow is able to show more than just a profile with his paintings. I don’t know how he does it, but Todd is able to paint a person’s soul.

Todd has talents I’ll never know. There are the obvious ones with a paintbrush that he wields with devastatingly exciting effect each time he approaches a canvas. There’s also the unerring commitment to his work as I often stood gaping at the volume of what he has been able to create during his time as Artist-in-Residence. I think, however, that the thing the amazes me most about my new friend Todd is a heart bigger than seems capable of being held in one human being’s chest.

Todd doesn’t simply paint people. He loves people and must paint them. It seems like an understatement to say that Todd is a universally beloved man. Around the Pfister, the thing we fortunate ones who have gotten to work with Todd do the first moment we see him approaching is smile and breathe a little easier full of a special sort of feeling. You know that feeling…the one you have when you see your best friend coming towards you. When you see Todd, the world seems right and everything makes sense.

It would be hard to write any tribute to my fellow artistic colleague at the Pfister without also talking about his wife, the dazzling Renee Bebeau. Renee’s pure love of the world and her obvious deep connection to Todd has brought added joy to the Pfister, and everything she seems to touch turns to something golden and full of joy. Renee was Todd’s true partner during his residency, organizing the Pfister’s thrilling Holiday Artists Fair, helping to coordinate the many shows Todd curated over the past year, serving as model for some of Todd’s paintings, and creating her own stunning art side-by-side with her beloved guy.

Todd leaves the Pfister having inspired me as any great artist does. I think of his friendship, the feeling I had every time I saw a new piece of his artwork, and it makes me want to get about the business of dedicating myself even more to my own life’s passion. Todd is the greatest advocate the art world could ever ask for, but more than that, he is one of the greatest human beings I’ve ever known. I will miss him, and I know I’m not alone.

Goodbye Todd. You leave a long and beautiful shadow, my friend. Thanks for all you have given and all you allowed us to take away.

Follow me on Twitter @jonathantwest for more smart remarks and snappy retorts.

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.

 

The Pfister Hotel Names Next Artist in Residence

Home to more Victorian Art than any other hotel in the world, click the historic Pfister Hotel in downtown Milwaukee for the past two years has hosted a popular artist-in-residence program. The hotel and its selection committee has now chosen its third artist in residence, Shelby Keefe. She will move into the Pfister’s studio space in April 2011, sick replacing current Pfister artist Katie Musolff, and will remain at the hotel for one year.

“I am so very honored and grateful to be chosen as the next Pfister artist in residence,” says Keefe. “I am thrilled with the opportunity to focus on creating a body of work that reflects the beauty of Milwaukee and to work in the magnificent surroundings of The Pfister Hotel. I look forward to growing as an artist and sharing my passion for painting with visitors and guests from all over the world.”

Keefe was one of six finalists to have been included in the public voting period, try which ended earlier this week. In addition to the public vote via Facebook, Twitter, online and in-person ballots, a selection committee consisting of leaders in the local art community made the final decision on the next artist in residence.

A contemporary impressionistic painter, teacher and performance artist, Keefe was born in Whitewater, Wis., and graduated in 1981 from Cardinal Stritch University in Milwaukee. Since retiring from a career in graphic design in 2005, she has been operating her own art studio and exhibition space in Bay View. Her award-winning urban landscape paintings have earned her participation in prestigious national juried shows, plein air painting competitions and arts festivals, as well as garnering commission work for a variety of corporate clients and private collectors.

“I’m thrilled with the level of talent we saw in the applicant pool for our third year,” says Joe Kurth, general manager of The Pfister Hotel. “The overall ability within our region for artists as exemplified in our six finalists is a testament to the growing opportunity for us to continue to use this program as a way for the selected artist in residence to connect with our guests. I am very excited to see what Shelby will bring to our program given her diverse skills as a teacher, artistic coach and performance painter.”

The Pfister’s Artist-In-Residence Program

Entering its third year, The Pfister’s Artist-in-Residence program features a working art studio and gallery that is open to hotel guests and visitors. The program encourages the public to interact with the artist and witness the evolution of each piece first-hand.