Week Fifty Two

Before and After

Posted in general interest, Home design by sarahbakerhansen on 18 November 2010

I know this is usually an art blog, but I’m awfully excited about our new house and so I figured I’d devote a few posts to “house stuff.” Please excuse the interruption if you find “house stuff” boring, but I kind of cant’ help it. I spend way too much time perusing Design Sponge and my new obsession is its “Before and After” section. I have a couple of pieces in my home – namely a dark stained wood desk and dresser – that I’m itching to transform. How great is this piece of glass transformed with mirrored paint?

I also love the idea of transforming lighting with spray paint.

Once we get settled after the move, I plan to devote some time to my own “Before and After” projects. In the meantime, check out Design*Sponge for some more inspiration.


A different kind of artist

Posted in Fashion, general interest by sarahbakerhansen on 8 August 2010

Last winter, over Christmas, we had a flood in our apartment. Snow burst through the roof of our six-story building and water found its way through the four floors above us and into our apartment; the leak was partially over our closet. It missed a Chanel suit by mere inches; one of my bags, a Bottega Veneta, wasn’t so lucky.

Even though it was in a dust bag and stuffed with paper, dank water-soaked through both sides and into the woven leather and the silk lining. The leather, once buttery soft, became stiff and crusty. The darker portion in the picture above left a distinct water mark on the purse. Even though I knew it was likely ruined, I didn’t have the heart to give it up and it sat around my apartment, in a very sad state, for six months.

I made some calls to local cobblers and none of them wanted to touch it – they said the woven nature of the bag – Bottega’s signature “intrecciato” technique – made dying, cleaning or fixing it in any way basically impossible. I decided to take it to Andy’s Shoe Repair in Omaha and simply show it to the owner in person to see what he thought. I trust this shop with my best shoes and I’ve never been let down, so I figured it was worth a try. While he didn’t have a lot of hope, he said he’d do what he could. He had it for close to three months – partially because he did a number of treatments on it and partially because he misplaced my customer tag inside the bag and didn’t have my phone number.

Long story short, after cleaning and treating my bag, it looks like this.

It’s not entirely perfect – there’s still a few stiff, darker spots, but I’m so thrilled to have it back. If anything, I think the darker spots, the patina of the handle and the deluge this bag survived make it even more special.

Push Gallery’s Cli•mac•ter•ic extended through this weekend

Posted in Art news, Art openings, Interview by sarahbakerhansen on 7 May 2010

If you didn’t catch PUSH Gallery’s first show – an installation by Omaha artists Tim Guthrie and Jamie Burmeister – you still have a chance. The artists are opening the show this Saturday (that’s tomorrow) from 3-5 p.m. for a second round of viewing, then it’ll come down.

The two artists created the installation as part of World Environment Arts Week. Four video projections surround a central area, and a bicycle sits in the middle of the room. As viewers ride the bike, a set of video loops changes in response to the movement. If the viewer stops pedaling, the environment floods. When things get really bad, the buildings catch on fire. Horn honking and turning the handlebars affect what happens in the space.

I checked out the show last weekend – trust me, its memorable – and asked Guthrie and Burmeister if they’d answer a few questions about the piece. They both generously agreed.

Week Fifty Two: Tell us how the idea for this project came about.

Tim: The original idea we came up with was abandoned after we got a good look at Joey’s Gallery (we thought of an outdoor piece which we still might do this summer).Jamie had the idea of using a bicycle as the controlling element and he knew I wanted to do videos.  I think Jamie first thought about having a video where we moved through space (as if riding a bike) and I asked what he thought about having the bike do something different from what a bike would normally do.  I think I had already decided I would recreate the intersection at 18th and Vinton at that point, and I thought we could simply flood the intersection, but the peddling would lower the level of the flood.

W52: How does the piece work?

Tim: Jamie figured out how to have the pedals, brakes and horn trigger interactions.  Jamie is the master…

Jamie: The controls for the piece is done through Isadora, a graphical programming program originally designed for controlling media in performance.  Triggers go through a micro controller that changes the signal to midi data.  The program responds to the midi data.

W52: When viewers honk the bike’s horn, a crazy clown pops up in the horizon. Whose idea was that?

Tim: The first thing I did was set the buildings on fire, then I started creating other videos (storms, snow, warfare) that could be overlaid on the first videos (I put masks and audio in those video files).  The intersection and the water were all created from scratch as a 3D virtual environment, and until I added things like the clown (originally a silly idea I pitched to Jamie because of the sound of the horn) and Godzilla (another silly idea when I started thinking about 18th and Vinton fighting back), most of the other videos were created from scratch using Motion dynamics.

Jamie: I will say that the ideas developed naturally through our correspondence working on the piece individually and in the space.

Tim: Yes. It was a very organic collaboration where we just bounced ideas back and forth. Very balanced progression. Jamie is a fantastic guy to collaborate with. But also, I think it all started with the bike idea. He does the coolest shit, man.

Tugboat Presents: PUSH Gallery is located at 1803 Vinton Street in Omaha.

Tugboat Presents: Push Gallery/outtakes

Posted in Art news, Interview by sarahbakerhansen on 26 March 2010

I wrote a story that ran this week in the Omaha Reader about Joey Lynch’s newest project, Push Gallery, which will have its opening debut this April. Joey and I talked about a lot more than just the first show and the gallery launch during our morning hanging out. Over a few cups of some excellent French press coffee (thanks again, Joey) we talked about the state of Omaha redevelopment projects, ideas about what makes a good art show, the latest projects he’s brewing in his new basement studio and lots of other stuff.

Stay updated on the developments at Push via it’s Facebook fan page, and read more about Lynch below.

Thanks to Marlon A. Wright for providing an outtake from the photo shoot he did during the interview.

Lynch is known around the Omaha and Lincoln art scene for his large-scale screen print works, but lately he hasn’t been creating them as much, instead choosing to focus on working with bands to create merchandise and album covers.
His new studio–in the basement of Push–is where he’s been spending a lot of time lately, working on these band collaborations. He said it’s challenging spending time in the space, which is fluorescent-lit, and he might end up moving his desk space upstairs, where natural light reigns.
He said the communal live-work space he’s in now is working well.
Though he misses the bike rides to and from his live-work spaces, he said now that seems like wasted time.
“To me, it’s just like having a day job,” he said.
He didn’t tie the gallery opening to a certain date.
“I wanted to be in the space and get a feel for it,” he said. “I had to see it. Today (the day in March when we spoke), for the first time, it finally feels like what I wanted.”
Lynch said he learned a lot from the time he spent working at the Bemis Center in 2008: building walls was one thing, but installing and de-installing shows was another.
“One of my favorite times of any art show is when you go in with tools and clean and paint the walls and patch holes,” he said. “It brings the space back to blank. That’s when you really see a space.”
Lynch said he’s got plans for a grand opening of Push gallery this spring. Stay tuned for details.

Photo by Marlon A. Wright of MAW Photography™