WDS 2013

World Domination Summit gave me many unexpected gifts July 5–7. It was amazing, in many ways. Our fearless leader Chris Guillebeau knows how to throw a party and create an intimate feeling with 3,000 of his closest friends with a finale toast. Thank you Chris!

One of my highlights was Saturday night when I sat down next to Jackie Shelley at Starbucks and we made collages together. I felt like a kid excited and absorbed. Byron Go was sitting with Jackie and asked me if I wanted a hug. I was tired and honestly didn’t want to get up out of my chair, and I told him so. He said that would be okay but he didn’t want me to miss out on the experience. All of this delivered in a safe way sans agenda. To my surprise, he gave me an incredible hug and lifted me off my feet. Kinda like this guy who hugs for the homeless. It made me want to pass along that experience to others.

I never thought that the way I give a hug might be a clue to how I relate in the world. And then I wondered why I don’t give amazing hugs. It occurred to me that I’m afraid of rejection, of offending someone, of being too intimate, of giving the wrong impression. I’ve got some work to do. 🙂 It was a welcome insight.

Speaker Jia Jiang’s story about embracing rejection was a highlight.

 

 

 

30 June 2013

I have a yearning to write, to document my life…the day to day. I feel like I need to learn punctuation. I love using ellipses. I’m going to write everyday until a pattern emerges or until I choose a pattern. And then I’ll follow that, all along the path of self-discovery.

Berkeley Art Center: Risk

Berkeley Art Center: Risk

Risk
Berkeley Art Center
1275 Walnut Street, Berkeley, California 94709

June 29 – August 24, 2013

Opening reception:
Saturday, June 29, 6-8 pm
Donor preview 5-6 pm

We are pleased to announce the selected artists for this year’s upcoming annual juried exhibition, RISK. Jurors Apsara DiQuinzio of Berkeley Art Museum, and Kimberly Johansson of Johansson Projects, selected from a submission pool of nearly 250 applicants, works from 34 artists that investigate, reflect upon, evoke or are the result of risk. Selected artists include Leigh Barbier, Michael Berens, Paper Buck, Natalya Burd, Nuala Creed, Arthur Comings, Diane Ding, Jessica Eastburn, Joel Frudden, Danielle Gherardi, Rebekah Goldstein, Adrienne Heloise, Dana Hemenway, Joshua Highter, Edith Hillinger, Kelly Inouye, Becky Johnson, Carter Johnston, Jennifer Kaufman, Maria Kazanskaya, Jeff Kramm, Cathy Lu, Michael Martin, Nadja Miller, Benjamin Moss, Alex Nichols, Eva Nicolait, Johanna Poethig, Amanda Quiroz, Zachary Roberts, Stephanie Robison, Blayre Stiller, Sam Vaughan, and Leah Virsik.

Richmond Art Center Fall Art Mixed-Media Classes

Chicago: Manufactured Memories

©2012 Leah Virsik Chicago: Manufactured Memories found and painted papers and thread on muslin, 10 x 18 inches

Collage: Navigate Your Journey–Mixed Media
6 Wednesdays, September 18–October 23, 2013 | 6:30–9:30 pm| 6:30pm to 9:30pm
Richmond Art Center 2540 Barrett Avenue, Richmond, CA 94804 | 510-620-6772
Price will be posted in fall catalog. Register at www.therac.org or call 510-620-6772.

Document a trip or investigate your everyday life through collage. In this class, you’ll have the opportunity to create a small series of collages, bind your collages into a book or sew smaller collages together to create a larger work. A variety of book structures will be taught. You’ll work with your own meaningful materials, as well as create painted and textured papers and incorporate mixed-media into your work. $30 materials fee. Bring to first class: brayer and painting apron. Optional: acrylic paints, stencils, rubber stamps. Additional materials to be discussed at first class.

 

Manhattan

Manhattan (detail) mixed-media ©2012 Leah Virsik

Paper and Stitch Collage–Mixed Media
Saturday, November 2, 2013 | 10am–4pm
Richmond Art Center 2540 Barrett Avenue, Richmond, CA 94804 | 510-620-6772
Price will be posted in fall catalog. Register at www.therac.org or call 510-620-6772.

In this class, you’ll combine paper, thread and your own meaningful imagery to create a series of small collages. I’ll share a slideshow of collage inspiration and demonstrate techniques to help unify your works. Hand-stitching and embroidery will be demonstrated.
Please bring:

  • a small amount of collage materials if desired (some will be provided)
  • medium (matte or gloss) or Golden soft gel or comparable to use as adhesive
  • 1” glue brush
  • 3-6 sheets of 8”x10” or smaller mixed-media paper or small canvases or pregessoed muslin
  • squeegee for burnishing paper (i.e.: a piece of bookboard, old gift card, plastic squeegee from Tap Plastics, bonefolder or brayer)
  • your lunch

The following materials are optional. Please bring what you like to work with.

  • scissors
  • craft knife (i.e.: X-Acto knife with no. 11 blades or comparable)
  • ruler
  • self-healing cutting mat
  • bookbinding awl if you have one (or T-pins will be provided)
  • PVA (polyvinyl acetate glue) to adhere cardstock or heavier paper
  • colored pencils, stamps, ink pads
  • acrylic paints, a few colors including a white or titan buff and a dark brown or black
  • brayer and/or paint brushes
  • a tapestry needle, embroidery thread and beeswax for hand sewing
  • a sewing machine

Upcoming Collage and Book Arts classes

Pocketful of Identity

©2013 Leah Virsik Pocketful of Identity: Documenting a Trip to LA found papers from a Southwest Airlines in-flight magazine, thread, machine-stitching and paint 5 x 4 1/2 x 1/8 inches

The Artist Book: Folding & Binding Basics
4 Mondays: June 3, 10, 17, 24, 2013 | 6:30-9:30 pm

Autobody Fine Art is thrilled to offer another class by artist Leah Virsik. This class is a primer in artist bookmaking. This class will cover some paper folding basics including accordions, books using one sheet of paper, and two different pocket folds. You will develop content using collage and paint and bind your books using a pamphlet stitch. Hand-stitching and embroidery will be demonstrated. These books are great for documenting a trip, visualizing a goal or working with a theme that is meaningful to you.

Please bring an 18″ ruler, cutting mat, bonefolder, scissors, craft knife and if desired, a small amount of collage materials to first class. If you have a square or rectangular transparent ruler or an L-square you may find those helpful. Some materials will be provided. Additional tools and materials will be discussed at first class.

Total Cost: $180.00, payable in advance by check to Leah Virsik at
Autobody Fine Art 1517 Park Street, Alameda, CA 94501
Please address any questions to jacqueline@autobodyfineart.com
Cancellation fee of $25.00


Chicago: Manufactured Memories

©2012 Leah Virsik Chicago: Manufactured Memories found and painted papers and thread on muslin, 10 x 18 inches

Collage: Navigate Your Journey–Mixed Media
6 Wednesdays, June 19 – July 31, 2013 No class July 3 | 6:30pm to 9:30pm
Richmond Art Center 2540 Barrett Avenue, Richmond, CA 94804 | 510-620-6772
Member: $135.00 | Non-member: $150.00

Document a trip or investigate your everyday life through collage. In this class, you’ll have the opportunity to create a small series of collages, bind your collages into a book or sew smaller collages together to create a larger work. A variety of book structures will be taught. You’ll work with your own meaningful materials, as well as create painted and textured papers and incorporate mixed-media into your work. $30 materials fee. Bring to first class: brayer and painting apron. Optional: acrylic paints, stencils, rubber stamps. Additional materials to be discussed at first class.

Register here or go to www.therac.org or call 510-620-6772

Mini Coptic Books

©2013 Leah Virsik Mini Coptic Artist Books painted papers, found bookboard and thread, 3 1/2 x 2 1/4 x 5/8 inches
Mini Coptic Artist Book–Mixed Media
Saturday, August 3, 2013 | 10am to 4pm
Richmond Art Center 2540 Barrett Avenue, Richmond, CA 94804 | 510-620-6772
Member: $80.00 | Non-member: $90.00
In this class, you will paint a large sheet of paper and tear it down into pages to bind into a small hardcover coptic-bound book. This book with it’s functional herringbone spine opens flat. Detailed instructions will be included to make more books on your own. Some prior bookbinding experience is helpful. Bring a bonefolder, ruler, and painting apron. If you have a brayer, stencils and awl bring them. $15 materials fee.
Register here or go to www.therac.org or call 510-620-6772

Paris 2103: 2nd post

PoetryisLife

Photo is just a detail of  “J’avance donc je pense”, the larger images you can see here: Curius et Valérie Fraigneau pour la RATP Click on the pink + sign in front of Nos Réalisations pour la RATP

Loved this inspiring Ted talk by Amanda Palmer about the Art of Asking. It brought tears to my eyes. Amanda Palmer talks about her connection with people that have made a difference in her life. It made me think of  how I found the video in the first place: it came through my inbox via a Fractured Atlas email. Kathy deRosas told me about Fractured Atlas in a critique group led by by Lisa Kokin. I first saw Lisa Kokin’s work in Oakland’s Clerk-Recorder’s office because Tom and I were applying for our marriage license. And if I go full circle back to Amanda’s talk, Tom asked me to marry him in a very artful way. Pretty interesting connections.

Back to Paris… I had created a fantasy of what Paris was… not that it was necessarily different from my imagination but actually going there made it concrete. It’s a magical place and one just can’t get to places in one’s imagination. You have to go… and for anyone who wants to go I say put it on your list and make it happen and stay for as long as you possibly can. We stayed for a week… which wasn’t nearly long enough… but it was nice to have that depth to be in one place for an extended amount of time. Yesterday, I just happened to pick up the book from the library Interviews with Artists 1966–2012 by Michael Peppiatt who lived in Paris and it seems my exploration of this city seems to just have begun.

I felt like I needed to go the Musée du Louvre but it wasn’t a place I wanted to spend a lot of time. I saw Johannes Vermeer’s Lacemaker and Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa (La Joconde). I’ve heard that people usually think it’s smaller than they expect so I thought it would be really small but no it was bigger that I expected. We got a little lost in the massive hallways and Tom stopped me and pointed out Giovanni Pedrini Giampietrino’s The Death of Cleopatra. Later at The Centre Pompidou (must see for contemporary and modern art) he found a piece that looked as if it was directly inspired by that piece. Pretty amazing and I’m glad he was with me. He’s great at making connections and seeing similarities in seemingly disparate things. The Centre Pompidou also had a special exhibit on Chris Marker which we didn’t get to explore but it was a treat to see his film La jetée. We rented La jetée/Sans Soleil via Netflix prior to our trip after I found it on a top 100 list. La jetée is amazing while to me Sans Soleil felt a bit self-indulgent. I saw the blockbuster film Lincoln right after Sans Soleil and while they are completely different, afterward I had a greater appreciation for the more personal Sans Soleil.

Here’s a funny post by Ken Wooi about his trip to Paris. Tom found it searching the for the snake painting that I didn’t know the name of above (Gaimpietrino’s The Death of Cleopatra). He found that too. 🙂

More soon…

Paris 2013

ParisStreetArt

Paris was fabulous. Photographs above are some of the street art Tom and I found walking around our fabulous Hotel des Grandes Ecoles. Tom and I went for seven days along with some fellow runners who ran the 30km Ecotrail de Paris… our official excuse for going. Some of our highlights were visiting an American artist Marcus McAllister who has lived in Paris for 17 years. He’s very warm and an incredible artist. I discovered him by googling “an artist in paris” and found a couple of great Cynthia Morris videos of him: Marcus McAllister: Being an Artist in Paris and The Dreamed Journal. Another link regarding Marcus: hipparis.com. Also, following Cynthia’s suggestion we went to the delightful Sennelier art store across from the Louvre. I could have stayed in there for hours. They had all kinds of different papers from different countries kind of like how you see food labeled here.

Anthony Bourdain’s Layover: Paris show recommends a list of restaurants and other things. Berthillon really is the best ice cream in the world. Le Comptoir du Relais was very tasty and I enjoyed ordering all by myself in French from the L’Avant Comptoir crepe window.

I went out to the Paris Flea Market and met some other women who were also looking for it. I did find a market of 250 shops although I’m sure there were more. One has to go through a lot of low-end clothing and sneakers before you find the good stuff. I did find some old thread spools. They were fun to buy. But I imagine in most countries if you don’t know the language… communicating that you want to buy something seems like an easier thing to do.

In this interview David Sedaris turned us on to the fabulous Picard. It’s a store full of just frozen food. If you’ve wondered where your frozen French food comes from in Trader Joe’s… I’ll bet it has something to do with Picard.

I discovered L’Addresse: Musée de la Poste walking around and seeing a window that described the museum. There was a lovely exhibit of Anne Calas and a great street art exhibit as well. It was so good I went twice. Totally opposite the Louvre… great place without any crowds, ever, I imagine. Le Petit Pointoise was a wonderful place for dinner. I had wonderfully cooked swordfish at Pramil. Overall we had really good food. Le Tastevin on Ile Saint Louis was our favorite restaurant… right across from Berthillon where we did go for a second time.

More soon…

AEDM Challenge Day 15

I had a lot of fun painting and making books tonight with my friend Nan Watanabe. This is the paper I painted that would fit into the scanner and that didn’t turn into a book. I enjoyed turning the wet paper over and pulling it off other paper making it look distressed.

AEDM Challenge Day 14

Defining Space

©2012 Leah Virsik Defining Space found paper and acrylic painted rice paper on muslin 6 x 6 inches

So there is something interesting about just showing up and doing the work. I’m working on different things every day. It’s hard to just do one format as much as I would like. I get bored I think or I’m just not disciplined enough or there are too many things I want to do and I’m distracted. Anyway, this is a book cover I did this week. Last night I bound it. I’ll get some pics on flickr eventually. There was this discussion between my multiple selves about doing a collage or binding the book and binding the book won. I love the process of binding. Maybe it’s about following steps, figuring things out that is really different from creating collages… at least in my mind. I think with book binding you know when you’re done, it’s clear. There can also be a very clear realization when a collage is done but you don’t know how many steps it will take before you finish. Well, but if one planned out collages  then it might be more clear. Ahhh. What is interesting is that I’m posting no matter what. It ends up being less about creating work and more about posting or documenting. It’s something I don’t want to give up, I don’t want to miss a date. I want to push myself just that much further because this isn’t that hard. And then there’s something really satisfying about having posted…accoomplishment… perhaps very similar to binding a book.