Spring Camp Lineup

When planning for a week of camp, we most often ask ourselves, “What would we want to make… not just at 8, or 12, or 16, but now?”  What frequently follows is a mash-up of memories, internet-travels, and long sought after wishes.  This time around, after much consideration over what’s camp-week-worthy, and what’s super-awesome-camp-week-worthy, we have landed on our very first Spring Camp lineup:

Week 1: MATRYOSHKA DOLL CAMP

March 25 – 29

The nesting dolls that are so popular among Russians and artists alike, will be the focus of our first week of Spring Camp.  While designing and painting a set of five dolls, each camper will be pushed to think beyond the traditional dolls, and find interesting ways for the dolls to interact with each other.  The dolls could become members of a favorite band, or family portraits, or cartoon monsters… the sky’s the limit.  Throughout the process, campers will be instructed on painting techniques andwill be expected to take their art to a new level of detail and execution.  Book Here.

Week 2: SKATEBOARD ART CAMP

April 1 – 5

With the time, skill, and level of craftsmanship that goes into many skateboards, we believe they qualify as moving pieces of art.  And for a whole week of camp, we will delve into the culture and design elements that have held our attention for decades.  Each camper will be given one skateboard deck to work with and helped along the way with instruction on different styles, composition and painting.  At the end of the week, campers will walk away with a finished deck that can be hung as a masterpiece, or transformed into a personalized form of transportation.  Book Here.

Behind the Scenes, Part 2

Almost a year ago, I was at USC’s Innovation Lab, participating in the beginning stages of an thought-provoking transmedia project.  The entire experience was like a smorgasbord of ideas and possibilities, and I walked away with a lot on my mind.  All these months later, I still remember plenty.  Like the first time I saw the sign on the lab’s wall that said, “FAIL HARDER.”

There were a couple other surprising and somewhat subversive mantras stuck up on the wall as well, but “FAIL HARDER,” is the one that lodged itself into my consciousness.  I think there are a couple key reasons for this.  First off – hello, it’s only two words.  For an overly verbose goon, like myself, there is nothing more beautiful than the simplicity of just two perfectly paired words.  And they are perfectly paired.  Together, they are a groundbreaking curveball.  They speak to the very heart of what we want to become… free.

But what happens when you do encounter failure?  As an artist, educator and businesswoman, there is sure to be a lot of that!  What then? Does it smack of freedom, or the same pounding disappointment?  I’d say both.

This past week saw The Art Grist, “FAIL HARDER.”  For all of the physical and emotional energy we put into our muppet video for IndieGoGo, it was a complete failure.  The audio was sad, it was poorly lit and the muppet versions of ourselves were flat.  Late Friday night, after watching the video too many times, we both agreed to call it what it was, a failure.

I’ll admit, I did not feel free in that moment.  Or proud.  I felt aggrivated and insecure.  It took a fair amount of minutes before I could move forward and embrace the sign.  But I did, and we did, but not before trying to learn a little bit from our mistakes. We came up with a plan B, and moved as fast as we could to make it happen.

Plan B is an entirely different video.  No muppets, no script, just us.  And whether the video is successful or not, whether our IndieGoGo campaign is successful or not, I am proud of what we have done.  Each failure brings us that much closer to our dream.

If life is a poker game, then The Art Grist is all in.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R8a1wSCcmqw&feature=plcp

For the past four years,we have been putting together a swell little art camp in the midst of Griffith Park, all the while whispering about the possibility of some day finding a permanent home for truly great art making. That day has come. Our vision for The Art Grist is ambitious, looking to combine classes for children and adults, with a supportive community for artists, and a forward thinking gallery. But to us, these things are meant to be together, mixing and blending like a charcoal drawing.

If this is your first encounter with The Art Grist, please take a look at our gallery to see what we have accomplished to this point. We are educators who live for art, and artists who see no shame in being great educators. Our emphasis has always been on relevent content and quality execution, and we believe that has been shown through the work of our campers. With a roof over our heads and expanded vision, we expect to take each of these elements to the next level.

We have scrimped and saved up for this moment, and we are putting our entire savings into the project. We’re all in – money, time and heart. Now we are reaching out to supporters to make sure that not only can we open our doors, but keep them open. The Art Grist is asking those who believe in our mission to donate, through our Indiegogo campaign. The Indiegogo link to the right will take you to our campaign video and information. Each dollar raised will be the foundation for groundbreaking education, unique events and support for emergent artists. You’re support will make all this happen, and for this we are extremely grateful.

See you at The Grist,

Heather and Kristin

The Numbers

We’ve been doing a lot of thinking on numbers these past few days. I’ll admit that it’s not my favorite thing to do. I’d much rather contemplate the differences in black ink or the way to capture the light that splays out over Zen when he’s napping. In fact, there’s not much else I wouldn’t rather focus my attention on for such a sustained period of time.

But business is about the bottom line (or so I’ve been told way too many times), so I’ve devoted myself to the pursuit of sales forecasts, break-even analyses, and the rate of depreciation for assets. It ain’t sexy. It ain’t even mildly attractive. To be honest, it’s somewhat like staring into the relentlessly plain face of some person you didn’t want to meet at a party, but end up talking to for an hour and a half. Somehow, the conversation continues.

Through each table line and point on a graph, we are asked to place value – the value of services and products, but more properly of art, life and time. And as I click away at the computer, entering numbers into a system that will present for us our bottom line, I laugh at the attempt to tell a story of two lives and one ambitious vision with numbers. These numbers are not us, they are the shadow cast by our dreams.