Open Studios 2016: Virtual Redux

April showers brought May flowers…and May, of course, brought the Long Island City Arts Open Festival.

Last year I went all in, participating as much as I could in all the ways that were available: silent auction, group exhibits, even volunteering a bit of my time as admin support.

This year I had to make the tough decision to scale back my involvement so that I could fulfill a commitment I made to myself in January – to debut a wall full of brand new work at the Open Studios weekend.

Work in progress - ready enough to be put into frames and viewed!

Work in progress – ready enough to be put into frames and viewed! Curious about the empties?  I worked on two pieces during the open studios and managed to fill one of the frames by the end of the weekend.

For those of you who were unable to make it to the festival itself (or ran out of time to see all the things!) I’ve curated some photos and put together a virtual open studio.

Prepping for Open Studios began the Monday before the weekend.

I kicked off the week with a big spring cleaning, which included opening up my air conditioning unit, vacuuming it and washing out the filter.  My studio is now SERIOUSLY CLEAN.  Next came the organizing.

Since the room layout worked so well last year, I moved my tables into the same configuration.  Then I packed up some of the older work I had on display to make room for recently finished pieces and works in progress.

This year I opted to have less work out and to keep my table surfaces clean and free of clutter.  With the exception of a few pieces, most of the work was featured on shelves or on the wall in frames.  It made for a clear and focused presentation.

View from my work desk towards the open door.

View from my work desk towards the open door.

Of course the work table I was holding court from during the open studios was suitably animated with the tools of my trade – wouldn’t want the space to come off as TOO sterile!  One of the things I like to see as I visitor to an artist’s studio is their process, so I always have a piece or two that I’m working on while folks walk through.

Work table from the visitor's point of view.

Work table from the visitor’s point of view.

When I wasn’t chatting or answering questions I made very good progress on a piece from the Psyche series.

Detail of Attacus atlas, the largest piece in the Psyche series. 16"x20", framed.

Detail of Attacus atlas, the largest piece in the Psyche series. 16″x20″, framed.

For those who wanted to know more about the work I had on display – but were too shy to ask – I hung artist statement sheets up on the wall to provide insight into the WHY behind the work.

Psyche Signage

Like last year, I invited visitors to browse through my sketchbook and examine works in progress to have a sneak peek into my process and how ideas evolve.

SketchbookWIP

On the left, complete transparency. On the right, the first stage in a piece I’m calling “Toad” for now – part of the One Of Us series (inspired by traditional sideshows).

A portion of my "work in progress wall". A few visitors asked if this was an installation in and of itself. Hadn't planned it that way, but the notion does give me ideas ;-).

A portion of my “work in progress wall”. A few visitors asked if this was an installation in and of itself. Hadn’t planned it that way, but the notion does give me ideas ;-).

An essential element of any open studio: a sign-up sheet for visitors to join my community and some take home swag, MOO business cards and stickers featuring classic and new artwork.

Sign Up

A bonus for me this year was convincing my husband to man the studio briefly while I took some time to pop my head into neighboring studios.  I’m happy I took a few moments to connect with some of the fabulous artists that call Reis Studios their art home.

So, once again, the open studio weekend was a wonderful experience.  Such a treat to connect with other creatives and with a public who appreciates and enjoys art. I loved the opportunity to share my new work with new faces…and especially to be reunited with some familiar faces from last year’s open studios.  I am pleased and humbled to be remembered and sought out!

A big Thank You to Richard Mazda, Carolina Peñafiel and the rest of the LIC Arts Open team – I appreciate all you do for the local arts community.

Now to get back to the work I’m going to share when I open up the doors in 2017 😉

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