Wednesday, May 30, 2012

AAA (At Artomatic Again!)

Saturday was my last volunteer shift at Artomatic and this time I was assigned to looking after the donation box on Floor 11, the top of the building so it got pretty busy as most folks started here and then worked their way down.
It was another fun session, again pleased to greet plenty of people that I knew and meet lots of new folks too. One guy hooked me in to believing that there was actually a workshop for Turnip Twaddling. Well, there's so much funky and fun impromptu stuff going on here that for me it was easy to swallow. The shift went quickly, finishing with the best brownie I've ever tasted which came from the cafe downstairs. We had a little drama early on when someone came up to me reporting that a friend of his had had her art vandalized. I reported it immediately and discovered that this was actually the 3rd time the poor lady had been victimized.
She had a tiny room in which she displayed baby portraits with a description about the purity of babies and their first sensory experiences. She'd covered half the floor with baby powder which stank out that section and some bright spark had gone in and written 'cocaine' in the white powder. Pretty immature, and they'd done this three times. I met the artist when she came to repair the room and I think she may be dismantling early. I was itching to enquire what the significance of the crocheted circle and the plastic white soldiers were but thought better of it since she was upset. Wish I had asked now as it really plays on my mind...
As soon as I finished my shift I bought a beer and started walking some of the floors I'd not been to. Here are some of my favorite exhibits.
 Loved these vivid colors and texture.
 A mosaic class was taking place and the finished pieces will be placed around DC.
I loved these lamps. About 20 years ago I had a period where I painted many of my light bulbs to create these same effects on walls and ceilings. I'd completely forgotten about it until I saw these. And so now I'm looking at one of the lamps in the lounge. Hmmm...
An interesting artist who created pieces incorporating guitar strings.
 Another artist influenced by Alice, this time in a bag made from a book.

T-shirts along with other items in the Merch Shop, all printed by Emblemax!
Another wacky exhibit but I happily obliged and vacuumed the carpet in my Artomatic apron while others took photos.
A WTF exhibit. No idea of its meaning.
These 4 were my favorites of the day with Johnny nudging his way to the front.
There are a couple of floors in the building that have no exhibits and have instead been opened to the public which can do what they like on the walls with whatever they want to bring in. It's only just kicked off so I only managed to find a couple of clever pieces and one keen artist was happy to have his photo taken. I'll post more as the walls develop.
A couple more pieces that I liked and then I saw these wonderful outfits. I would love the dress. And so I left my last shift with tired feet but looking forward to my next visit as I still haven't seen all the floors. Viva Artomatic!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Artomatic Live!

On Saturday morning I drove down to Crystal City and, woo hoo!, found free parking close to Artomatic. The area was dead with barely a soul to be seen and it was strange to see the exhibition area so quiet when it's usually hopping.
This was my second shift working at Artomatic and I was pleased to see that Huggy and Molly were there also. Molly and I worked together greeting everyone and issuing wristbands as they entered the show.
Green for those wishing to partake in beverages from the bars and white for those who didn't or couldn't. These were Saturday's colors, Friday night drinkers had worn orange bands, and quite a few turned up today proudly sporting yesterday's bands like trophies.
It was a long shift spent standing the whole time as I greeted people coming to the show but it was fun seeing so many keen and interested folks. There was a fun vibrant atmosphere that wrapped everyone who entered in a welcoming hug and I couldn't believe how many bracelets I stuck around peoples' wrists. The time went quickly until the last hour when I realized that I'd been happily telling guests about all the bars for hours, and it was actually about time that I propped up one myself. Soon enough the shift ended and I headed up first to level 9 to check my poster was still in place and sneakily peaked into my room to check that the lights were on at my wall. I got a kick out of seeing a couple of people studying my wall, gave them a big smile and then rushed to level 10 where Emily, Melissa and Kasia had just started their shift at one of the bars.

Huggy and Richard soon turned up and the three of us went and had a quick look around a couple of the floors. Molly's 3D display was of televisions and a script on the wall which I couldn't make head or tail of. I have no idea of what it all meant but I admired her guts to be 'out there' and loved all the vibrant colors. Artomatic is wonderful in that all art is accepted, whether it makes sense or not. It's amazing to look at with the variety of concepts absolutely boggling your mind. Maybe it's a good thing not to try and make sense of it all but merely to accept. Very very cool.
The artwork above is of Obama by an artist that Lewis admires but I couldn't look at it for too long. I loved it up very close as his brushwork and textures are wonderful, making you want to touch, but standing back to look at a whole wall of these images actually scared me a little.
This wall caught my attention immediately as it had insects made of various bits and pieces which immediately made me think of Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll. Shame on you if you haven't read it. It wasn't until I was processing my photos and noticed the artist had chosen the name of Had Matter. So I was right about the influence.
Of course we had to check out the Peeps Dioramas which were amazing. My favorite were Peepston Abbey (Downton Abbey) and Peepsville (Farmville from FaceBook). Richard and I had our own Peeps Portrait.
Out of all of my friend's displays I have to say the winner for me was Jason. Dear Jason who is always late for everything and rarely organized blew me away with his room of light sculptures made from computer parts and bits and pieces he's had lying around. I'd looked at his room a week ago and silently wondered if he would be ready as his room was a mess with even some attempts at roller painting the floor. I'd been dismayed thinking he wouldn't get ready in time. But this evening his room at the end of a corridor beckoned invitingly, arousing our curiosity at what those soft lights could be part of. His room was dark and the sculptures, on the wall and free standing, gave off a cozy aura. And I was doubly impressed when I crouched down and realized that he'd added glitter to the floor. Nice job Jason!
I also adored this wall. Titled 'When Kadinsky and Pollack met for a Beer', it was a paint eruption with layers built up offering thick textures and vivid colors. Even the paint on the floor just added to this fabulous piece which was an excellent representation of just what would have transpired had these two artists collaborated while throwing back a few friendly beers. Yet I was a little saddened to think that this was a piece of art that wouldn't go home with its creator when the show finished. Not quite sure why Huggy was listening to Richard's heart but hey, anything goes in this place!
I was pleased to see this artist back again, loved the iPhone art frames.
We got back to the bar and I had to put my poor feet up for a few seconds as everyone got fresh beers. We were close to one of the music stages and I noticed that both the bar and the stage were made from the doors we'd been lugging around on my first work shift. I also noticed that the guy on stage with what looked like a bass was someone I'd met on that first shift. He'd explained at the time that he played 'experimental music' and had handed me a card which I've now misplaced and so don't remember his name but I recorded him for a minute or so.
Some witty jokester had already labeled one of the drinking fountains.
I managed to walk around for a short time after with some friends of Richard's, then we went out to grab a burger. This car sporting its knitted 'jacket' was parked outside Artomatic. Again, how cool, cool ,cool. I just love arty people, and as I walked back to Stuart at the end of the evening I realized what an amazing environment this show creates, bringing people together, creating new friendships and slapping smiles onto everybody's faces. It's all about the art.