Sunday, March 28, 2010

sketch dump: 3/2010

This month I decided to do some drawings based on some animals living in the Leesburg, Virginia area, including one of the amazing giant tortoises at the Leesburg Animal Park. These were all drawn using black Pigma Micron pens over some watered down acrylic washes in an A4 watercolor Moleskine. Again, this was part of Big A's Moleskine Exchange, which has been a real motivator for me as far as keeping with drawing and sketching every month. While I usually draw from other people's photos of animals, I decided to use my own this time around. I may even try some very large drawings/paintings of this nature in the near future. Now, if only I could get a good shot of the big blue heron who hangs out at a nearby outdoor park. Unfortunately, Steve Irwin, I definitely am not!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

fictional beasts

Every year I get psyched about several particular art projects with my students. This one posted here is one of my favorites - where my fifth graders create fictional animals. They start out the school year by doing observational animal skull sketches and use those as a launching point. We do some drawings also based on animal photos so they can get an idea of different species, their patterns and textures, as well as their habitats. After all the preliminary studies, the fifth graders work on a final draft, or illustration showing their animal, both head and body, in their habitat on Earth. When I first started this project years ago, we didn't use animal skulls and the kids created aliens instead. I find this more recent approach is more relevant to a lot of things the kids should be thinking about and learning. Currently, my students just wrapped up their clay/three-dimensional replicas of their animals, after writing about them and doing oral presentations to their class. Once their clay sculptures dry up and are fired in a couple of weeks, they'll finally get to glaze their pieces. I think this year I've seen some of the best illos and sculptures yet, and I think next year, they'll do their presentations after all the art work is finished first. I look forward to seeing their sculptures in their final form and will be sure to photograph and post 'em up here when they're done.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

artist spotlight: john fogarty

For the month of March 2010, the artist spotlight at Go Flying Turtle! goes to New Jersey-based artist John Fogarty. I've been following John's work through his Flickr stream for several years now, and it's a real pleasure to finally have interviewed him. John's art is guided by a confident sense of intuition and a mighty work ethic. Check out his outstanding collage-work, paintings, drawings and mixed media pieces and see for yourself.

1. Q: Did you go to school for art or would you describe yourself as being self-taught?

A: No I didn't go to art school. I did take some classes at the Art Student's of New York, but those classes were mainly about refining the direction you were already going with your art as well as getting inspiration from fellow students.

2. Q: Vivid color plays a major role in your work. What attracts you to using such color in your collages, drawings and paintings?

A: Bright colors, clashing colors, sort of explosive colors kind of line up with a lot of the emotions and thoughts that race through my head as well as a lot of art that inspires me.

3. Q: I know you're big into music. Do you see a relation to music and sound with visual art, and does music influence your own work at all?

A: Music absolutely inspires my art, I mean it's essential for me to get into the mindstate where I can just fully immerse myself in what i'm making.

4. Q: Whose art and music are you into these days?

A: I've been listening to a lot of mixes by musicians that I like that I've downloaded recently. A couple names that come to mind are Tim Hecker (his music really lines up well with making art for me), a mix Prefuse73 made for MoMa last year, the album Selected Ambient Works 2 by Aphex Twin. So much music, and like art I'm always looking for new music to inspire me. Some of the artists that inspire me are Herbert Baglione, Roberto Matta, Blu, Stephanie Toppin, Sat One, Hans Bellmer, and Wols.

5. Q: Is there any type of art "scene" - spaces, galleries, street, out your way ? How'd you describe it?

A: There is, I haven't really made my way into them yet, but New Jersey as well as Brooklyn have some really cool places that I'd like to get involved with in the future.

6. Q: Much of your work incorporates faces and semi-symmetrical, line-based compositions. Can you pinpoint some of the reasons why these can be found in your art?

A: It could be my love of building something with lots of detail yet finding something recognizable in it. Something that comes to mind when I think of that is kind of like if you look at a tree's branches for a while, you can make out unusual faces and expressions, and in my art once I see that, I expand on that even if that recognizable form gets somewhat lost.

7. Q: What do you find to be the most challenging aspect of being an artist?

A: Making art that I don't think is terrible and keeps me interested and positive about making more art.

8. Q: Why do you make art - what do you get out of the act of creating?

A: First off catharsis from my mind which has a tendency towards overloading with thoughts till it short circuits. Secondly I love the process of making art and seeing something develop from a couple lines or pieces of paper into something that trips you out or just makes you see things a little brighter or differently.

9. Q: Do you plan on exhibiting your work in any shows or galleries in the near future? Anything else in store with regards to the art of John Fogarty?

A: No I don't have any shows at the moment, but I am working on making some t-shirts with designs of mine as well as getting a website up and running to sell my art on. Some good things have come about recently, just don't want to jinx them because they haven't completely panned out yet.

10. Q: If you had to describe your art to the average joe who might not appreciate your work at first, what would you say to them?

A: Most of my artwork is made from an intuitive point of view, so I think if they weren't into it I'd be fine with that. I don't think I'd really be interested in trying to convince someone to like my artwork. It's what the viewer makes of it.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010


Looks like Kris and I weren't the only two lovebirds out and about last Sunday afternoon. What a gorgeous past few days it's been outside. It's hard to believe that only a few weeks ago there was snow up to our hips, and now most of it's gone. I don't consider myself to have S.A.D., but these brighter, warmer days have truly elevated my mood and energy levels lately. I know I'm not alone there. Seeing and hearing birds other than the usual crows and vultures has been a real bonus too. The doves pictured here barely moved when we were photographing them, thankfully. Eventually, we found them running around behind the bushes, their heads bobbing back and forth near the ground like chickens, looking for something tasty to eat. We could have watched those birds all day if we had the time. Looking forward to more of this good stuff soon.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

sketch dump: 2/2010

Finally, a sketch dump from February! More Splotch Monsters and "entities" this time around. I'm almost finished adding details and extra features to the last of the vacant-looking Splotch Monsters from last year. It's hard to sometimes tell when I've crossed the line into overkill territory with some of them though. I've also started a few giant Splotch Monsters on some huge watercolor sheets, though I'm still trying to figure out the best way to add features to 'em. The latest series of entities were all done in a little Piccadilly notebook given to me from a Blogger friend a while ago (thanks Brian!) and I also made a colorful one as part of Big A's Moleskine exchange. Working on these reminded me how fun it is to draw in a smaller sketchbook. Anyhow, I'm slowly working on a very large new painting that I hope to finish by the end of this month. Work's always an insane circus every March with all the extra-curricular stuff going on - I hope I'm not biting off more than I can chew, but sometimes I feel like I have to fight to maintain my identity as an artist. Sometimes I feel foolish even calling myself one, but I don't subscribe to the negative, woe-is-me victim role. I believe that when we fall into those self-imposed roles it becomes self-perpetuating. Oh well, in the meantime here's to Spring's (and Spring Break's) speedy arrival!