Saturday, March 26, 2016

pangolin (egg) love!

Yesterday I finished an art piece for a show that Kris and I were asked to participate in at the Franklin Park Arts Center. It's a customized art egg, created to help raise money for the center and its many amazing art-based programs. The FPAC has been a place close to my heart ever since my friend and fellow artist Eric Scott introduced it to me several years ago. It was one of the first places I exhibited my work at, and I still show there on occasion, as I'm always up for a good artistic challenge. The egg itself was a basic, paper mache craft egg that you could purchase at your local arts and crafts store. I decided to give it a layer of gesso, followed by a layer of white acrylic paint. The subject matter, a strange and wonderful endangered animal known as a pangolin, was something I had thought about using for my ceramic bowl, that was shown at the 2015 Alchemical Vessel exhibit at the Joan Hisaoka Healing Arts Gallery. The way the pangolin wraps itself into a ball, much like the more well-known armadillo, seemed to lend itself to the round shape of the bowl. Instead however, I chose to do a rhino with magnolia flowers, which you can find HERE at this post from last year. Fortunately, the pangolin worked out very well in the egg format, and all I used were black, permanent Sharpie markers to draw it with. To learn more about the upcoming show, read the blurb below:

We've hatched a new idea invite you to be a part of the fun! Celebrate the art exhibit "Which Came First? The Chicken or The Egg?" with an event to raise money for the Franklin Park Arts Center visual arts programs. Large eggs decorated by local celebrities and artists will be auctioned off LIVE! Egg-themed refreshments will be served; artists and fans of chickens, egg and artwork are all invited.

Tickets: FREE, Eggs to be sold at auction

Special seating will be reserve for members for the auction event.

Sunday, April 17, 2016 1:00 - 3:00 PM

Friday, March 25, 2016

2016 alchemical vessels illuminate the joan hisaoka healing arts gallery

Kris and I were able to drop into the Joan Hisaoka Healing Arts Gallery/Smith Center for Healing and the Arts earlier in the week. I had missed the opening reception night, but learned the gallery had a record number of attendees, surpassing the 425 mark. I remember attending the 2015 opening reception, the third of this event, and my first time participating, and recalling how packed the place was then. It's good to know that folks in the DC area are so supportive of the arts, and of places and shows like this, and I was so glad to be nominated to participate. Still, it was nice to have some space to freely roam, explore, take photographs, and get a good, close look at the art. While the gallery wasn't packed like the opening nights for this exhibit, I did have the pleasure of meeting some of the wonderful artists who are also exhibiting in the show, including (clockwise from upper right-hand corner) Spencer Dormitzer, Cheryl Edwards, and Adjoa J. Burrowes, who were all gracious enough to let me take a pic of them standing by their amazing work. Kris even managed to get a pic of me posing by my vessel as well (upper left-hand corner)! In the meantime, you can click on the gallery link above for more about the upcoming benefit and fundraiser, as well as for the exhibit's closing reception. I'll make sure to post a lot more photos from the show here at the Go Flying Turtle blog, in the near future, so stay tuned.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

cherry blossom trees at lake anne, reston, va

The cherry blossoms that arrive in the NOVA/MD/DC region never get old for me, and while seeing them in our nation's capital, along the tidal basin is always a treat, it can be taxing dealing with the droves of traffic and visitors to that area each year. This is why I love it when we stumble upon a place that is equal, if not even more enchanting than the DC blossoms. Earlier in the week, Kris and I made a short trip to nearby Reston, VA and in particular, visited the Lake Anne area. Luckily, to our pleasant surprise, the cherry blossoms were in full bloom, colorful and vibrant as ever. I never take the fact that we have these trees growing in our area, for granted, and I even teach lessons to my first, second and third-grade art students based on these trees. In the meantime, HERE is some more fascinating history and information about how these non-native trees came to this part of the United States.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

masterpieces in bloom at the phipps through april 10!

The city of Pittsburgh, PA is full of wonderful surprises, and Kris and I made it a point to explore some of this on my last trip to the area over spring break, while visiting family. Knowing Kris's love of flowers and how it serves as an inspiration for her own art work, I thought it would be a good idea to visit the Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens, located in the beautiful Schenley Park side of town. It also just so happened that their current spring exhibit, called Masterpieces in Bloom, was on display, visually linking the works of major artists from the past, with the spring flowers and plants growing and thriving throughout the Phipps. Kris and I have visited the Botanical Gardens in Washington, DC, and were very impressed, but what we witnessed at the Phipps was something truly special. Despite being a wet, dreary and cold day, this still didn't put a damper on our tour of the gardens, which took roughly two hours to complete. I can only imagine what it will look like when the weather warms up and more flowers begging to bloom outside as well. In the meantime, I highly recommend a trip to this amazing, historic place in the near future. The Masterpieces in Bloom exhibit runs until April 10, 2016.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

2016 alchemical vessel done and dropped off!

My 2016 Alchemical Vessel is finished and finally dropped off to the Smith Center for Healing and the Arts, in Washington, DC. Thirty-six Giclee prints of thirty-six trees, signed and numbered, in a customized cigar box, ready to find a new home and raise some money for a great cause. A giant thanks goes out to Kris, my wife and partner in crime, whose help and guidance made the fruition of this work possible. 

tree 36/36

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

the splotch monsters have landed at old ox

The Splotch Monsters have officially invaded Old Ox Brewery. A big thanks goes out to Jill Evans-Kavaldjian for helping me hang art tonight, and to the Loudoun Arts Council for inviting me to show in this excellent space. Looking forward to the reception on April Fool’s day!

tree 35/36

Sunday, March 6, 2016

thirty-six trees, phase one completed, and 2016 alchemical vessel artist statement

Thirty-six trees drawn in thirty-six days. Here's a sneak peek at some that have not been posted yet here at the Go Flying Turtle blog. I decided to keep the original pieces, which would be worth at least $150.00 a piece, individually. I just couldn't justify giving away nearly five-thousand dollars worth of work for the upcoming benefit show at the Smith Center, and perhaps the only way I'll sell these is altogether, as a set of thirty-six original works. Otherwise, I'm thinking of getting high quality, archival prints made to sell online, at shows, etc, in the near future. I did, however make a giclee print of each piece for the Alchemical Vessel show and benefit, which was expensive, but well worth it. Currently I'm adding the final touches to the vessel, which I'm a little behind on, but thankfully can see the light at the end of the tunnel.

It was good to be required to write an official artist's statement for my alchemical vessel this year, as it was last year as well. Yes, sometimes these things can be irritatingly pretentious, however, most of the time they shed some light on what it was the artist was trying to convey with their work. It's hard to believe that I drew thirty-six various trees over the past thirty-six days. Honestly, it seemed like I just started this yesterday, and I'm both sad and somewhat relieved that it is over, and the work that I produced over this past month-and-a-half has met my own, personal highest standards. In short, I felt I successfully have seen this vision through until the end. With the opening reception at the Smith Center for Healing and the Arts/Joan Hisaoka Healing Arts Gallery right around the corner, I'll post photos of the finished work ASAP, here at the blog.

Title: Thirty-six Views of Trees I've Known

Artist: Steve Loya

Materials: wooden cigar box, black gloss spray paint, one-off signed and numbered archival giclee prints of pen and ink drawings on watercolor paint and wc paper

Artist Statement:

Being in nature, creating art, and experiencing color are just a few of the things I think of as having a healing effect on people. These are also a few of the things I thought about when setting out to work on my Alchemical Vessel. I was also greatly inspired by the work of Katsushika Hokusai, especially his Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji series of prints. These works illustrated Hokusai's love for his surrounding natural environment, with Mount Fuji being the main focal point and spiritual signpost of the series. Taking inspiration from Hokusai's prints, I chose to make thirty-six drawings of trees I've either sketched or photographed over the past decade or so, searching through hundreds of images from as close as northern Virginia, and as far away as Trinidad. I also chose to incorporate a contrast of balancing loose watercolor washes with meticulously drawn renderings of trees, with their endless variety of shapes and forms, and the personalities they seemed to express. The vessel, while left simple and minimal in design, contains thirty-six one-off giclee prints of the original drawings, signed and numbered by the artist.

                                                                                                             -Steve Loya, 2016

tree 33/36

Saturday, March 5, 2016

graphic novel workshop at powhatan school

I had such a great time doing a comics-making workshop at the Powhatan School with Robin Ha and Paul Zdepski, along with forty participants today. Thanks to Tracie Chloel Lane for the invite and hospitality. What an amazing school and group of kids!

Prior to the workshops, Powhatan's librarian Tracie took Robin, Paul and I around for a tour of the school. While it was a somewhat older school, they had a very progressive approach to learning, with a big emphasis on hands-on, creativity-based education. Seeing all the little buildings and all the surrounding nature and trees reminded me of a mini college campus. The fact that the school set aside hundreds of acres of wooded land for learning was pretty amazing in itself. As a private school, the student body was a lot smaller than what I'm typically used to, and on this particular Friday, it was a teacher work day, where faculty can work on grading from home or from the classroom, while the students had a day off. All of us were so impressed by how many kids decided to spend their day off working on drawing, cartooning, comics and developing their own graphic novels. You can tell they really wanted to be there. 

It was great getting to hang out with Paul, Tracie and Robin over a drink and a meal in Winchester, VA afterwards, and it was a very inspiring day, overall. I hope to take some of what I learned at Powhatan and use it at my own school soon!

tree 32/36

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

comics-making workshop this friday at powhatan school library

I was invited to participate in a Graphic Novel workshop at the Powhatan School library this coming Friday, March 4, from 12:30 - 4:30pm. I'll be hosting the workshop along with some other excellent, local comic artists, and from the last I heard, it's filling up pretty fast! Click on the flyer for details or on the link HERE.

tree 29/36