Monday, January 29, 2018

Autumn Pearson: a Harbor gal and SHAMc's current Artist in Residence

I found Autumn Pearson working at her studio in downtown Safety Harbor. She winters here sometimes because her ties to the area go back generations. 

Autumn is SHAMc’s current Artist in Residence and will exhibit her artwork February 16, 2018 from 4-11 p.m. with her BOLDER Talk from 6:30 to 7 that same evening. It's free - We hope you'll join us.

 Me: “What brought you to Safety Harbor?”

AP: “My family has had winter homes here in Safety Harbor since the ‘60s. My great grandfather had a little trailer over at Harbor Hills.” She pointed to the home across the street. “My grandma and grandpa bought that house when I was about eight. I learned how to ride my bike on the brick streets and did cartwheels on the pier.” She pointed toward the house adjacent to her studio. “And in 1997 my mom bought this house.”

Me: “What has your journey been like with your art? Has it always been full time?”

“I have been a teacher and school administrator in New Mexico for almost twenty years. I just decided that isn’t who I am anymore. I was offered an artist in residency opportunity in Morocco. It’s my favorite place in the world so far. I did an exhibition there and then I went the Canary Islands for a month and a half. I was in the most remote and southern part, a place called El Hierro. It was really fun to live on such a safe, tiny island. 

“Now I am here in Safety Harbor. I’ve been here since the end of November working as an artist in residence for SHAMc and next I will head back to Morocco. Then I will see where the Universe takes me.”

Me: "That’s incredible—to have such diverse experiences to inspire you."

“That’s kind of why I’m here. I’ve been traveling since June. It was time to come home and check in and visit my momma. If I’m going to be in the U.S. I need to be on this path and continue to create.”

Me: “How do you describe your art?”

AP: “I use all found objects so when I drop into one of these communities, as an artist in residence, I show up with the same set of gouache – they’ve been around the world – and the same set of paintbrushes and I make everything from all found materials.” She motions toward her current project, a raised portrait on a multi-colored canvas with a textured background. “These were all found canvases, all recyclable material made of paper and minerals and it dries really hard. My mom is a weaver so this [the textured background] is one of her rugs.

“My show is called Giving Back. It’s giving back to Safety Harbor – it has been my second home – and giving back to my family because they’ve been here forever. I’m doing a series of portraits of my mom and her three sisters . . . they’ve been really special to me growing up.”

Autumn shows me a sneak peek of her series of women made from fence posts. It’s her grandpa’s old fence that she rescued from being burned in her mother’s fireplace. “I made a series of Moroccan women in traditional jellabas. The buttons I use are all traditional handmade by Moroccan women.

“My bigger concept is giving back to the environment by not consuming.”

Me: “That means a lot to you?”

AP: “I think a lot about it. I try to show people through art and through conversation to bring awareness about what they consume and leave behind. It disappears from their minds but it doesn’t disappear form our planet. 

“This is my giving back to SHAMc.” 

Autumn brings me into her studio where a three-headed mermaid rests, waiting for her talented hands. “It got its first bit of paint yesterday. This is made of palm fronds and the Tampa Bay Times. It will be covered with found objects from my walks.” 

Me: "SHAMc is lucky to have you here."

AP: “It is great to walk by the water every day and having an art center to connect to is really inspiriting. You can really feel alone being an artist in residence. Having a place that is always bringing in other arts and connecting with other artists – those are the things that SHAMc has given me.” 

Me: “What do you want people to know about you, your art, or the Bolder Talk and exhibit?”

AP: “ I want people who’ve never been to SHAMc to go. So many people – from Safety Harbor – they’ve never been to SHAMc. I want them to get out of their comfort zones. I want them to think about what they consume. I want them to come to this exhibit and see all of things that are normally thrown away. They might decide not to use a straw the next time they go to the restaurant . . .

“I want people to get out of their homes and their minds and have an experience.”

We want that too, Autumn! (So, readers, please  join us!)

Monday, January 15, 2018

Meet the amazing Ricky Boscarino this weekend at SHAMc!

What are you all doing Friday evening? 

How about Saturday and Sunday? 

This is why I ask – The amazingly talented Ricky Boscarino will be visiting SHAMc all the way from New Jersey. Ricky is known for his beauitful jewelry, sculptures and his art home, Luna Parc.

Ricky Boscarino
He will give our first BOLDER TALK on Friday night. Think of Ted Talks, but way more focused around art and the artist’s experiences.

Ricky will introduce himself and talk about his home, Luna Parc. He’ll share his inspirations, the path he took, how things get created there and the history of the process.   

On Saturday and Sunday he will facilitate an all-hands-on workshop to create a permanent art lamp-post for SHAMc.  

“Kiaralinda and I are eleven days apart,” he told me. “Todd and Kiaralinda bought their house the same year and same month that I bought mine. We were all young, enthusiastic. In the early years we knew about each other, but we’ve actually known each other around twenty years. We’d had lots of mutual friends and finally met in the mid to late ‘90s.

Luna Parc
“I think we have a lot in common,” he continued. “Especially in how we approach our living spaces and how we express our enthusiasm.

“We are almost obsessive creative souls. We have a lot of different media and materials that we work with and we do a lot of mosaics. I work with a lot more stone and masonry, metal and welding." 

Unlike most people who are called hoarders, we gather and we do something with what we find. We definitely have a very similar outlook on what we’ve done to transform our individual living spaces.”

“The inspiration for this project has been a couple years in the works. It looks like a giant artichoke. It is cement and you have to walk through it to get in my house. We’ll be using that technique to create what I’m calling a lamp post, for lack of a more descriptive word. It’s going to be really fun.”

Ricky’s workshop will take place Saturday and Sunday and the surface of the piece will later be mosaiced. 

There is a supply fee of $10 per person, per day for the sculpture workshop.

Friday, January 19, BOLDER Talk  6:30 to 7 p.m.

Sculptural Concrete Workshop  Saturday & Sunday, January 20-21, 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.

More on the process from the SHAMc Website: 
There is a long history of non-conforming construction known as ferro-cement. Basically it refers to any type of reinforcing steel, iron or other metal combined with traditional and modified concrete (cement).
Ricky Boscarino has created numerous sculptures both public and at his home Luna Parc using this method. It is also used in construction of shelters and homes to create sculpted living spaces.

Ricky has been inspired by the undulating roof lines of Gaudi of Barcelona as well as the eccentric imposing facades of Hundertwasser (of Vienna and New Zealand).
In this two day workshop we will construct a sculptural electrified lamppost which will be a permanent fixture at SHAMC in Safety Harbor FL.

We'll work with Ricky and the founders of SHAMC on the piece using the ferro-cement method. You can be a part of  the process from beginning to completion.

The process can be difficult at times, cement, wire mesh and wire are somewhat stubborn materials so be prepared to work, have fun and be a part of this amazing experience. The result will be spectacular!