Month: October 2013

Nash-Up Recap

posted by – 10/31/13 @ 1:23pm

Yesterday, October 30 2013, the second annual Nash-Up conference was a success! Members of the Nashville community met at the Main Nashville Public Library and engaged each other in open and interactive discussions about the direction of Nashville’s creative endeavors. The first panel discussed art and technology with music technologist Mike Butera, performer and installation artist Robbie Lynn Hunsinger, steampunker Chris Lee, Metamarketer CEO Kate O’Neill, and moderater Steve Haruch. The second panel discussed art and the urban environment with actor and real estate activator Craige Hoover, actress and Sideshow Fringe artist Jessika Malone, filmmaker Molly Secours, Nashville Opera COO Noah Spiegel, and moderator Robin Rather. Activities included a small group placemaking in action planning scenario, a mapping of what’s next for our creativity, and a preview of the ongoing Our Town project. At the end of the day, we headed to 5’th avenue for a brief art crawl.

We drew several stand-out conclusions from Nash-up. To recap:

1. Don’t be scared of technology. Artists of all genres can use it to create innovative visual art, film, music, etc.

2. Collaboration is important. We’re most creative when we listen to other people’s ideas and perspectives. We learn more from each other than we could ever learn from ourselves alone.

3. Nashvillians are not lacking in creativity and ideas. Our role as the “music city” fosters a community that values the arts and attracts creative people. To make sure all of our great ideas come to fruition, we need to be diligent during the process of executing our ideas. Creative projects work best when paired with effective methods of implementation. Identifying these methods will allow creativity in Nashville to thrive.

We hope you enjoyed Nash-Up as much as we did! If you couldn’t make it, next year’s Nash-up aims to be even more illuminating.


Venice back in the day…today

posted by – 10/30/13 @ 12:42pm

A couple years ago, I went to Venice.  It’s a beautiful town full of gondolas, gelato, and canals.  Oh, and it’s also full of people–Especially around summertime.  Cruise ships and planes unload about 55,000 tourists every day to explore the small city.  It makes you wonder:  what did it look like back then when travelling wasn’t such a common activity.  Giuseppe Desideri is an Italian photographer that captures the city as what it looked like in the dark ages.  His photos are eerily devoid of people and he further amplifies that feeling by capturing images on cloudy and foggy days.  Take a look!  It looks far more beautiful than what I saw when I was actually in Italy.

Yarn Bombing

posted by – 10/29/13 @ 1:08pm

Yarn-bombing, also known as guerilla knitting or yarnstorming, is a relatively new form of graffiti that has been gaining in popularity since it was first spotted in the early 2000’s. It’s graffiti that isn’t made out of spray paint, but out of the colorful knits and crochets many people associate with their grandmothers. Most yarn-bombings focus on brightening a physical space. Often, yarn-bombers use yarn to patch up dilapidated areas of a city or town, or to provide humor and color in an otherwise cold and stark environment.

But it’s more than just extremely pleasant and charming. Yarn-bombers are blurring the lines between craft, graffiti, and high art. The group Yarn Bombings Los Angeles writes,

“In its seemingly odd juxtaposition of knitting and graffiti, often associated with opposing concepts such as female, granny, indoors, domestic, wholesome and soft vs. male, enfant terrible, outdoors, public, underground and edgy, the practice of yarn bombing redefines both genres. Yarn bombing transforms knitting from a domestic endeavor to public art, recontextualizing both knitting and graffiti, both of which are marginalized creative endeavors that fall outside ‘high art.’”

The yarn-bombers vision for street-art continues to spread around the world. It will be exciting to see how street-art evolves in the future and whether yarn-bombing will be become as commonplace as spray paint graffiti.




posted by – 10/24/13 @ 2:39pm

Just in time for Halloween, artist Katarzyna Majak has launched an exhibit titled “Women of Power.” This exhibit features portraits of Polish women who identify as Pagan or practitioners of witchcraft. Majak’s intimate photos evoke a dialogue about the treatment of powerful and subversive women throughout history. In the 15th century, the Catholic Church published the Malleus Maleficarum – basically a manual for identifying witches. The document sparked the killings of hundreds of thousands of women who were usually independent, outspoken, and successful in their roles as healers or midwives. More recently, the Catholic Church in Poland has taken a strong stance against abortion and equal pay for women.


While 95% of Poles identify as Catholic, the women in Majak’s photographs follow a historically marginalized spiritual path. The photographs remind us that women prevailed through the sexism of past centuries, and continue to push against the status quo. The photos remind us that subversive women have a rich history – for example, the solidarity movement that freed Poland from the Soviet Union was led almost entirely by women. During this season of evil witches in pointed hats, Majak’s exhibition gives such women a more realistic perspective. When I look at the photographs, I’m reminded that “witches” have a human face much like my own Polish grandmother’s.



Picture this: Thomas Barbéy

posted by – 10/23/13 @ 11:29am

I take a lot of pictures when I travel.  Sometimes I like to get a bit artsy with my pictures by playing with angles to get interesting perspectives and, of course, always using that rule of thirds.  Unfortunately, my experience in photography stops after pressing the shutter button.  Thomas Barbéy, however, does some pretty crazy stuff in the dark room.  He travels around the world a few times a year, takes lots of pictures, and when he finds two or more pictures that just seem right together, he exposes them onto the same photography paper, creating a surreal effect.

Check out his website here!

Costume Art

posted by – 10/22/13 @ 12:57pm

Halloween is one of my favorite holidays of the year. It’s a day where you can be whoever – or whatever – you’d like to be. It’s a day where you might see Batman, Cinderella, and Jesus walking down the street together. It’s a day devoted to being silly, eating sweets, and watching scary movies like Hocus Pocus.

With this fun holiday quickly approaching, it’s time to start planning your costume. Getting dressed up is somewhat an art of its own. This year, consider merging the thrill of dressing up with paying homage to your favorite art or artists. Consider being a cool Warhol, a lively Lichtenstein, or a classic Picasso. For a more contemporary look, dress like a subversive Banksy mural. Whatever your costume, take advantage of the opportunity to show off your creativity and embody the great works of art you admire. Happy Halloween!


Making the cut: Pumpkin Carving

posted by – 10/18/13 @ 11:55am

My favorite thing about Halloween and Christmas is that everyone completely redecorates to accommodate the season.  You also have those guys that really get into it and go all out trying to one-up that guy across the street.

Check out this guy:  Ray Villafane’s pumpkin carvings really take the cake (or pie:)).  His pumpkins won Food Network’s Outrageous Pumpkin challenge several times.  They feature both the funny and the scary of the pumpkin worlds.  It’s a shame that his creations can’t last forever.  Maybe he has some way to patch them up every now and then (get it?).  Have a look for yourself.  I think they are just spooktacular!

Click here to see his other cool creations.

Discovering the new world

posted by – 10/16/13 @ 11:53am

I hope everyone had a wonderful long weekend.  On Columbus Day, we remember Christopher Columbus’ journey to the Americas.  Unfortunately, his reputation as a great explorer has been tainted by his mistreatment of the American natives.

So instead of commemorating the arrival of a controversial hero, let’s celebrate the arrival of something everyone loves: giant inflatable ducks.

There has been a lot of hoopla in China, France, Australia and many other countries about Dutch artist, Florentijin Hofman’s giant inflatable duck.  It wasn’t until this October that the duck finally made landfall in the United States (kind of… it’s technically floating in a river).  Known as the birthplace of pop art, Pittsburgh was appropriately selected to be the first American city to be visited by the famous bath toy.  The piece draws crowds from great distances and induces a strong sense of community among its audience.  I think it promotes peace and friendship in a way unmatched by any gesture of diplomacy in history.  I mean look at it!  If you’re not smiling when you see this, you obviously have no emotion!

Come to Nashville next!

If you weren’t inflatable bird watching over the weekend, maybe you came by 5th Avenue for Across the Arts.  In addition to delicious cocktails, dinner, and dessert, we heard a moving speech from Representative and Civil Rights leader, John Lewis.   Performers from TPAC performed an excerpt of their production “Red” about the life of Mark Rothko.  Finally, Alexis Gideon performed his latest video opera, Video Musics III:  Floating Oceans.  It was remarkable how many things this guy can do at the same time.  He was singing perfectly in sync with the video, playing a keyboard, xylophone, and a medley of other instruments all in one piece.  I sure was impressed.

Banksy Bargains

posted by – 10/15/13 @ 12:52pm

Once again, Banksy is stirring up controversy in the art world. A few days ago, a vendor (possibly Banksy himself) set up a modest stand in New York City and sold several of the famed graffiti artist’s works for as low as $30. Similar works have sold for up to $1,870,000. Thousands of people passed by the stand without a second glance. Banksy closed the stand and revealed the ruse on his website after selling eight works to three lucky buyers. This gesture reminds us that great art isn’t always limited to museums or attached to a famous name. Sometimes we don’t notice noteworthy art because of its modest presentation. Banksy’s undercover stand reminds us not to cloud our perceptions of art with notions of status. Who knows? That street vendor’s art could be Banksy-level cool. We won’t know unless we give all art a chance and leave classism behind.

To read more about Banksy’s recent exploits, go here.


Do your feet hurt yet?

posted by – 10/09/13 @ 12:37pm

I was in New York this weekend visiting a friend near Columbia University in Morningside Heights. After lunch, I decided to head back downtown and my friend offered to swipe me in so I can take the subway. In a weak moment, I refused because the weather was fabulous and 110ish blocks didn’t seem so bad. Three hours later, I finally made it, and it felt like I got to see a lot more of the city than a typical tourist.

I was telling my story to my friend, Roo, and he showed me a cool video art project he did when he was in New York. He made a similar trek from Battery Park to Highbridge Park (aka the southern tip to the northern tip). That trek took a good 6.5 hours, including a quick food stop. He also recorded it so you can experience it too! But don’t worry, he speeds it up so it will only take you 30 minutes. I think the project is an interesting statement about the things we miss when we are so focused on just getting where we need to go.

A Map of Roo's Journey

Click the image to see the video!