Monday, March 30, 2009

Benefit for On Coal River

The Mountains of West VA brought to you by Massey Energy Co.
Photograph by Ken Abbott

On Tuesday March 31st a benefit will be held at The Asheville Brew and View at 77 Coxe Avenue to raise money for the final production stages of the documentary, On Coal River.
I've been lucky enough to see rough cuts and outtakes of the movie and I can assure you that in its entirety On Coal River is a production that will make Asheville proud. It is an engaging documentation of 4 characters as they patiently and tirelessly jump through a myriad of bureaucratic hoops in their struggle against Massey Energy Co.
Shot over a four year period, On Coal River follows the transformation of these four remarkable individuals as they face the challenge of a lifetime, fighting for the survival of their way of life, and the lives of future generations.
Watch the trailer for On Coal River here.

Pierce Edens and The Dirty Work will be performing at the benefit; sneak preview scenes from On Coal River will be shown and there will be a huge raffle of local delights (including a painting by me) There is no cover, but obviously donations are encouraged.
Tuesday March 31st
6:00pm - 9:00 pm
Asheville Brew and View
77 Coxe Avenue
Please come out and show your support for this beautiful and important project.
If you do not live in Asheville and wish to donate to this project, you may do so via the website

Friday, March 27, 2009

Thru You

Video artist/musician Kutiman takes people's home made music videos from You Tube and mashes them up to create new songs. Seeing all the different types of people put together into one video can be very amusing at times. The songs he makes are pretty great too. To learn more about his process and see more videos go to:

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Circus! Circus!!!

The Runaway Circus is back!!!
Join them at Pritchard Park at 12:30 on Sunday March 22 for a parade to the Riverside Studios, where the circus will commence@3:30. I went to one of these circuses a couple of years ago, and I can't impress upon you enough how completely entertaining, enthralling, energetic and awesome the show was. My friend Sayde blew everyone's minds with her glorious trapeze act, and the tumblers, jugglers and musicians were fabulous and funny. I love performances like this that are derived on a shoestring budget, so uber creative measures are taken to achieve the spectacle we have come to expect of circuses. The performers take their art seriously - many of them have even attended circus school. This year's theme is "sunken ship in the frenchbroad river." The event is kid-friendly and does not use animals. Suggested donation is $5, but I encourage you to give generously. They should get a grant for this stuff. For fun pics visit

Friday, March 20, 2009

Photo shows

The fine art photography of Paul M. Jackson is currently on display at Studio Chavarria located on Walnut St. in downtown Asheville. Jackson writes: The show speaks of using existing resources to produce or create something new, reverting to labor over luxury to save energy and produce less waste, & choosing collaboration over competition.These are not my ideas nor are they new but I believe they are worth addressing now, creating an environment to discuss how to incorporate them in our everyday lives.
An artist reception will be held Saturday March 21 7-10pm

A new little gallery called Nook is celebrating their opening tonight (Friday March 20) on the top floor of The Phil Mechanic Building in the River District. My painting studio is located on the same floor as Nook, and I've been watching the owners prepare the space over the last few weeks. They've hung new lights, added molding to the walls, sanded down plaster bumps and repainted everything with a fresh coat of white, so it's all looking very pro. The debut show "Three" is a
collaborative exhibition of contemporary photographic works by Paul McDermott, David McDermott and Michael McDermott. Check out their website for more information

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Refresh your Arts

Painting by Lisa Nance
It's always fun to begin a new season of the year by cleaning your home, dusting off the ceiling fan blades, and hanging new art on the wall. As for me, I am in the process of purchasing a piece by local artist Lisa Nance, and I'm excited to attend the Howard Street Handmade craft show this Saturday to see what new and inexpensive delights await me there. Happy Spring!

Friday, March 13, 2009

Maximum Sorrow

A Magical Place i.

A Magical Place ii.

My first reaction to Kevin Brewersdorf's photography and drawings was, What's so great about these? I kept clicking through the endless images posted on his site and slowly began to get it. What makes this artist's work so compelling to me is his interest in everyday situations and people, and before long I was totally in love with his photos and his entire website. His work also got me thinking that in this cyber era a new type of folk artist is emerging.

Bright Green Workers

On further investigation I found out that Brewersdorf has outlined a spiritual practice of embracing mediocrity, which he calls Maximum Sorrow. For his show Monuments to the INFOSpirit he says: The Marketplace is empty of everything but products; you are the Product, and therefore contribute to the market; Info is the free-flowing energy generated by your production and consumption. The INFOspirit, which encompasses all of these concepts, is both the state between the knowable and unknown, and mediocrity in its purist form.

Kevin Brewersdorf has also constructed a philosophy of "corporate spiritualism." His brand Maximum Sorrow is an exaggeration of the internet artist - the person looking to do it all via the web. Whether a net artist brands them self with a sparse list of links on a humble white field or with loud layers of noise and color or with contrived logos in a bland grid, they are constructing their own web persona for all to see...I think these persona empires are the great artworks of our time, and they inspire me to keep building my own brand.
Check out this interview for more. I find it all very interesting and oddly validating.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

The Arbitrary Art Grant

When I lived in Seattle I witnessed the inception of an innovative arts organization called Vital 5 Productions which provided a forum for artists that lacked pretension and boasted coolness and alternative ways of enjoying art. My personal favorite show back in the early days was The Overdrawn Show where any person was invited to donate artwork and any person was invited to take home a donated art piece provided they could produce an overdraft statement from their bank. The notion that everyone is an artist has always been integral to the mission of Vital 5 Productions, and through projects like Artists for a Work Free America the group challenges existing notions of high art and the free market economy.

Vital 5's most recent project, The Arbitrary Art Grant has me really excited. The submission process is easy, there is no fee to apply, and anyone can enter as long as they have access to a camera and the Internet. Simply be resourceful and creative and you may arbitrarily win $500. Even if you don't win the money it's neat to participate in something on this grand scale.

Here's what Greg Lundgren, founder of Vital 5 Productions writes:
This is open to any one who can get their ass into a grocery store with a camera. $500.00 will be awarded to one person who builds a sculpture inside of a steel grocery cart, created only from the stores inventory. Email us a picture of your sculpture on or before May 15th, 2009, and on May 30th we will arbitrarily pick a winner and give them $500.00. All entries will be documented and exhibited at this year's Bumbershoot Festival in Seattle, but this grant is open to all people in all countries. Please feel free to forward this to other people- the more the merrier. Good luck, and stay tuned for future grants in Music, Dance, Writing and a variety of other mediums.
send entries to