Sunday, February 5, 2012


Merican-Tastic! is really the next thing on my exhibition plate (that I am aware of).  It will run August and September of 2012 at the Bucktown Gallery here in Davenport.  Background: This past Summer I was a lead-artist at Quad City Arts on one of their 3 mural projects.  One day, while I was walking from the mural site to the office, I was thinking about suggesting a show to MidCoast Fine Arts for their CFE (Calls For Entry) and I also thought it would be cool to do some kind of 'painting show' with Heidi Hernandez (an artist with whom I had collaborated on the EX-CH-AN-GE show back in 2008 and whom I hadn't seen in at least 8 or 9 months since I had just returned to the Quad Cities from a one-year teaching gig in Missouri).  By the absolute dumbest of dumb-luck, I ran into Heidi as I was heading into Quad City Arts, and she was walking out.

I am not the most perceptive chap in the world, but even I realized that the coincidence was too good to ignore, so I told Heidi about the show idea I had been contemplating for the last three blocks right then and there.  She was totally receptive to the idea.  So I wrote up the proposal, submitted it, and, POW! we got accepted.

One of the many cool things of working with Heidi (here's her website if you are ready for a sucker-punch to your brain: ) is that we had worked on several collaborative pieces for the EX-CH-AN-GE show and I kinda had a hankerin' to do some more. (Here is a link to both PLAY and EX-CH-AN-GE:  So, Although Heidi and I will each be creating our own separate bodies of work, we have also decided to swap a handful of pieces as well.  She will finish 4 or 5 pieces I start, and I will finish 4 or 5 of her pieces.  It is really a treat to work with artists that you trust with your work.  They usually take your pieces in a visual and conceptual direction you wouldn't think to do, which opens up 'doors' for you when you consider developing future pieces.

Here is a sneak peek at a couple of potential 'swap pieces' I have for Heidi.  I actually have two mandatory pieces for her (I am totally confident she will run with those) which I will share in an upcoming post.  But I have 9 potential trades, and she is only taking 4 or 5 pieces, so some poor pieces are gonna have to lump it and just be completed by me.

Here is one of the nine pieces called 'Cool Fools Dool Gools 4 Jools' (please note: Heidi is 100% free to change any title she wants on a piece she completes).

The other piece is currently called 'Stuntman' which has a mask figure with an outstretched arm holding flowers and one of my stitched wound motifs in the lower right-hand corner.

Finally, here is one of the pieces we worked on for EX-CH-AN-GE back in 2008.  It was called 'Mad Scientist' and it was inspired by a story Heidi told me about one of her teaching assignments for her students (she teaches art to elementary school children in addition to regularly producing awesome quasi-nostalgic/Pop-culture canvases).  She gave them an assignment that started off with 'BLANK is an honorable profession because of BLANK'.  With the 1st BLANK being a type of profession, and the 2nd BLANK being the reasoning/justification.  Needless to say, there were alot of firefighters, and police officers and things like that, but Heidi had one student who had said "A Mad Scientist is an honorable profession because they are awesome!' (with a sizable amount of gore on the piece to drive home how awesome they truly are).

Anytime a kid has both: a mad scientist, and excessive gore on their homework, you know it warms my heart just a touch.  So forward the hands of time a wee bit, and you get this piece:

I gave Heidi the canvas with just the carved skulls(on the right), the 'tummy-tuck' stitching, and the carved frame.  Heidi did the rest...I added a couple more reasons why a mad scientist might be honorable to make it a proper multiple choice question.

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