Friday, November 12, 2010

Redux's Annual Art Auction

It’s one of the art world’s best resources in Charleston, so patrons and artists do their best to make Redux’s annual art auction a success.

“Everybody’s work in the show is just as special as all there other pieces. Artists will always make something new for our auction. Artists love Redux for obvious reasons, and they want to make sure that we stay here, so they give us their best piece. It’s a really eclectic mix of work this year. There’s something for everyone,” says director Karen Ann Myers.

Over 50 local artists have created 75 pictures of work for Saturday night’s live auction. Favorites of Myers’ include a bench side table that has grass growing from it. An original piece from Tess Thomas. She also likes Bennett Goodman’s “inventive” take on a side table: He added a suitcase to the side for extra storage.

Myers also notes that there’s lots of “really great sculpture” to be had.

The price range of art is from $50 to $1000.

Myers says, “There are all different retail values. One piece might just retail for $10. Say it’s a small print on paper. But depending on how rowdy the crowd gets will dictate what it goes for.”

Redux’s annual auction outgrew its own space four years ago. This year it’s at the Charleston Center for Photography. The spacious venue allows for separate auction and lounge rooms. For those who’ve already made their purchases for the night, the auction will be projected in an adjacent room.

There guests can enjoy donated food and drink from Social Wine Bar, Poogan’s Porch, and Caviar and Bananas. The food selection will be just as eclectic as the art, with even a specialty rosemary and pomegranate cocktail.

Silent auction items include a New Music Collective season pass, an ad in Charleston Art Mag, and a dinner from Charleston Grille valued at over $600.

Tickets can be purchased at the door.

If you go:
Saturday November 13, 2010, 6:30 pm – 10:00 pm, with bidding to begin at 8:00 pm

Charleston Center for Photography, 654 King Street, Suite D

Tickets: $25 /$15 for Redux Members

Monday, September 20, 2010

Robert Francis Opens for Jason Mraz Wednesday

What's that lame country song we all liked in high school? "Two People Fell in Love?" The lyrics are cheesy, yes, but the idea is universal enough: We all exist because two people fell in love (or the modern adaptation, lust).

Robert Francis' creation story sounds improbable; his parents were from different countries and walks of life. It seems as if they grew up in two different worlds. "They did grow up in two different worlds," Francis says, "My mom came to the U.S. from Mexico when she was 18, worked a few different jobs. One was as a nanny. Then she got a job filing different things for a record company. It was a pretty entry level position."

Francis' father was the opposite, a classical music producer who was living in L.A. He's known as the owner of one of the largest sheet music collections in the country.

"My parents met at a Christmas party at the record company."

And that's how this musician came to be. Once content to just play on other people's records, finding love himself is what made Francis start writing music. "Growing up in L.A. is really fast-paced. She was really beautiful and charming, and it was easy to see that she was being sucked away into the vapid Hollywood world. When I put this relationship to rest that was the only part that was killing me: They are out there on their own, and I can’t do anything to help them. I was happy to record on other people’s records until that happened, and then I started writing music."

That revelation produced Francis' first album "One by One." What he describes as a "fairly naive record," was what gained the attention of Atlantic Records, and got him in the studio to record "Before Nightfall."

He has toured state-side with Fanfarlo, Noah and the Whale, and now with Jason Mraz. "Jason's good to tour with because his crowd is a loving group of people that support the opening act, buy their cds."

Francis is playing larger venues in Europe as a headliner. He selling out records overseas. His single "Junebug" has reached number one in France. "I'm like Lady Gaga over there."

He's opening for Jason Mraz, Wednesday night at the Carolina First Arena. Doors at 7. General admission is $35 pre-sale, $40 day of the show.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Holy City Artists and Fleas

Flea markets to me have always been about old tires, do-it-yourself furniture, boiled peanuts, and black kittens. Read: My grandmother dragged me to the Ladson Flea Market in the heat one too many times when I was younger.

Eye Level Art has a whole new take on those things. Every month the art gallery opens its doors to jewelry makers, shoe designers, and consignment shops to give artists a start. Holy City Artists and Fleas showcases the off-the-beaten-path talent in Charleston.

The monthly event started in June and has grown. With 19 vendors and counting lined up to sell their goods on Saturday, you're sure to find something more interesting than a refurbished bike tire.

Stella Maris makes what she calls Affirmation Bracelets. Hand-hammered bronze reassure their wearers with phrases like "I'm my favorite person" and "I take in the light." Her line, Polyester Stella, centers around bronze metal-working. A metal her website says "Copper bracelets have been worn for thousands of years. Copper inhibits the growth of bacteria. It is natural and the most recyled industrial metal world wide."

Love Me Again Clothing offers "ever so lovely vintage and gently loved clothing for women, men, and even the little loved ones."

Taashki Handbags come in both the leather and the vegan varieties.

Charleston Fashion Week Emerging Designer Jamie Lin Snider will also have her designs for sale this Saturday.

The event starts at 10 a.m. at Eye Level Art. 103 Spring Street.

Photos courtesy of Eye Level Art.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Artist's Competition

Karen Ann Myers knows she doesn't have the time to always find new artists. "I can't know every artist in the world, so this is a way for them to find us."

The "way" is the annual call for entries; the "us" is the Redux Contemporary Art Center in Charleston, S.C.

Myers, Redux's director, says, "As a young artist, I need to be exposed to good art to be inspired. We don't have to put on shows that pay our rent, so we can astonish, upset, please our audience. Showcase thought provoking art."

With a deadline on October 23rd, the Redux is now working to fill its roster of cutting edge artists Though they do try to have two or so local artists showcased throughout the year, they are looking for submissions from all over the country.

Currently hanging are sculptures by Tennessee artist Travis Graves. He uses earth magnets. Yes, I had to ask what exactly those were, and yes, I came home and googled it too. Learn a bit here.

Also on display are videos of Pennsylvania artist Cary Graves displaying her sexuality with and in nature. People have commented that it must make father a little uncomfortable, but, no, he actually helped with the videos.

The Redux is willing to go to great lengths for an artist. "We work to make it their dream exhibition. They can paint the walls, floors, ceilings. If someone wants to put a hole in the wall, they can. They have complete freedom to utilize the space."

I met one of the 2010 Redux artists in residence Cory Oberndorfer. The subject matter of the D.C. artist's work is roller derby. Basically candy infused with derby girls. Myers says, "Cory's aim with his art is to create a spectacle. So, I thought, 'What can we do to make that happen?' A parade of derby girls!"

Cory also painted a mural on the side of local bakeshop, Sugar. Became good friends with the local derby team, the Lowcountry Highrollers.

"We also make sure to find people interested in working with the community. Educational programming is a big part of what we do, so we give lectures, hold discussions."

They're looking for exhibitions for the end of 2011 and the beginning of 2012. For application and guidelines, visit their website.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

The Sounds of Charleston

During its first year, Charleston Sound Studios released a compilation CD to get out the word. "Last year we wanted to let everyone know we were here," says Jeff Hodges, owner of and producer and mixer at the studio. So, they gave local artists the chance to record a song for the compilation, to get their name out there on a CD that is shipped nationwide.

Charleston Sound Studios began with Hodges seeing a need for high-end recording space in the city. To put Charleston on the map musically and to help out local acts--indie bands are only charged half of the studio's usual daily rate.

And he definitely didn't skimp. "I feel like it's a studio where even Paul McCartney could be comfortable."

Over the past year, 50 or so local and traveling bands have recorded at Charleston Sound Studios, including big names like Band of Horses, The Indigo Girls, and Grace Potter. They've put together their second compilation CD comprised of 13 local bands. Stand-outs of the album include Megan Jean & The Klay Family Band, Sky Paige & the Original Recipe, and Mary's Got a Band.

Of Mary's song "Polka Dot Tears" Hodges says, "I think their song can be subbed for any pop song on the radio right now."

The CD will be released tonight at the Pour House. 9 p.m. It will also be on sale at local record stores like Cat's, Monster Music, and 52.5. All proceeds go to the Charleston Animal Relief.

Hodges isn't in it for the money. "It's all about the artists, the town, who we're giving the profits to."

He says, "You know how they say you make a million dollars in the studio world? You start with two."

Saturday, July 17, 2010

The Gulf: Really, What Can I Do?

I haven't bought a six-pack of canned soda in a while, but if I did, I know I'd still feel the same need to cut the plastic holder into pieces. So that no small circle remained. "A turtle's head can get stuck in those!" My sister and I would so smartly repeat to one another during our youth. And at 10, that is environmentally responsible. Now it takes a little more.

The Gulf Oil Spill has luckily not affected our Atlantic beaches. Yet. The Charleston Aquarium is still doing its part though. Its staff has gone down to the slick waters to save the wildlife. They are dealing with the unseen victims—those that, unlike birds, don’t have a noticeable absence until they wash up on the shores with discolored shells, pneumonia and worms.

Shelley Dearhart, an Aquarium biologist and educator, and Dr. Shane Boylan, the staff veterinarian, have been down to the Gulf to track dolphins and save sea turtles. Working alongside the NOAA and the Audubon Nature Institute, Dearhart and Boylan are hoping to give the animals of the Gulf a brighter future.

On a personal level we're all wondering what we can do.

According to JoBeth Edwards, Charleston Aquarium's Assistant Director of Institutional Advancement, Charleston as a community has been very interested in what they can do. "The community has been so wonderful to reach out to us and ask how they can help on a local level with the Gulf Oil Spill situation. Several board members reached out to partners in the community and the concept of 'Save our Seas' came together."

“Save Our Seas” is a charitable event meant to benefit the aquarium’s efforts to help turtles and other marine wildlife in the Gulf and at home. With the help of Awendaw Green, Sewee Outpost, and Palmetto Brewery, on Saturday, July 17th, from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m., the aquarium will host musical acts the Red Top Ramblers, Henry’s Attic, and will have special appearances from Mark Bryan of Hootie and the Blowfish and Doug Jones and Gary Greene from Cravin’ Melon.

The event will be catered by the Cajun inspired Krewe.

Most importantly, Dearhart will be on hand to discuss her work in the Gulf, what she saw and what to expect for the future as a result of the oil spill. Boylan's colleagues will discuss his findings in Louisiana and Mississippi.

All proceeds of the evening will go towards the aquarium's wildlife care, conservation, and rescue programs.

In her blog, Dearhart suggests a simple way to help the environment. "An easy way to help a sea turtle or dolphin from your own home is simply to shop using reusable bags instead of plastic bags." And if I knew plastics were bad at 10, then it's easy enough, right?

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Contemporary Charleston

Sitting in the City Gallery at Waterfront Park Friday night, an interesting question was posed: "Is this a poetry reading?"

It was actually both poetry reading and art show. The gallery brought poets and artists together in Contemporary Charleston 2010. Poets included Marcus Amaker, Paul Allen, Ellie Davis, Bryan Penberthy, and Denny Stiles, who were all to read that evening.

The local poets were matched with local artists for a give and take of inspiration.

Allen says of his partner Benjamin Hollingsworth's mural-like painting: "It may be $60,000 for the whole piece, BUT you get to take me home too. And the arrows." This was after he introduced his first poem by saying, "I always like to throw in a divorce poem, so people know they can go home with me."

Stiles inspired his artist, Sarah Haynes, to paint a portrait. "Denny."

Artist Lynne Riding said of working from Davis' poetry: "It was different for me. This isn't usually what I do, but it's where the poems led me. It was fun." Riding used cracked eggshells to enhance her pink-based paintings.

Amaker opened the reading by saying, "I definitely want the poetry scene in Charleston to be bigger, so this is good. Thanks for showing up."

Juxtaposing talent, blending genres has always been the best way to pull attention from one artistic avenue to another.

Penberthy put it best by saying that the show helped to "blur the lines between disciplines." His poetry also makes it easy for painters; his similes conjure great images: "Like a honey bee--perplexing and dull, dying to end for something sweet."

Someone brought their little girl to the reading. At first, you can't help but think, "How cool! I'm going to do that too one day!" It's like seeing kids at a gay pride parade, a presidential inauguration, college football game or Rolling Stones concert. "They're learning cool things!"

But when Allen read the lines, "The world fully understands. It just doesn't give a damn," the crowd chuckled knowingly. And unknowing, the little girl peered backwards to her mother, asked, "What does that mean?"

"I'll tell you later," the mother hushed.

Which left you thinking, "Maybe this isn't appropriate." Well, more so, it made you realize (the depressing truth), "Damn. She won't have to be told. She'll learn."

But, what better way to learn than through poetry?