Friday, December 9, 2011

I sure do love christmas. I can't wait to go home and decorate the house with my mama.
(pictures found here)


This is the majority of work I did for introduction to metals this semester. I had a lot of fun in the class and I wish making this kind of work didn't need so many specialty materials and studio equipment, I would love to be able to make it at home.

Monday, December 5, 2011


This is another rather large work study project finally completed. It is located in Frasier at the Youth Visions Community Center for their new garden. We ended up combining our designs, the additions that are mine are the patterns and the font.

I haven't been this excited about a painter in a while

Steve Kim

Wednesday, November 16, 2011


I helped Bill Price out with an enameling workshop, so I got to learn, too. It is so easy and I love it. I wish I had time to do more for the christmas bazaar, but here are some necklaces I made. Sorry for the shoddy picture quality. I've done some fun stuff in metals, I just haven't photographed it yet, I'll make sure to get on that.


This past weekend the ONLY thing I did was slave away on this monstrosity of a gingerbread house. At least it came out pretty awesome. Janie and Biddie were on the team, too they just aren't in the picture.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Wednesday, November 9, 2011


Watch the documentary on Gary Schott's website NOW!!! please please please. so cute, so clever, so well made. I can pretty much guarantee that you will like it.


So I checked out Joe Kievitt's resume to see what galleries he has shown at, since I love his work, and found this great one in Boston. There is an amazing group of artists represented, it is the Ellen Miller Gallery, check it out.

Silly Me

So this summer while I was on my fabulously fun fellowship across the pond, I attended a two day course at the Royal School of Needlework in London. The school is actually in Hampton Court Palace (so cool) and they offer a certificate and diploma program, as well as a degree program now. I can't believe I forgot that after my class I had decided pursuing embroidery as a career could be super duper great. They teach very specific and historical methods, meaning I would have a highly specialized skill not possessed by most people. I am going to email and ask some questions about careers, but the RSN is sometimes commissioned by the royal family, and I'm sure museums etc. Maybe I could work on historically accurate costumes, or repairing things for a museum. Also I would get to live in London for a bit, the program is really short (less than a year.) This kind of career would be great, too since it wouldn't suck away too much of my creativity and energy for paintings and the like.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

More Lester

For my second interview, I decided to talk to Lester Merriweather again. Because both Amanda and I approached him, Lester suggested we meet in person at a coffee shop. I wasn’t sure if I should have pre-prepared questions, so I spent a couple days thinking about the subjects I would want to discuss, as I figured it would be casual and could be more of a discussion rather than an interview since he seemed so laid back. Amanda typed up questions, so it was a good balance whenever one of us was thinking or writing, the other would ask a question.

I was mainly interested in why he chose to stay in Memphis and what he thinks about Memphis in the realm of the art world. Lester is from Memphis, went away for undergrad and then returned and ultimately stayed in order to stay closely connected with his family. I was glad to hear he shared my opinion of New York. A lot of artists see living in New York as the ultimate goal, but it is unnecessary. It is great to visit, Lester does often, but there is no need to pay exorbitant rent for a tiny apartment in a city that has far more artists than the galleries can accommodate. Lester said that Memphis is great because it is affordable, even to get a separate studio space, and the art community is fairly small so it is easy to get acquainted. There is a shortage of galleries and good spaces to show, however, and so he mainly shows out of town.

I also asked how exactly he stays in contact with the people he meets at shows or residencies. I didn’t know if this meant personal emails or what, but Lester said he mainly sends out show announcements. He finds physically mailing show cards works better since it is more tangible and people sift through email quickly. Sending out fliers shows your development and reminds them of you and your art. We also discussed how he has changed mediums and Lester said that it is important to not just make something beautiful, you need to engage the viewer and always be developing your work. So when you send out those fliers people should be excited to see your new work.

I was a bit nervous about meeting in person, I though I might be awkward or something, but having Amanda there in the same situation was helpful, and Lester isn’t that intimidating. I will definitely try to do more in-person talks in the future.

More updates

So pieces like this have been my main focus this semester. They are very time consuming as I first have to cut out and sew the fabric together in a composition, then I gesso only the areas I want to paint. I then embroider and paint, and when it is extra dry I stretch them. I know my BFA is a subject everyone loves to talk about, so if you've been waiting diligently to hear what I'm doing, it's pretty much this. One of these will probably make an appearance with some other newer and slightly more abstract ones.

Videos and Derrick

Last Thursday night I attended the art opening that coincided with Indie Memphis at Playhouse on the Square. There were mainly video pieces, some were projected a block down the road onto the windows of the empty Yosemite Sam’s building and there were others in one of the ballet studios. I really liked the videos projected on the abandoned building; Michael Perry (Peery?) also did a sound piece in the upper floor with the windows open so you could see him playing. He was kind of creepy looking up there all alone, but it was a good addition and made it more enjoyable for the viewer who had to stand in the chilling wind to watch. My main qualm with the videos outside was that the location was a bit awkward for getting foot traffic actually wanting to view the piece. The videos were all very different, and good from what I could tell, though I found it hard to concentrate while I was so cold. The videos inside were definitely more comfortable to view, there were strange chairs made of tires and Adam Farmer had some tunes playing. I find that I’m not a huge fan of video work in general (sorry Dwayne) I want them to move linearly because it is a video, but they rarely do, or I just tire of it before the film is over because I spy something across the room that I would rather look at. Pitiful, I know, but I surely can’t be the only one like this. The 2D work that was outside the ballet studio I found to be rather awkward. I don’t know how it was chosen, but there were only a few pieces and they weren’t thematically related in any way. I also just didn’t find them to be of the same caliber of the video work.

Derrick Dent, a talented alum, also has a small show up at Caritas Village. I am very familiar with his work having pretty much lived with him for a year, and I always love seeing his process and finished work. He has a couple sketchbooks up which put me to shame, and a number of illustration projects, which he shows the start to finish process of. I think it is up for a month, go by and take a look, and check out his blog, too.

Monday, November 7, 2011


While at the same time working on my quilted/painted/embroidered pieces, I've been doing these small oil paintings. When I need a break I do these, I can work quickly and really play with paint and color. They're super duper fun.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Elizabeth Alley interview

Evan Leggoe-First off, where do you get your reference photos, are they from a specific period in your life?

Elizabeth Alley- Some of the photos are from my life, some are of family members, and some are found photos. But they all have sort of the same feeling, even the found photos. I think most of the ones from my own life are from childhood.

EL- And have you ever made multiple works from the same picture to see if comes out differently?

EA- Yes, I often use the same photo again and again.

EL- I work with a similar concept, actually, and I find it rather exciting to see how I can adjust the same image multiple ways. How do you decide which details to omit, or where to crop?

EA- Deciding how to crop an image really depends on the picture and the painting. Sometimes I might want to include certain body language, and sometimes I might want to crop out interaction and just focus on an individual. I started working that way because I wanted to work from photographs but I take terrible photos, so I would crop them down to a good composition, and it evolved from there.

EL- I also have some questions more related to the business or career side of art. Do you support yourself by selling your art or do you have a "day job"?

EA- I have a day job. (I'm answering your email from there now! Don't tell!) I always have had one.

EL- Either way, do you set aside specific time to work on your art, or do you work when the mood strikes?

EA- I set aside specific time to work on my art. When I first got out of school, I pretty much worked in my studio most nights and most weekends. I now dedicate specific nights and weekend time. Every Tuesday night is Studio Night - I go straight to my studio (it's in my house) and work til I go to bed without stopping to do laundry or to watch TV, etc, and my husband usually fixes my dinner. If I have a big project coming up, I'll work other weeknights as well, but I find that having a big chunk of uninterrupted time works best for me. I also work in the studio a lot on weekends, for at least a few hours on one or both days.

EA- I also tend to make deadlines for myself by scheduling shows, and that helps me to stay focused in the studio. I'm just the kind of person who needs a deadline. My work and focus seem to intensify as the deadline approaches.

EL- How do you think you kind of broke in to the art world? By applying to exhibitions, or good connections?

EA- Yes to both of those - applying to exhibits and good connections - but additionally, I feel like I made my own opportunites. I actively looked for places to show my art, including alternative spaces, such as a short-lived studio/gallery that I can't even remember the name of, Theater Memphis, the Jewish Community Center, etc. I made good connections through my job at UrbanArt, and basically made a point of meeting anybody who might have a connection to a space where I could show my work.

EL- How did you gain gallery representation? Did you submit to them, or were you approached?

EA- I originally gained gallery representation at Perry Nicole Fine Art (which no longer exists) through connections I had made through other artists. I had started a critique group in 1999 or 2000 - 5 or so artists who were out of school and wanting some feedback on our art. One of them had a connection with Perry Nicole and got us a show there (we also had a show together at Marshall Arts). After that show at Perry Nicole, I went to the owners and told them I wanted them to represent me and I wanted to have a show there, and they said okay! (Not every one of that type of ask has ended successfully, though.)

EA- Since Perry Nicole closed, I'm now showing some work at Harrington Brown Gallery. I was approached by them. I'm not fully committed to that gallery, as I've found I really prefer to make my own opportunities for showing my work, such as showing at places like Flicker Street Studio.

EL- How do you feel about the art world and art market in Memphis?

EA- I love the art community in Memphis. We're really supportive of each other - artists from other communities comment on the uniqueness of that. We're also fun - Friday night openings are like weekly built-in parties.

EA- The art market in Memphis has been a little bad for the past few years. I hope it picks up. I've used the opportunity to explore what kind of work I want to make for myself, without worrying about the saleability of it. I really like working that way, and have spent the last year making drawings, tiny paintings, and an illustrated story in addition to the types of paintings I usually make.

EL- Feel free to answer whatever you like and add anything extra if you want.

EA- I'm also teaching classes and workshops at Flicker Street Studio, and I started a group called Memphis Urban Sketchers - we go to places around town and sketch for a few hours once a month.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011


I assumed this was supposed to be a short statement rather than a super in-depth life story, so it is pretty short.

I grew up in Tallahassee, Florida with my single mother. She has always fostered my creativity; we always had an art room in our house in which I could do anything I wanted. My mother also taught me to sew, as she is a costume designer. I had a childhood filled with friends and parties. I was free to roam as I wished, whether in a neighborhood or nature, depending on where we were living. I have always enjoyed Florida and the accessibility of nature, we often went on camping trips or day trips to the beach, or canoeing on a river, and I still do. There was never really another interest I was as enthusiastic about as art, and so it was natural that I decided to study art in College. Moving to Memphis was disconcerting for me, I was away from my friends and the landscape I was accustomed to. My art began to focus on my longing for home, though I have now grown to like Memphis.


In the next year or so I would like to gain experience outside of the academic setting. Ideally this would mean getting a residency, but if not, than I will try to find a job, preferably to do with something I am interested in. Maybe in a local handmade goods shop or a museum, and/or interning.

Within the next 2 years I want to choose and attend a graduate school. First I will need to decide what I want to go for. If I want to teach college, that would mean continuing in fine art, if I want to teach high school, I would need to go for teaching, and if I want a museum job that would be a different program.

After or even during grad school, so potentially in the next 3-6 years I want to have a career. This will probably be dictated by whatever I decide to pursue in school, or I guess whatever I find. Another career possibility I m interested in is having a small business selling handmade craft and art, this would be something I would probably need to partner with someone, or another business to be feasible.

In the next 5ish years I would like to try living out of the country, or at least to travel more, maybe I will look for a grad school out of country.

About a year or two after I am done with grad school I would like to have found a place to settle down, before that though, I would like to live in multiple places and possibly explore the US more to figure out where I would want to live.

I realize that some of these might overlap, and thus my timeline might not be realistic but I think I can accomplish all of these if I can just make my mind about what I want.

Carrie Mae Weems

I attended Carrie Mae Weems’ lecture at MCA this week. I think it is funny how many more people go to certain lectures just because the person is supposedly more famous. Anyways, it was nice to see a good turn out. I hadn’t seen much of Weems’ work previously except the Snow White piece we saw in Art History, and then what was shown on the Art 21 video. She is a passionate speaker, she has one of those voices that draws you in and makes it seem like she truly means everything she says. Her work is similar, though I wish she had shown more. Weems spent a lot of time on her project against violence in her hometown. I didn’t find it that exciting because I feel that many cities and/or neighborhood groups have done extremely similar things, this time it is just an artist doing it. And the signs didn’t look any different than similar ones I’ve seen in terms of aesthetics, and the message was similar, too. Getting involved in the community is great, but I didn’t think it should be in the same category as her other works which show much more ingenuity. I wish she had talked more about her ideologies and how she represents them in her art. They are fairly obvious but I would have liked to hear her speak about them, and how she came to these conclusions and how she does research. Maybe because she is pretty well known and has done a lot of lectures she assumes we already knew all about it. Hopefully that wasn’t the case since that would be rather self-important. Anyways, it was a decent lecture, but not the best. And I couldn’t believe only one question was asked! My question would have needed a whole other lecture.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Lester Merriweather

Lester Merriweather might have been my favorite speaker so far (except maybe Hamlett Dobbins.) He didn’t have a power point, which made it more casual, but it wasn’t like he was floundering for things to say. He was well spoken and gave good advice and anecdotes, though it would have been nice to see examples of his work. Having him sit and not have a presentation made it easier to ask questions, which I think we (hopefully) asked more of this time.

Lester was also a good speaker to have because his history is closely related with ours being that he went to school at MCA, and we can relate to the experiences he had and how he used them to his benefit. I think it was really helpful to hear how hard he had to try, and re-try to get opportunities. Knowing that not all successful people are successful right off the bat restores my confidence. I also really appreciated how honest Lester was about using his contacts to his benefit, and how he keep up with all the people in the art world he meets, and because of that he gives other people opportunities while furthering his career at U of M and as an artist. I did find it rather amusing that he found us on facebook, but I certainly don’t mind. Generally Lester seemed really approachable and honest, which I find really helpful in terms of contacting him again if I decide to do so.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Mira Schor

I found these essays by Mira Schor interesting to read. I find them very relevant to me, being that I am in art school, especially “On Failure and Anonymity.” It did not however crush my dreams, I have realized the truths of being an artist for a while now, though she explains it so well. I think this essay should be passed out in foundations classes. There is definitely a false pretense of romanticism surrounding the artist. Success is not likely, at least not in the sense of notoriety or wealth. I also found it interesting that she said there will always be failure, no matter if you make money or not, because “the relationship between artist and artwork is one of intimacy with the self, and intimacy is truly terrifying and can never be fully achieved.” I think Schor is very intuitive in this statement, art reflects the person who made it and the artist is constantly fighting himself/herself to make something that they are personally satisfied with, but that will also be received by the public. She also talks of the “anonymous life of the studio” of which I can relate to, it is thrilling to work in one’s studio and forget all else but the art you are creating.

As for the other article, “Authority and Learning” I also found it a good read that got me thinking about the role of the teacher and the possible gender disparities that happen everywhere in society, including in the art world. I do not know that the issues of male dominance and females giving in to stereotype happens quite as much at MCA as it apparently did at CalArts, especially between teachers and students. I do know that individuals still prescribe to culturally constructed gender roles and that it can hurt their artwork, and their person. We as artists need to consider ourselves wholly, and not reflect a falsely created personality. Sexuality, especially, should not be a tool used to garner more success. I believe that if you work reflects so called feminine qualities that it should be because you want it to, not just because you are a woman.

I find Mira Schor to be very thoughtful writer; I would love to experience such an empowered female teacher. She brings up issues that are often times skirted around at art school and she is upfront about the truths while still giving her argument thought and purpose.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

This weather is making me feel droopy. So here are some cute things to combat the grayness.

Tracy Lauritzen Wright

I found Tracy Lauritzen Wright’s lecture very helpful as I have been thinking about Museums as a possible place to find a career. I wasn’t sure how you get into museum jobs, and she shared that there is a museum studies program but that curators often have a doctorate in something like art history. I wish I had thought about these kinds of jobs earlier, maybe I could go to grad school or find an internship that can get me into the field. Tracy got into museum work through an internship she obtained because of her German language skills. It sees that internships are the way to get jobs, so I should get on that.

Tracy was a good talker, nice and speedy. I was glad she shared detail about how her life developed, in terms of the random job at the German museum, to her time in Hungary, to the failed attempt at living in New Mexico. Her experiences seemed more realistic to what most of us will experience. She also shared how hard she tried to get the job at the Civil Rights museum, sending out applications everywhere she could, and constantly checking up on the possible employers. Tracy even admitted that though she was a double major, she didn’t do any career planning. Generally it was a good talk, very to the point and helpful.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Art Shows

I preferred the opening at the University of Memphis to the Davis Lusk show. The artists at David Lusk were not connected at all visually or otherwise, while the artists at U of M, Richard Knowles and Steve Langdon shared history and their work meshed well together. I especially enjoyed Richard Knowles’ work, particularly the earlier paintings from the 1970’s. There is an amazing variety of brushwork and the color schemes and compositions were well thought out. It was interesting to see a certain visual language carry throughout his work; even though more than 40 years were spanned. Mark making in the abstract pieces carried over to the water pieces as well as the landscapes. I didn’t enjoy Steve Langdon’s work quite as much, but the graphite drawing were intriguing as I fell so few people work in that way with it, there was not a smudge or grease spot anywhere. They did get a bit repetitive for me, though. Except for the dead cat drawings, those were really clever.

At David Lusk, Wayne Edge has the front room. He is a sculptor working with wood, found ceramics, string and rocks. I found the work to be too concerned with aesthetic. I found the repetition of the house form and landscape redundant, too obvious a choice. I did enjoy Ann Siems’ paintings, though the pieces on paper seemed like they needed more effort. I love the strange ghost girls and the wreaths in each painting. The one aspect that was bothering me was technique, the figures seemed like they were between being rendered very well and being rendered awkwardly, I wish they were pushed one way or another.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Whitney Ranson

The talk Whitney Ranson gave us was pretty good. I liked hearing about the inner workings of the Urban Art Commission because I’ve been thinking about participating in programs like it. I’ve done some similar projects through the Give Back program, but nothing I had to apply for. Now that I know how the selection process works, I’m less nervous about it. I also really appreciate how invested they seem in the whole process, making sure every step is clear, and the artist always has help if needed. I also really like the variety of projects they do, in terms of style and medium, it is so great that this program exists.

I do think she went in to maybe a bit too much detail. I was happy to hear about the Urban Art Commission since I didn’t know much about it, but I would have been more interested in hearing how it started up. I don’t think She was necessarily the person to ask, but I want to know how Memphis got the 1% funding for the arts, and did the Urban Arts Commission get created specifically to handle that? I didn’t need to hear every single step of the process, though maybe it would have interesting if she had shown us more projects as examples. Seeing the original sketch compared to the finished mural was surprising, so I wanted to see how often that kind of shift happens. Overall though, I’m glad we got a bit of diversity in there for our talks so we can see an example of a successful young person in our general field.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011


Apparently I'm sexist. Enjoy.

Super-duper awesome amazingness:

Jillian Tamaki- easy to maneuver because of sidebar, beautiful quality images
Kris Atomic- good separation of categories, previews
Abigail Brown- high quality images, easy

Not so super:

Kehinde Wiley- I love his work , but I'm not a fan of scrolling over the paintings, it moves too fast, also my window isn't big enough to view some of the works in their entirety.
Michael Rytz- again, I like his work but figuring out the top menu thingy is weird
Takashi Iwasaki- my gosh his embroidery is amazing, but when you click on a work to see it large it takes you to a new page so you have to hit "back" to go back to the whole list of works, you can't hit next or anything

Don Estes

The first thing I must bring up about Don Estes and his studio is how incredibly amazing his studio and living space and how I think every single person in our class was drooling over the building. I think it is important, however to keep in mind that just because you have the most amazing studio ever, doesn’t mean you are going to create good work on a regular basis. Estes seems to keep up a regular gallery practice, and utilizes the capabilities of his space well.

I really enjoyed Estes’ paintings, I looked at his website before we visited his studio and I really prefer the new work he has been developing. I responded to the color palettes and the handling of paint, and I like his thought process behind the subject matter. The idea of land and nature being forcefully divided by man is an interesting one. I also think I like his work because I can compare my own to it in some ways. I also appreciate what great craftsmanship he practices, he thinks about the small details of presentation like angling the support and keeping panel behind the canvas so it won’t sag.

This was a helpful visit in terms of realizing that life might take you away from practicing art for a time, but that it isn’t always a horrible thing, other jobs are sometimes necessary. Estes shared how he started a metalworking company, which supported him financially. It is good to consider what other skills we as artists have besides just making works of art. I think many young artists harbor dreams of being wildly successful artists living like bohemians, but Estes showed us one version of a more practical way of living, while still living “the dream” in that studio of his.

Budget (yuck)

I'm not so good with keeping track of my spending, and I get a lot of help from my parents with school related stuff, so some of this was hard to calculate.
Rent- $370
Studio Rent- none (school studio)
Bills- $40-100
Car expenses- nada
Loans- approximately $6,800 (cumulative)
Food- $150
Entertainment- $50
Clothes- $50
Art supplies- irregular from $50-150
Cable/internet- zippo
Phone- not sure
Insurance- on my mama's
Credit Card- none
Pets- none
I also spent about $130 this past month on applying to only 2 residencies, cost of printing out photos, shipping, application fee

So not counting paying back my loans and the amount spent on applications, and using the highest amounts where it fluctuates, that is $870 a month.
The only income I have during the school year is work study and any commissions/art sales I might happen across. During the summer I have a full time job and earn around $2,600 in total. Meaning it is pretty obvious that without my parents help I would be screwed!
So if I kept this lifestyle up, a 40 hour job paying $9/hour would definitely suffice at $1,440 a month. But of course that isn't taking into consideration the possibility of me getting a car, or loan payments.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Hamlett Dobbins

I really enjoyed the talk Hamlett Dobbins gave us in class. I feel like I hear his name mentioned quite often, but was never sure what he did, besides run the Clough Hanson Gallery at Rhodes. I am definitely impressed by all the many things he is involved in- Marshall Arts, Material, his own studio practice, Rhodes, and personal collaborations. I appreciate how much he divulged, starting with undergrad and how Dobbins worked then and what he went through after graduating, to Grad school, to the decisions he made after Grad school. He was thorough, but not in a bland way, he was candid and shared things that you don’t usually hear about, like crappy jobs and relationships. I especially appreciated him sharing why he went to the University of Iowa, what that did for him, and why he chose to return to Memphis. I think he might have lucked out career-wise, it seems as though his job at Marshall Arts kind of fell into his lap. I don’t think everything was by chance, though, it definitely seems as though he works hard and has continued to work hard in his studio while trying to make the art scene in Memphis better, and maintaining a family life.

Dobbins definitely stressed how making connections is important; people are more receptive when they actually know you. Also, how it can be challenging balancing home life with studio practice and a career, and how he separates them to keep his sanity. In general, he was just really helpful on all fronts, and I liked the way he set up his presentation and his way of speaking. I didn’t really have any questions because he covered everything so well.

Friday, September 23, 2011

some more

Here are some more new pieces. Look at all that pink, I just can't resist it. Anyways, the bottom one is the only large one (3x3') and it has embroidery, not that you can really tell in this picture.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011


I'm in Abstract Painting this semester and we are supposed to do a painting every class period, meaning 2 whole paintings a week, oh my! Lucky I'm a pretty fast painter so I haven't struggled (until I just started adding embroidery.) And they can pretty much be whatever size you want, here are the first of them.

Before and After

Evan though I do have nice photos of my work right now, this was good practice. Though it still seems kind of like lying even though it is my work and I'm just trying to make it look more accurate, because apparently my camera harbors a hatred of my art.