Studio Interview

November 8, 2015

I'm looking pensive in this morning's studio interview with Essentials Studio. The wonderful and talented Fabian and Steven made me look and sound good while I talked about my experience with Artist Lab with Mark Anthony Martínez.

in my home studio

photo credit: Mark Anthony Martínez

The interview is part of the documentation of our journey as residents through the engagement of Artist Lab, and the commitment to its practice and requirements. It is sort of like looking back on who you were when you began and identifying what your successes are today. We are each asked to give a piece of advice to incoming Artist Lab residents, too, and mine is to relish every moment, but to be ready to let your previous notions about yoursef and your work be challenged, becasue in that challenge you will find growth.

Artist Lab trip to New York

October 12, 2015

The amazing residency that I am a part of here in San Antonio called Artist Lab recently sent all its residents on a 5 day trip to New York City at the beginning of the fall season.

Fernando Andrade, Nicole Geary, Daniela Riojas, Kim Bishop, Luis Valderas

photo credit: Mark Anthony Martínez

We began by visiting the studio of Diogenes Ballester in Spanish Harlem, and then attending his show opening in Chelsea. The day was full of welcoming attitudes and open doors. We talked about Diogenes' work and saw his concepts developing in his studio. His show was a beautiful amalgamation of painting and drawing works, and was at the same building as many other galleries. I left early to take off to Central Booking for another show opening, and met up with the fabulous lady who runs it, Maddy Rosenberg. To finally see the spaces that I read about and know of from various shows was exciting.

finally at Central Booking!

On Friday we went to Chelsea and saw the new Whitney. The building itself is situated in a great location; I enjoyed the playful airiness of it and its nearness to The High Line. The collection is wonderful and the prints on display were very topical - but that's the great joy of printmaking. Prints are always on the pulse of society. After several hours in the Whitney, we noshed on a delicious lunch together of pizza and beer, and then continued on to some great Chelsea galleries. As if that wasn't enough, we ended our day with the free Friday evening at the MoMA. So much art in only one day... by the end of it I was saturated.

Abel Barroso at Robert Miller Gallery

On Saturday morning, we all went out for a casual walk in Central Park, where Fernando and I collected rocks and sticks that related to our personal work. It was a pleasant morning, and a great opportunity to take some time off from the New York hustle. Later, we all met up at MoMA PS1 for the New York Art Book Fair. There were rooms and rooms filled with artists, publishers, and small press outfits. Some zines, some printmaking brothers and sisters, and some good displays of print media. At the end of the fair, we had another joint dinner, where the beer flowed and the art talk was plentiful. It was nice to relax with my resident buddies.

my haul from the NYABF

Sunday was a big day, because we had several galleries left to visit, and we tried to hit them all. We began at the Frick, an old favorite, and saw some of the Old Masters. We journeyed next to SoHo for lunch (because the Drawing Center was closed for installation!), and then down to Brooklyn to see the amazing A.I.R. Gallery in the DUMBO neighborhood. The next stop was the Brooklyn Museum, which has been a top destination of mine since learning that is where "The Dinner Party" is housed. It's an amazing sight to see in person, and I have no words to express how it makes me feel to see it.

Judy Chicago's "The Dinner Party"

Before leaving on Sunday, we had the chance to meet with The Surdna Foundation, who supports our community-based initiative and wanted to know about our progress. I am glad to have taken part in this trip which provided the chance to see galleries, museums, and visit studios that sit at the center of the art world. Our place in San Antonio is growing, and we want to make strides that bring us in league with bigger communities and give us the knowledge and expertise that these kinds of opportunities can offer us.


To read about my fellow resident Luis Valderas' journey, you can visit his blog entry on our NYC trip and see his photos, too.

SparkBox Studio Residency

September 2, 2015

A few weeks ago, I returned home from a wonderful residency in Picton, Ontario at Spark Box Studio, a lovely print and studio space on a farmhouse in Prince Edward County. It is the home and workspace of artists Kyle Topping and Chrissy Poitras, whose spirit and hospitality make the place welcoming and full of possibility as soon as you arrive. Once I dropped my bags I started drawing, but I really yearned to find out more by walking.

glacial formations in Prince Edward County

On Tuesday morning, I took a four mile walk to pick rocks and draw from at a small hill near town, one that I had seen on the brief drive the evening before. The weather was gorgeous and felt as welcoming as Kyle and Chrissy's farmhouse. What I enjoyed about the walk was the chance to be alone with my thoughts: the quiet country road had very little traffic, and no one noticed if I stopped to stare for a long while at wildflowers or granite pebbles, or if I leaned against a tree to take in the sight of a well-aged barn. (For example, just stopping to stare at a hummingbird in a park in San Antonio - a moment so fleeting that it caught my breath - I was asked by passersby if I was alright, as if to question why I wasn't walking.)

When I arrived at the hill, it was steep and seemed to be comprised of glacial till. I climbed the hill, not as adeptly as I'd like, but made my way through brush and wild grapes to find a place to sit and draw. There were rocks of all kinds in the hill, from pebble to boulder size, comprised of limestone, granite, and some bits of conglomerate. I figured this was a drumlinoid, but there was no way for me to be certain. I liked the guesswork and the digging - the questioning and the drawing are part of why I make the work I make. I feel more connected to the earth when I am curious about it.

work table at SparkBox Studio

I found several fossiliferous limestones in a field on the walk home. I began sketching immediately, centering on this little hill and the marine creatures that once inhabited the place that I spent all morning walking around on my two legs. I moved on to making a few watercolors, then went into the print studio with a renewed sense of color and purpose.

rolling out color and templates in the printshop

In the short time I was at Spark Box, I created a series of monotypes that reflect an intimacy with that initial foray into walking in Prince Edward County and a reverence to the local rocks that I connected to in my exploration. Though I went on several other forays, including a trip to Lake Ontario, this first walk set the tone for the work. These monotypes are a series of prints that are mostly in beginning stages to take shape into other works; some are in a final form and require no other work.

a few final pieces

Prints are wonderful in that they can remain at once an effecient means of communicating an idea, or take shape into books, works on paper, mixed media, or constituent parts of other artworks like sculpture or painting. I am incredibly happy with the results and look forward to sharing more of these Spark Box prints as they become finalized.

Finishing Fossils & Whispers

August 3, 2015

translucent Gampi-shi over printed images on Rives

On Friday, Cat and I finished our book edition, Fossils & Whispers. It is an edition of 20 small, 3.5 x 5 inch artists books, printed and typed on Rives Lightweight and Gampi-shi. There is still some small work to do in order to get the book in the final editioned state, so we will release the book when that work is finished. I currently have one book that I can use for teaching and showing to students and interested collectors. I am really excited about this project and will definitely write about the process in a longer post.

the center spread of Fossils & Whispers

After these past two weeks of intese work, it was nice to spend this weekend relaxing and catching up on some rest. I have really enjoyed slowing down and appreciating the effort that we sustained in order to create Fossils & Whispers, and am already pumped to make another artist's book soon.

Book Arts Residency Update

July 26, 2015

After a full week in the studio, Cat Snapp and I are well on our way to finishing the printing of our book pages. The next part of our efforts will include checking all pages for accuracy and quality, making sure that anything I hand-typed is correct and lines up as it should with its corresponding page. After this, we will begin to build the book block by folding and sewing our pages together in the correct order, then trimming off the excess edges.

After this we will glue in the body of the book to its front and back cover, including end sheets. This will be a long process as we will have to wait for glue to dry and will have to press the books with weights to secure and ensure the craft of the process. I am excited to see it all come together and can't wait to hold it in my hands.

checking the mockup against a stack of prints before typing the last line of text

Today in the studio, I will be typing the colophon. Thirty-five times. I think I'll need to eat a good breakfast.
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