Summertime Artworking

There is a nice article in GOOD Magazine about the events I attended in New Orleans back in March. At the time I was quoted, I was doing my research, but sadly the salary ranges weren’t too hot so I’m staying in Cleveland another year. Honestly, I’m still having a lot of things go wrong health-wise, so I’m sort of held hostage by the fact I seem to have visits to a doctor more often than I’d like. My husband and I will be headed down to New Orleans again in October for the film fest, though he was also honest in saying he wants to die in Dublin and not New Orleans.

Speaking of Dublin, I had a nice little feature on Surface & Surface.  I hope I can go back there next year.

This will be my 2nd modeling for a painting class (the first was when I was 13 because the model didn’t show up!) Judy will be running her workshop at BAYArts starting June 14th, it should be a fun time, so go read about it over here. There will be an exhibition tied in with the class as well.

The 50/50 Show is upon us, and it’s been many years since I have done it. I’ll have a little color study available for it, and it all goes down at Dredger’s Union on E. 4th downtown Cleveland this year. Go buy some art instead of flushing money down the toilet on slots at the new casino; I lost a whole dollar when I went in there, so you are welcome, I contributed to economic recovery!

I’ll also be participating in Author Alley this year during the Larchemere Festival. Myself and other local authors will have our books on hand. Also, if you already have a copy, please do add your reviews to the Amazon page for my book. It looks so lonely.

I’m currently starting my piece for this exhibition in San Francisco, CA this coming October. Having trouble deciding what to do, I have too many ideas!

My First Trip To New Orleans

I arrived home sweaty, stinky, covered in Sharpie marker (don’t ask) and completely unused to the amount of activity that this trip provided. Boy was my husband so glad to have me home!

This was one of the more amazing experiences of my life, and mainly due to the people I have met as a result. I had a jam packed itinerary and still only saw a fraction of what I wanted to! You can read some more about this trip, some new things I learned, and what the whole shebang was about over here. I want to thank all the individuals and organizations who made this possible, as well as the film crew who followed along.

New Orleans has realized it has to go beyond just marketing 4 blocks of the French Quarter, and this entire project was just another piece of those efforts. It is still very much a pirate town with the old aristocratic hold overs; lots of new things are being done, while at the same time a lot hasn’t been done if you drive through areas where a house might still have a boat through the roof! The devastation is still palatable. It has been described as the wild west right now for several new industries (film, medical, tech) and new people are moving there, but, I was warned by several individuals in the arts and/or economic development who had left recently that I’ll probably feel the sting in 3 years or less. They could all take it for a few years but got fed up, worn out, frustrated, scarred and had to cut their losses and move elsewhere. It’s a very hard city to live in, in ways that are different to how harsh NYC or L.A. can be, so I think it takes a certain type of person to be able to handle it. At the same time — I think I might have mentioned in the film —  it felt like what London in the 1960s was probably like. It has risen to the number 2 slot for most film production outside of Los Angeles, and a 2.2 billion dollar medical facility is under construction — which for me, that’s kind of important being that my medical condition is going to always trail me. Over all the city seems like a good fit for me; the question of how long I would stay is another issue since I have a bad habit of getting bored or frustrated and moving places. I think it is funny nothing seemed all that strange to me in New Orleans. One big art school is how I would describe it.

I’m sorry this is going to be a somewhat heavy photo post, but I’m under the gun: I leave to fly back to New Orleans tomorrow! Yes, bringing the husband along to see what he thinks.

Other things:

– me and humidity don’t get along, because OH MY GOD MY HAIR.

– Talking to the homeless as well as people part of the whole Entreprenuer Week programing of “come drink our Kool Aid” was a good balance.

– No really, the homeless are super nice in New Orleans

– I feel safer in downtown NOLA than I do in downtown Cleveland or Los Angeles.

– Kermit Ruffins joining a little dance party in the middle of the street, while blocking traffic, and a band covered Nirvana inside the one club? Yeah, that was awesome.

– If you lose a 2 karat diamond from your wedding band on Frenchman Street, chances are a friend will find it in a dirty crack the next morning and return it to you (true story).

– I have talent: I can spot the back of Samuel L. Jackson’s head courtside at a Hornets game while I’m up in a suite. *eagle eyes*

– Super Sunday was amazing, and the fact people could sell liquor out of their trucks and nothing got out of hand was astounding. Anywhere else there would be fights and vomiting all over the place (oh hi Boston).

– Keep reminding yourself you are in America, because many times, it doesn’t feel like it.

Calling Artists and Galleries in New Orleans!

If you or anyone you know is an artist or gallery based in New Orleans, please contact me so I can add you to my list of places to visit with during my stay as part of the NOLA Bound program this coming March 14-18. I will probably have a documentary camera crew with me (just FYI). Those working out of studios that are housed in former warehouses or oddball commercial properties are of interest to me, too.

This is partly for the film, partly for research for economic development purposes, and also for my own research when it comes to the art scene in New Orleans — to see what it is like to run an arts-based business there. It’s also a bit of an audition, to see if New Orleans and I would be a good fit in the future. Either way, I love making new contacts and friends!

Hit me up at arabellaproffer(at)gmail.com and tell me the haps!

 

I’m NOLA Bound!

I’m so happy to be chosen as one of the 25 professionals to be sent on a trip to New Orleans, where I’ll get a tour of the city, meet people in my field, and maybe even decide when/if I’m moving there in the future.We’ll also have a documentary crew following us around and the film will premier in New Orleans during the film fest in October. I’m kind of mouthy when is comes to economic development and the arts lately, so you know this will get interesting!

New Orleans, with its unique opportunity to restructure its economy in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, is embracing the cutting-edge industries that rely on highly-committed, enthusiastic thinkers who are ready to move past brick and mortar. These industries (Digital Media, Arts-based businesses, Sustainable Industries and the Biosciences) are at the frontier of the new American economy, and companies in this industry are uniquely equipped to serve their customers from anywhere in the world using digital communication. This versatile new economy is a perfect for a versatile “new” New Orleans.

As you probably guessed, I’m an arts-based business (and so is the record label in my mind), I’ll be going down in mid March for this whole shebang. You can view all the other winners and more about the program here: http://www.benolabound.com

Between this, and selling all three of my paintings chosen for the Surreal Salon in Baton Rouge, I’m starting to think Louisiana and I are going to get along just fine.

NOLA Bound? Time Will Tell

I recently applied for the NOLA Bound program. You can view my application here (ignore those pesky typos, it was hard writing anything in such a tiny field), but please do retweet and share it throughout the Land ‘o the Internets!

This looked like a good way for me to suss out the situation in New Orleans, not to mention it would be helpful to have people to hang out with and introductions. Besides, can you imagine cameras following me around? I’ll be a very entertaining gal — no doubt. Well, that is, unless I make a total jack ass of myself. People joke I need a reality show considering the weird stuff that always happens to me, why not put it to something that’s productive? Considering I’ve never been to the city, I think this would be an awesome way to go about it.

At this rate I’m putting my fate of where to wander next into the hands of the Gods, so if I did get this experience, I’ll know it was for a reason. Worth a try.

Seven Years in Cleveland

This month marks 7 years since I decided I couldn’t handle L.A. anymore and moved to Cleveland. It was a mildly impulsive choice, but everything fell into place at the right time for it to happen. I never thought I would end up living in Ohio! People always seem to think I was from here originally, or had family, or had some obligation as to why I came here. Nope. I just visited a few times, knew some people and liked it. Many are still perplexed that I would move here by choice or because I felt like it.

Are there things that bother me about Cleveland? Oh hell yes, but nothing beyond the same number of complaints my husband and I had about Boston, or Orange County, or L.A. to be honest — just different complaints. The wasted potential is my main gripe. Why on earth is there still nothing cool on the waterfront?! Is anything ever gonna get built there?! And when are people gonna stop complaining about losing manufacturing jobs? Can’t there be a new industry to move on to? I don’t like the traffic cops here, and normally I don’t mind cops at all. The city government is so inept it is astounding how anything even gets done. Also, how the hell did the Rock Hall manage to screw up CMJ Fest like that? There are major music festivals in the desert, in the mountains, and in odd places yet Cleveland can’t get its shit together to host an annual one? There’s also the provincial attitudes that I find painful to endure (just watch the local news, it is so quaint!), but I’ve been good at finding the groups of people who are progressive, creative, and worldly. Selling art in Cleveland isn’t easy for instance, it does happen, but not the same volume as some places. But this is why I exhibit all over and use Cleveland as a home base. The Harvey Pekar or Drew Carey Show side of Cleveland is very much alive and well, but that is only one side.

In fact, there’s a number of transplants from major cities that I’ve met over the years; I don’t know why the national media is doing stories about New Yorkers fleeing for Cleveland in recent months, because it has been happening slowly since I’ve been here. They all moved here for the same reasons I did: better quality of life. When I say that, I mean being able to actually go out and enjoy things because you can afford to — little things and big. Just count the number of pro-Cleveland blogs, my favorite site being Cleveland Memory Project. Heck, you can even go on Twitter now and see a hashtag for #HappyinCLE. It is different for everyone I suppose. My husband and I have always had a bad case of wanderlust, so the fact that we are still here speaks volumes. Every time we think about moving somewhere, it just never seems to happen or we can’t decide on what benefits there would actually be beyond maybe nicer weather. Cold and snow don’t bother me, just the darkness in winter. I’m not opposed to moving if something awesome came up or was offered, but it would take another clusterfuck to get me to sell everything and drive cross-country again in the hurry we did when we came here. I guess it is good we stayed, if I hadn’t been near Cleveland Clinic this year I don’t know what I would have done. Truthfully, I’d probably be dead by spring.

I’d probably still really like L.A. if I were rich and had a house in the hills or somewhere away from people where I didn’t have to drive. I tell you, I had the best time in L.A. when I went home for a visit. A visit, not to live. A big difference — mainly that I didn’t have to drive (except on the 405 when I got stuck in traffic for an hour and a half). I still couldn’t wait to get back to Cleveland; SoCal suburbs are just as ugly to me as snow covered rustbelt industry. So when people ask why the hell I live in Cleveland still, I can pretty much give you a short list off the top of my head:

  • My fabulous apartment in a gorgeous hood with utilities included and underground parking only just now went up to $700 a month.
  • The commute to my husband’s job downtown is 6 minutes.
  • the fact we’ve been surviving on just one of us working, or both of us working part-time.
  • I have a huge art studio for less than $100 a month.
  • I have time for my art.
  • The Cleveland Art Museum, and it’s free!
  • The Cleveland Clinic, where I had the best rock star surgeon for my type of surgery in, um, the entire world! Also I had an anesthesiologist who sorta looked like Sam Elliot once. That was nice.
  • The restaurants are amazing and I can actually afford to go to them.
  • The amount of grants for individuals and organizations.
  • Traveling distance to other cities is in close proximity. Weekends in Detroit, Chicago, Pittsburgh, DC and the like are easy.
  • The Metro Park system.
  • There’s a venue for every niche; different movie theaters,  record stores, concert venues, bars, and art galleries all serving a particular sub-culture of some sort.
  • The lack of chains. Unless you go out to the ‘burbs, everything is independently run for the most part.

As much as a complain about the things I consider stupid about this town, I’d actually be kind of bummed if it became too much of a “hipster haven” or overrun with more yuppies. I sort of like it being a well-kept secret; I like having the feeling that the city is all mine and I can run amok! Let’s face it Cleveland, you piss me off sometimes, but after 7 years I still kind of like you.