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.