Friday, March 19, 2010

Art on a Postman's Paycheck

Herbert Vogel, a postal clerk, and Dorothy Vogel, a librarian are the most important contemporary art collectors in history?

Yeah! In the 60's the Vogels began to quietly purchase works of unknown artists. At the time Minimalist and Conceptual Art was getting very little attention and with Herb's keen eye and his entire paycheck, they lived on Dorothy's paycheck. The Vogels began to collect pieces they loved. They had only 2 rules: The pieces had to be affordable and it had to fit in their one bedroom Manhattan apparent. Artists such as Sol LeWitt, Christo and Jeane-Claude Christo, Richard Tuttle, Robert Mangold, Lawrence Weiner and Lynda Benglis became friends of the Vogels and went on to become world-renowned artists.

In thirty years the Vogels accumulated a collection of over 2,000 pieces. Art filled every inch of their tiny apartment. Stacked, wrapped and hung the Vogels lived, breathed and bought art. Dorothy is quoted as saying " Not even a toothpick could be squeezed into the apartment." In 1992 the Vogels gifted the majority of their vast collection to the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC. Many of the works they collected appreciated so significantly over the years that their collection today is worth millions of dollars. The Vogels have never sold a pieces of art. They are true collectors and on a postman's paycheck. The Vogels are still buying art and have filled their tiny apartment yet again.

Watch Herb & Dorothy a documentary directed and produced by Megumi Sasaki.
'You don't have to be a Rockefeller to collect art'

Audience Award at Hamptons International Film Festival 2008
Golden Starfish Award at Hamptons International Film Festival 2008
Audience Award at Silverdocs Documentary Festival 2008
Audience Award at Philadelphia Film Festival
Best of the Fest at Palm Springs International Film Festival 2009

This inspiration movie will change the way you see art and it might even make you a collector.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Full Steam Ahead with artist Mark Eliot Schwabe

I was lucky enough to chat with Mark Eliot Schwabe the creator of the SteamPunk jewelry company Steam Smith Works. Here is an interview I had with Mark. Check out the links below to see Marks work.

How long have you been a jeweler and what drew you to jewelry making?
Started working in my Dad’s shop when I was 14 - he had a high end gold line, Cartier, NY was his biggest customer (all his own designs, and he made all of the originals and did all of
the castings - I was the first of several employees to help with the production work)
That was in the 1960’s.

If you could morph between human and another shape what shape would it be?
I like being human!

What is Steampunk and how did you get involved in this new subculture movement?
Here is my definition of SteamPunk: "Steampunk is a retrofuturistic fanasy genre celebrating the Vicotian Era and objects from that era (machines, fashion, etc.) The genre also permits the introduction of objects and persons from other times into the Victorian Era." It may help, to imagine the fictional works of Jules Verne and H.G. Well, to be FACT. The genre finds expression in all forms of
art, including: literature, film, music, sculpture, painting, graphic art, fashion and jewelry
design, among others.

My involvement? - credit goes to Winona Cookie -
I stumbled onto her Etsy store soon after I opened my MarkieMoose.Etsy store.
Her work and the SteamPunk genre COMPLETELY blew me away. I loved both the visual art and
the stories that her very fertile imagination came up with to go with the visual art.

I had done a lot of work with Science Fiction in the 1990’s, and always had some interest in that kind
of thinking. I made originals for pewter replicas of Star Trek & Star Wars space ships and the like for
Rawcliffe Pewter - who held the licenses form Lucas Film and Paramount Pictures at the time. I was
really into the detail of these amazing flying machines. So it was not a big leap to go from there to
making my own flying machines (Airships) without any constraints from motion picture companies ...
or anyone else! The freedom of designing and creating SteamPunk jewelry and sculpture is truly

What book is on your night stand?
I am dyslectic and not able to read books - I am limited to reading a few paragraphs at a sitting - just
too frustrating to get through a book.

Tell us about your involvement in the Steampunk World's Fair?
Bruce Rosenbaum, creator of the famous SteamPunk house in Sharon, MA; purchased my Pirate
Airship “Revenge” brooch/sculpture to include as part of his house. He told me about the Fair and put
me in touch with the folks there. The rest, they say, is history! Bruce also got be involved in the
SteamPunk Festival at the Charles River Museum of Industry in suburban Boston on April 10.

At both events I will be demonstrating traditional jewelry making techniques, as applied to
SteamPunk. In particular I will be turning brass rods - making smoke stacks and other details for my
Airships and making propellers and the like and making airship bodies out of pewter, and the like. I
will also be vending at both events.

What music if any do you play in your studio?
I live in a remote corner of Vermont. It is very quiet here and most of the time I work with only the
sound of my tools.
When the radio is on I listen to “adult album rock”
Occasionally I will slip back into my psychedelic rock roots with a CD, or cassette.

For live music, nothing beats the Blues!

What is your formal training in?
Note that I am a sculptor by training (MFA - State U of NY at New Paltz). I have started on my first
SteamPunk sculpture (and there will be more to come!) Pic of the first piece - SteamPunk Warrior
Princess - in its early stages may be seen at:

Please check out Steam Smith Works ETSY site.

Mark, Thank you for taking time to talk to us about your work and what going on in the SteamPunk movement.

Question the masses?

Well I have found myself searching for the answer to an odd question. Being new to blogging and all of it's idiosyncrasy. I was curious about some advice given to me. I was given the advice that people stay on blogs with light colored backgrounds - longer. Huh, they do? I thought. Well, I did some research and found out that at first glance it is true, they do. WOW, 47% of people prefer the light background blogs. But doesn't that really mean that 53% of people don't prefer light background blogs.? Check out the link below and make up your own mind. In the meantime what do you think of my color change? I went lighter. Did you notice?

I'd love to hear comments about which background you like?

Please click the Follow me button on the bottom right to begin to follow this blog.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Love of Music

I've always loved music and appreciate everything from Joan Baez to Missy Elliot. 12 years ago when I moved from Redding to Sacramento I was thrilled with the then healthy music scene. I enjoy live music and found many of my favorite albums through these performances. When we moved back to Redding I went on the hunt for local music. What did I find? A small but thriving musical community populated by real good bands playing for the love of it. We've had the pleasure of listening to the likes of the Jim Dyar Band, Garrett Viggers and Allison & Victor. Naming a few local groups that we like. We have also heard some great traveling tunes like Mathew Herringer Band-Sacramento, Jaokob Martin-Los Angeles and Danny Malone-Autsin, TX. All who now have an CD amongst my prized stack, preciuosly setted, next to the stereo.

I thought I was pretty savvy about music. But, today I learned about Live from the Artists Den. A 2004 venture that brought one music lovers dream of staging amazing live performances in alternative venues to life. The site features video, photos and downloadable music from some of the most incredible emerging and established musician.

I also learned about singer, Patty Griffin. You can watch an almost 40 minute concert by Patty on Live from the Artists Den.

Check it out:

Monday, March 15, 2010

2nd Saturday ArtHop - March was National Youth Art Month

March's 2nd Saturday ArtHop was transformed by the wickedly talented and seemingly unlimited creativity of local students. Shasta, Enterprise, Central Valley and Foothill High Schools made up 6 of the 14 youth venues this month that also included:
Shasta Secondary Home School
Junction Elementary
Shasta Head Start
Redding School of the Arts
Stellar Charter School
Grant Elementary School

This picture is from the Enterprise High School's Balloon Chihuly Show at Graphic Emporium on Pine Street. This is one of the most fun shows I've been to in ages. The students were having fun making more Balloon Chihuly sculptures to hang from the ceiling. Irene the owner of Graphic Emporium said "I like this show the best. So much energy. "

Down the street, Shasta High students covered every square inch of GMAC Realty Professionals on the corner of Placer and Court streets with ART. It was hanging from the walls, there were painters in the cubicles, even musicians and a guest appearance by the Jim Dyar Band which incudes Shasta High art teacher, Torri Pratt and Shasta High student Tracy Manuel kicking some mean butt on the drums. Student, Ryan Lamb was busy amazing the crowd with his painting demo.

This is my favorite ArtHop all year. This event demonstrates to both Adam and I why we started ArtHop. We've been involved in promoting youth art for over 10 years. Adam and I ran Chalk-It-Up to Sacramento a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting and funding children and youth arts activites in Northern California.

Many of the pieces from these schools are up for the entire month so please checkout the ArtHop maps and visit them all before the are changed for April's ArtHop.

We'd like to thank all of the schools, teachers and students involved in the years Youth Art Month ArtHop. We are proud of each and every student that had a piece in these various shows.

Get you school involved next year. Email HawkMan Studios at

ArtHop maps: