Monthly Archives: April 2010

Another mint julep, perhaps?

For all of those that won’t physically be taking the road trip with Steve Gorman Sports up to The Kentucky Derby this weekend, I would like to offer my own sort of concoction that is sure to make you as equally-and better yet naturally-buzzed and smiling as a refreshing mint julep on a spring afternoon in May. Like the traditional beverage of THE DERBY, there are a number of ingredients that must come together just right for complete satisfaction. Lucky for you, the first part of this weekend’s local delicacy is that you simply have to show up at the various Nashville art galleries that are ready and set to entertain you longer than two minutes of horses running around a track on the word go.

I’m getting ahead of myself as usual. For full satisfaction of this Saturday’s art lineup, mix together the following components (notice how some of the names resemble those of the horses sure to make history this weekend as well):

Minor Victory: A true 2-to-1 deal in the making, Minor Victory is an eclectic mix of Chicago and Nashville printmakers joining together for a group show at Twist Art Gallery. Mark Hosford and 12 others have creatively lampooned the ideas of traditional print alongside abstract images to push printmaking boundaries and definitions out of conventional thought. Come down to Twist this Saturday, May 1st, between 6-9pm for an opening reception with the talented artists and get to know the lovely ladies that run one of the best galleries of Downtown Nashville.

Southern Organic: At a lucky number post of 3-to-1, southern artists Michael Brown, Jonathan Ferrara and Erin Anfinson are off to the races at The Rymer Gallery-starting this Saturday and finishing sometime around June 26th. Brown, a painting professor at Savannah College of Art and Design’s Atlanta campus, creates fantastical paintings of animals and flowers that exist in between Lewis Carroll’s Wonderland and a Southern Gothic picture book. Ferrara, a New Orleans artist and gallery owner, proclaims his work as political and textural with direct intention of replicating the very process of his subject rather than provoking translation. Anfinson, an Assistant Professor of Art at Middle Tennessee State University, rounds out the group with her new series Collapse-based on Colony Collapse Disorder in honeybee populations. Also as part of the Downtown Saturday Crawl, Southern Organic combines 3 distinct southern elements and helps reminds us all why we are and should be so proud of being from and/or living in the mondern day South.

Tenn Show: Another 2-to-1 standout is The Arts Company’s presentation of Tennessee’s top graphic designers gathering for AIGA’s statewide competition this Friday and Saturday, from 6-9pm on both (Friday is the actual awards event with a small price of admission and Saturday is free for the public to enjoy all of the pieces and also the company of special guest, master design artist Jane Davis Doggett). A small dark horse in general, just outside the Downtown radart, you can best believe that The Arts Company, under the guidance of Tinnin Bouldin, is always on top of its game and value for your time.

The Harding Art Show: Grandeur in its name and history, this magnificent annual event steps into the race confusing all odd-makers due to its longevity and purpose as a well-known favorite. 35 years in the running, the 2010 Harding Art Show will be held this weekend, Thursday, April 29th through Saturday, May 1st. With the Preview Party on Thursday night, from 6-9pm, providing a chance to meet all of the artists (from over 70 artists from the Southeastern United States- including one of my favorites during any season of the year, The Twisted Sisters), to the Fiesta Friday Party Friday evening following the show sale hours of 10am-9pm on Friday and then 10am-3pm on Saturday, the parking lots at Harding Academy are sure to be full of joy and free of the dirty Swine flu that disrupted events last year.

Uproot: Last in the entry polls, but certainly not the least, local artist Erika Johnson continues to introduce her new work at Blend Studio in the Arcade this Saturday evening from 6-9pm and is definitely worth the trip in between the other events at Twist and Rymer. Uproot, sometimes meaning to draw strength and support from new sources, is an installation/collaborative project with Johnson as she continues to send her creative roots upward and outward while gaining attention from new sources such as YOU.

In the end, when the mint julep Derby cups run empty, all ticket stubs are returned to the payout counters, and you’ve recapped the weekend’s highlights alongside Brandon and Steve on Steve Gorman Sports’ latest podcast a number of times to see if there were any insider tips on life that you missed out on for future references, we’re all winners. No; I’m not being overly optimistic like the parents of kids these days that hand out trophies simply for putting on uniforms instead of giving forth extraordinary effort and actually excelling in the sport. I am, however, trying to let you know that it truly is how you run the race AND how you finish. So take my advice above and do whatever you want. All I can do is write … and hope somebody out there listens.

Is anyone listening? Anyone? Bueller? Anyone?
Above Image: The Epic by Michael Brown,


Every new beginning starts from some other beginnings’ dance?

Yep; I said it … dance! Look; I am not about to jump into my recently acquired via marriage RAV 4 that has been mentally transformed into something resembling a functional time machine and use such powers in order to take a quick spin back to the 90’s to reference a fun-filled Semisonic song lyric for no reason at all. I am not that bad off for creative transitional metaphors, or even that much of a fan of Semisonic after seeing them for free at Dancing in the District circa 1997 following Soul Asylum in what I can only assume was the greatest line-up they had at that time … or am I?

Personal mysteries put aside, I am a big fan of dancing. I did not grow up in a city with rules forbidding rhythm similar to the motion picture Footloose, or live in a neighborhood where every action had a beat such was the reality in the movie Breakin, but I have always appreciated people who aren’t scared to try new moves. On that note, I very much appreciate those who have taken their moves to another level and create art that few others can imitate. Such is the art that you can see, for his last time performing actually, by Eric Harris in the Nashville Ballet’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream this weekend ONLY!

, who has been with the Nashville Ballet Company for over a decade, has decided to focus all of his talents towards work behind the scenes instead of onstage performing and wooing packed houses like he has been doing for years with his brilliance. I don’t need to get all technical and gush over the countless moves and roles that he has taken on and performed with ease and artistic excellence that at least I know for myself I will never be able to do even if I attempted or studied them all for years, but I just wanted to pass on the quick announcement that this will be the last onstage performance that anyone will be able to witness from the talented Eric Harris. With 3 opportunities to see the show this weekend (Friday and Saturday at 7:30pm; Sunday matinee at 2pm), you really don’t have a good excuse not to send Eric and the rest of the company off with one last applause this Spring.

And for those that are more worried about what they are going to do Saturday aside from avoiding all of the traffic stops due to all of the marathoners that will take over the city by storm (I can’t say much other than I pray for no thunderstorms heading their way because I was one of them last year), I shall give you two spots that you should definitely mark in your calendar.

First, you should remember to take note of the art that the Parthenon has to offer from time to time. This Saturday, April 24th, you can actually meet the artist behind Cartagena Memories: Paintings by Jorge A. Yances. On top of having the opportunity to meet and greet with the artist to see what makes Yances tick, you can take the time under the shade of the classic Parthenon’s architecture to admire the paintings that capture the historical and colorful essence of Yances’ home of Cartagena, Columbia. Yances will be at the Parthenon on Saturday, April 24th, from 2-4:00 PM to discuss his work and to sign copies of the complimentary gallery brochure. Admission to this event is included in the purchase of admission to the Parthenon.

And last, but certainly not least, is a solid reminder of why Art & Invention is one of the most entertaining and reliable Nashville art gallery to fix any art fix that you crave to get fixin’. Saturday, April 24th, from 6-9 pm, Meg will open the doors for the opening reception for Bells Bend: A Sense of Place. It is a group show that will feature artists who have created work connected to Bells Bend itself. Whether it is about its landscapes, people, history and/or future, the participating artists of Anne R. Williams, Brenda Butka, Denise Hawkins, DiAnne Patrick, Don Evans, Jean Gauld-Jaeger, Jim Osborn, Joel Knapp, John Kuenneth, Lisa Rivas, Martha Berry, Nathalie VanBalen , Paul Schatzkin, Sheila B., and Stacey Irvin each contribute their artistic expressions and point of views about this wonderful place. There won’t be quite another experience to be had in the Nashville area on such a momentous night when these two wonderful places, Art & Invention and Bells Bend, come together.

Whatever you choose to do, regardless of what I write and you read, be safe and kind to each other out there …this includes to your Mother Earth-starting today!

Joking out of jealousy or because you weren’t actually there, Mr. Funnyman Fallon?

I seriously wish I knew which came first: the chicken or the egg. It is a topic that has been discussed since the beginning of discussions about beginnings on beginnings. I’m sure that even those first fine artists that scribbled out art in the caves had one or two arguments before finalizing on their storybook masterpieces. In any case, I was honored to make the roadtrip down past Jack’s on my way to Moulton, Alabama in order to celebrate the current discussion about poultry and life itself.

Oddly enough, there weren’t many arguments to be seen during the entire weekend’s festival by anyone lucky enough to be present. There were a lot of things that I learned that most of the locals just readily accepted as a reality. For example, Mountain Dew was the unofficial drink sponsor over the event. There was also no such evidence supporting spontaneous occurrences of any break, line, or conga dancing…no sirree, the live bluegrass was playing strictly as a precursor to a ditty called the ‘buck’ dance (I’m sure mr. google can tell you all about it, but if you didn’t know it on the spot then you just had to get the heck out of the way).

Riding with a familiar within our group, Rhiannon, Emily and I were able to sit on the proverbial fence of a make-shift work tent and take it all in. The stellar weather provided an ambiance setting for loads and loads of people (as Jimmy Fallon joked about it on primetime tele- absolutely no BIKES or PETS were allowed!) to meander from tent to tent to discover what kind of goodies the chicken had brought to town. Yup, you could say that we stuck out pretty well (only because the girls dressed up of course).

With the economy as it is, whether you are in the BIG cities or small towns, there weren’t too many people forking over anything other than the tickets for the GI-normous funnel cakes (I had to split one). As the vendors around us (many of whom-we came to find out later-work the festivals for survival-quite the opposite of the festival-working virgins we were) took the time to ask us how we were doing and checking to see if it wasn’t just them not selling much … a little comfort settled in when they realized we were all in the same boat.

That being said, we did have some very bright moments along the journey. Aside from being fortunate to have been welcomed into and crash at what I like to refer to as ‘paradise in progress’ in the Guillet household with ample amounts of fun and amazing chats (seriously; love me some of Rhi’s parents and the stories her incredible grandmother treated me with during our long talks), the festival bestowed us with some classic characters. No, I’m not talking about MR./MRS. Mullet (notice I capitalized Mullet) or some of the other instant classics that would make for historical page-stopping characters in any book (note to self for future references). I am talking about the sculptor down the way that seemed to check on our well-being nearly 3 times a day and who sent his buddy that was in town down to see all of magpie etc.’s materials to possibly stock up his new art gallery near Jackson, Mississippi! He was in love with all of the stuff and bought a handful of everything we had to offer on the spot! Needless to say, that purchase pretty much broke us even for the funnel cake, but that was besides the point…we had been accepted by the locals and had surpassed any of our expectations other than a fantastic roadtrip with friends.

I can’t say it enough how blessed I have been to have met Emily (and Rhi and magpie etc.) and to have myself been accepted into the group of helping to promote art that truly does make this world a better and more loving place. Yes, that was our first festival to attend and work (and ROCK in my opinion-eventhough we missed the Wet Willie concert….we only needed to hang with Rhi’s family to ‘keep on smiling’), but it shall certainly not be our last. This, my friends, is only the beginning of lots of goodness yet to come.

Please stay tuned for the 2010 Flatrock Festival coming up soon, and don’t forget that you can buy more of my books online, keep updated on works in progress right here or on my website below, and share these links to all of your family and friends who you think would enjoy my words, maybe learn a little something from them, or help it all reach the masses on another level! Remember, it only takes one power person to believe in your idea to make it Big Time like Peter Gabriel!

Thanks for your time and I hope you enjoy your day and tomorrow is even better! 

THAT just happened

I don’t know what’s going on this week; honest injun! Not only are there no big art opening receptions on my radart for this coming weekend (no worries; I am told that there shall be more very soon), but worlds are being flipped upside-down from what I thought I knew about them just one week ago. It must have been that dang ol’ Chicken & Egg Festival I went to with my close friends behind the local art sensation and movement, magpie etc.

Yes; I indeed took a trip of sorts down to Moulton, Alabama to get my fair share of fowl wordplay, buck dancing, stellar people watching and to help spread the wings of magpie etc. and all of its goodness that both Emily Harper Beard and Rhiannon Guillet are always trying to share with others. Don’t get me wrong; I met a ton of some of the best good-hearted, God-fearing, Mountain-Dew drinking, Roll Tide/War Eagle-loving, down-to-Earth people of all shapes and ages that you could ever meet in a span of two days outdoors in perfect weather, but I never could quite figure out the answer to the dilemma of which came first between the chicken or the egg. It must have been yet another local secret in which I simply needed more time.
To compound my mental frustration from searching for life-changing answers at the Chicken & Egg Festival and which current art shows to see while in Nashville this week/weekend, I returned home last night to find out that my wife had ventured outside of her beautiful garden bubble and actually mowed all of the grass at our house-front and back! Then it all suddenly hit me; sometimes it’s better to search for the answers and the truth in your own backyard … or in my case of world’s presently flipped upside-down, in my own house.
To give you a peek into our house without quite opening the virtual doors, there is artwork covering every wall, table, couch, and doorway of our house. I credit myself as the co-curator since I am technically one-half owner of everything inside (legally speaking of course, lol), and I am very proud of our ever-growing collection-almost completely locally created mind you. There are pieces scattered throughout our whole house (either visually, musically, both or in simple treats for everyone); I kid you not.

In fact, to give you a snapshot within the world in my homestead, I am now going to let you take a look inside two of the most magical artists’ work that I am honored to have within the walls of our humble abode. Nope; I’m not actually going to open the doors to our house for YOU just yet (I haven’t asked my better half). What I can do right now is point you in the direction to see current exhibits in Nashville in two art galleries where you really MUST see their current works. I’m talking about the existing, separate art shows by Mark Sloniker and Athena Workman.

Mark’s work is a living dream. His current show, Every Memory Has A Golden Name, at Twist Art Gallery is truly beyond words to describe it. I can’t honestly praise it enough.  I CAN guarantee that if you take the trip to see and appreciate the wonderment of Mark’s world, it will always leave you speechless with a smile. 
As for Athena’s artwork; I fell in love with it from the very first time I saw it at magpie etc. back in 2008. I was reacquainted with her characters at Art & Invention last year, and each piece I discover always carries with it a unique storybook quality that I also can’t justify in words. Her latest show at Mir Gallery, OUTLAND: Photography and Art Dolls by Athena Workman, is another whimsical, ecclectic collection waiting for the right home. Think to yourself what would happen if Tim Burton was handed the keys to the art direction of your mama’s favorite Barbie doll and you might be at the ready block to take this show in for yourself. Like Mark, Athena is walking to her own creative beat and we are all better off for it. 
One word I keep coming back to is MAGICAL when telling others about Mark and Athena’s art. Like I said before, I am honored to have their work showcased at my home. So in a way, I kind of feel like Twist and Mir are simply extensions of my personal gallery for the moment. Again, don’t worry; don’t ask too many questions this weekend when trying to fill up your personal calendar and art fix. For once, it’s safe to take my word for it and check out all this magic I’ve previewed above in person while it’s still out there to visit.

As for me, on a side note tip, my home will not have open gallery hours for quite some time (I’ll be sure to keep you posted on that when the time comes and the Mrs. gives the ohtay, lol). I do, however, have a private art exhibit put together for my nephew/godson, Brady Roy Beard strolling into town for the very first (non-SKYPE) visit this weekend. In fact, the main gift on display is a little something something I picked up from Art & Invention recently. If you need a one-of-a-kind gift for any occasion, remember that Meg will never let you down!

As you were; busy but happy!

Every rose may have a thorn, but …

Drawing near and dear to yet another finished lap around the sun (this coming Monday, noon on the 5th of April to be precise, will make it a clear-cut 30 crazy ellipses round the sides of our closest dying star), I have spent a few extra minutes here and there recently watching the wheels go by at a slower pace than usual while trying to take in each moment as it comes in a different light than I ever have before. In doing so, I, like most I presume, found myself mentally backtracking over the kaleidoscope of memories my eyes have photographed and head has collected and stored in various places. At least for myself, it’s been tragically funny to take note of the variety of moments held in my heart (vs. the ones in my toes I guess). Altogether mixed-up, I find it peculiar that some memories I take a second look at are as hazy as swimming under the ocean without goggles still others are as clear as windows after Windex. I’m no judge, but the jury is still out on the facts that determine my truths within both the hazy and clear circumstances. Thank goodness I am not alone in this personal dilemma!

Where I have shuffled through old memories for clues to uncover specifics in my past, others I know in the middle of similar personal quests have simply decided to dump their overflowing trunks from their attics upstairs onto the floor and create fun objects to celebrate it all; the good, the bad and the ugly. Mark Sloniker, a local artist, puppeteer and renaissance art man, has done just that while preparing for his upcoming show called Every Memory Has A Golden Name. Along with works by Irene Wills and Ellen Sadler, Mark is ready for everyone and their mom (at least mine will be there) to come by Twist Art Gallery this Saturday, April 3rd, from 6-9pm, for a spectacular opening reception revealing some of his fondest memories.

For Mark and Every Memory Has A Golden Name, Twist Art Gallery has turned pieces of its gallery space into a proud collection of Mark’s other-worldly imagination. Instead of second-guessing the personal facts of life as I mentioned above, Mark took a variety of memories ranging from ordinary to shameful and even emotionally blown out of proportion (subjectively for the better or worse) as inspiration to ornament them all in creative forms in order to celebrate and collectively appreciate the whole lot.

And even though the overall theme of the exhibition is Every Memory Has A Golden Name, don’t expect to see any specific names beside Mark’s individual pieces. As with anything brought to life from within the magical mind of Mark Sloniker, it is best to just show up with an open eye and mind, expect the unexpected, and prepare to be amazed. I am privy to get a description of one of the pieces and can‘t wait to see the chandelier covered in velvet and handmade flowers, covered by an made-up deer and watched over by an unreal octopus.

So don’t fall for the ordinary tomfoolery around today or this weekend. I’m not fooling you by any means when declaring that Mark Slonker’s recent work displayed at Twist Art Gallery– beginning this Saturday- will be the first true “MUST NOT MISS” event of 2010. Mark’s work gives life to our floating dreams. The totally original environments he creates, similar to the perfect April Fool’s prank, tap into the stupefaction and fears within us all. And with my 30th birthday just round the corner of this weekend’s bend, I’m excited as all get out to unearth my own terrors and wonders of growing up at this point in my journey by making the best lucid memories and discoveries with the people I love most and with whom I will surely remember clearly for many years to come. 

Chuck Beard