Finalists Exhibit Artist Profile – Sara Mulloy

As part of the Pfister’s ongoing commitment to the arts and those incredibly talented artists who’ve taken the time to submit their candidacy for our Artist-in-Residence position, we’ve put together a fantastic evening at the Sharon Lynne Wilson Center for the Arts to highlight Artist in Residence finalists from the first four years of the program. The show, debuted as part of the Hidden River Art Festival on Friday, September 14th from 5.30-8.30pm.  You can find an photo album of the show here, on our Facebook page (a Facebook account is not necessary).

The pieces are on display at the Sharon Lynne Wilson Center through October 17th. Participating Artist in Residence Finalists include: Albin Erhart, Anthony Suminski, Brandon Minga, Bridget Griffith Evans, Hal Koenig, Jeremy Plunkett, Kate Pfeiffer, Katie Musolff (former Artist-in-Residence), Matt Duckett, Mutope Johnson, Pamela Anderson, Reginald Baylor (former Artist-in-Residence), Sara Mulloy, Shelby Keefe (former Artist-in-Residence), Steve Ohlrich, and current Artist-in-Residence Timothy Westbrook.

Your Name: Sara Mulloy
The year you applied to be AiR:
2010
Genre of your work:
Still life
Medium of choice:
oil paint and my palette knife
City of Residence:
Milwaukee

Q: What have you been working on in the time since you applied?

A: Since applying for the Pfister Artist-in-Residence in 2010, I was fortunate enough to be hired to open the Milwaukee branch of Leslie Hindman Auctioneers, a Chicago-based auction house. We just had our one year anniversary and are enjoying great success thus far. I work with clients who are interested in consigning fine art to auction and assist them throughout the auction process. I do continue to paint, and was in a group show at Katie Gingrass Gallery in 2011.

“Untitled” by Sara Mulloy

Q: What inspired you to become an artist?

A: My father is a photographer and took photos of everything while I was growing up. He was able to find something interesting and beautiful in the most inconsequential thing. Some people are born with a desire to create, and a point of view just a little different than everyone else. It was passed to me by my father and I am inspired by the hard work, successes and failures of people who try to make the world a little more beautiful.

Q: Is there another medium that you have, or would love to experiment in? If so, why does this appeal to you?

A: I have actually just started working in another medium. I am in the beginning stages of a fabric design and furniture upholstery business, Furnish Upholstery. No artist is limited to one medium, and I love finding new ways to work with my hands. To be able to take something old and give it a new life is an amazing feeling and becoming more and more relevant in today’s up-cycled culture. My website is www.furnishupholstery.com, there you can see current and past projects.

Finalists Exhibit Artist Profile – Albin Erhart

As part of the Pfister’s ongoing commitment to the arts and those incredibly talented artists who’ve taken the time to submit their candidacy for our Artist-in-Residence position, we’ve put together a fantastic evening at the Sharon Lynne Wilson Center for the Arts to highlight Artist in Residence finalists from the first four years of the program. The show, debuted as part of the Hidden River Art Festival on Friday, September 14th from 5.30-8.30pm.  You can find an photo album of the show here, on our Facebook page (a Facebook account is not necessary).

The pieces are on display at the Sharon Lynne Wilson Center through October 17th. Participating Artist in Residence Finalists include: Albin Erhart, Anthony Suminski, Brandon Minga, Bridget Griffith Evans, Hal Koenig, Jeremy Plunkett, Kate Pfeiffer, Katie Musolff (former Artist-in-Residence), Matt Duckett, Mutope Johnson, Pamela Anderson, Reginald Baylor (former Artist-in-Residence), Sara Mulloy, Shelby Keefe (former Artist-in-Residence), Steve Ohlrich, and current Artist-in-Residence Timothy Westbrook.

Your Name: Albin Erhart
The year you applied to be AiR: 2012 Finalist
Genre of your work: Outsider Art
Medium of choice: Acrylic
City of Residence: Hartland, WI

Q: What led you to apply for the Pfister’s Artist-in-Residence position when you did?

A: Exposure to visitors from out of state, art making in public, and the money.

Q: What have you been working on in the time since you applied?

A: Themewise: More self portraits, portraits of friends, dog portrait, commerical illustrations (Mom’s Gourmet). Stylewise: used underlayments for the top colors, multiple layers of colors, colored lines rather than black lines, using lines less dominant, larger formats – from 14″ x 17″ up to 4′ x 5′, experimented with wall sculptures, painting alongside my 18 month old grand daughter.

“2012 Fashion” by Albin Erhart

Q: What inspired you to become an artist?

A: Coloring books. I’m also an introverted individual – painting is like talking for me.

Q: What piece of art (or artist) are you most inspired by?

A: In the past: the Vienna School of Fantastic Realism (Ernst Fuchs, Friedensreich Hundertwasser, Arik Brauer), Expressionists (Kirchner), Blaue Reiter (Kandinsky), Fantastic Realism (William Blake, Gustav Moreau, William Turner).  Today: Artists around town that I meet in person inspire me most.

Q: What part of your process do you find to be the most difficult? Most rewarding? Easiest?

A: I’ve learned in recent years that the ugliest beginnings yield the most gratifying endings. Also if you’re stuck but then you get through it has the same effect.

Q: Is there another medium that you have, or would love to experiment in? If so, why does this appeal to you?

A: Sculptures, wall sculptures – the added dimension appeals, also working with and combining of different materials.

Finalists Exhibit Artist Profile – Pamela Anderson

As part of the Pfister’s ongoing commitment to the arts and those incredibly talented artists who’ve taken the time to submit their candidacy for our Artist-in-Residence position, we’ve put together a fantastic evening at the Sharon Lynne Wilson Center for the Arts to highlight Artist in Residence finalists from the first four years of the program. The show, debuted as part of the Hidden River Art Festival on Friday, September 14th from 5.30-8.30pm.  You can find an photo album of the show here, on our Facebook page (a Facebook account is not necessary).

The pieces will be on display at the Sharon Lynne Wilson Center through October 17th. Participating Artist in Residence Finalists include: Albin Erhart, Anthony Suminski, Brandon Minga, Bridget Griffith Evans, Hal Koenig, Jeremy Plunkett, Kate Pfeiffer, Katie Musolff (former Artist-in-Residence), Matt Duckett, Mutope Johnson, Pamela Anderson, Reginald Baylor (former Artist-in-Residence), Sara Mulloy, Shelby Keefe (former Artist-in-Residence), Steve Ohlrich, and current Artist-in-Residence Timothy Westbrook.

Through the months of September and October we’ll be highlighting Artist-in-Residence finalists here on the blog. This week we’re featuring Artist in Residence Finalist Pamela Anderson.

Name: Pamela Anderson
The year you applied to be AiR: 2012
Genre of your work: Abstract Expressionism
Medium of choice: Acrylic, Spray Paint, Watercolor, Paper and Oil Pastel
City of Residence: Milwaukee

“Dreaming” by Pamela Anderson

Q: What inspired you to become an artist?

A: Some of my earliest memories are of me coloring for hours on the back stoop of our house. When I was in school we had art included in our curriculum and I could take art each semester. I did…That is all I wanted to do. It’s that simple. I lived, breathed art. Visiting Art Museums as a child stimulated my desire. I don’t feel that I had good direction back then or encouragement to become a working artist.On graduation from High School my Guidance Counselor encouraged the women in our class to become Nurses or Teachers. My Dad told me that he had only saved money for my Brother to go to College. He told me I wasn’t worth educating as I would only get married and have babies. I got sidetracked for a number of years. I worked in the corporate world of banking, mortgage banking and made a very successful life for myself. I raised a family. Then one day I recognized that I had never followed through with my dream. I started painting again with a new passion. I value my story…I feel it has shaped me as a person and brings meaning to who I am and my work.

Q: What piece of art (or artist) are you most inspired by?

A: This is a hard question. There are too many that inspire me! I love Calder, Miro, Kandinsky, Diebenkorn, Picasso. Frankenthaler, Mitchell, Cabrera Moreno… I could make an endless list. Locally here in Milwaukee I have studied with and have been mentored by Terrence Coffman, Reginald Baylor and Thomas Kovacich. There are aspects of all of their work that I study. Their use of color, placement, strokes…application.When I started creating again I left my traditional methods behind and began to explore Abstract Expressionism. I experiment based on my thoughts or feelings as I look at their work.

Q: What have you been working on in the time since you applied?

A: I have been experimenting with my processes at Plaid Tuba where I work as one of the Artists in Residence. Having the freedom to be able to create in an environment where imagination is nurtured has opened many windows of opportunity for me professionally and emotionally. This is an essential for an artist. Inspiration can come from many sources…but having the ability to actually work and to be successful with that inspiration is deeply gratifying and validating.

writersblockwritersblock…or, not.

Recently, I got to sit down and have a thoroughly engaging conversation with several people about the nature of art and creative economy, of how to meld creative non-profit ventures with for-profit results – as it pertains to the artist (and now writer) residencies that the Pfister hosts.

One of the things that came up in conversation was how things like the Pfister Artist-in-Residence program offer a chance for the public to get a look at the process of art creation: of how a painting comes together, or what inspires a sketch, and they can watch this process happen in real-time. This discovery of an artist in a public space strips away the intimidation non-artists generally feel when face-to-face with a completed work of art. As someone whose other job is hosting authors in public events where that exact stripping away occurs—bringing readers out of the intimidating space of a book’s interior and into a conversation with its creator—I know that this can be revealing, insightful, educational, or even inspiring.

However, unless you happen to be someone watching me make conversation while sitting at the lobby bar or standing in a hallway, you don’t get to see me actually create my art. The process for these blog posts is virtually invisible. So, as I struggled with the writing of a post, and bore out some conversation with writer friends about writer’s block, I realized that this was an opportunity to do just that: let you see into my process.

Just as each artist-in-residence here has had their own individual process in creating their unique paintings, so the different writers for the blog posts will have different approaches. This is, essentially, mine.

First, I simply spend time at the Pfister Hotel. This includes, but is not limited to, the following:

  1. Make conversation with the employees, get a finger on the pulse and mood of the day.
  2. Write down some notes (Uni-ball Jetstream pen, 0.7, black ink). Snap a photo (Olympus Stylus 770SW or smartphone).
  3. Check out the happenings sheet at the concierge desk, see what’s going on in the ballrooms, up at Blu or over at Mason Street Grill.
  4. Wander. Take notes on sights, smells, colors, sounds, etc.
  5. Sit somewhere. Eat something. Drink something. Eavesdrop.
  6. Catch someone’s eye, gauge responsiveness. If positive, engage in friendly conversation.
  7. Scribble in notebook (red Moleskine, hardcover, lined).

Usually, at some point during the above list, something will have a light shone on it. Whether it’s a story a pianist shares, sounds I heard on a quiet Sunday night, a conversation with two out-of-town businessmen, or a morning in the Café – it’s really about drawing the lines, and connecting the dots, to create a story arc. So, what happens when those hours of time or pages of notes don’t seem to spawn anything? What then?

A writer friend replied to a recent complaint of mine about “writer’s block” by saying “Not. You’re just busy writing the wrong thing in the wrong forum.” Of course, what he meant is that as writers we sometimes get stuck staring at blankness, not feeling as though we have anything to say, despite having plenty to say. It’s a reminder that sometimes a writer simply needs to step away from the material and the delivery system, and try something different. It’s often about simply getting the juices flowing.

Not writing

So, I will…

…drink my favorite coffee and nosh on mini peanut butter cups (fuel).
…read something else. Or lots of something elses: last week I read three whole books and finished a fourth.
…watch funny videos about kittens scared of apples, or upcoming indie movie trailers.
…call my mother.
…take Vito for a long walk through Lake Park or around the East Side.

Eventually I sit back down, upload the photos I took, stare at my notebook, flip through some pages, until something jumps out at me. I then like to write straight through, and prefer to not do too many drafts or major revisions. I put in links as I write, and add photos where they seem to fit the narrative.  One thing is for certain: I’m never short of good material.

When a post is done being composed, I prefer to have a particular friend of mine read it. He points out simple mistakes, like grammar or punctuation, but also offers style observations and even corrects major errors (like one post where I—who knows how this got jumbled up—said that Shaq was retiring from the Chicago Bulls), while still giving the much-needed affirmations and compliments.

Then, up it goes, onto the blog.
It gets posted on Facebook, and tweeted on Twitter.
A copy is saved in a separate file for future archival use.
I close the computer, stand up, stretch, and…go do something else.

Until it’s time to start all over again.