Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Inside/Outside: A Look at Oil

"Day 64"

I have started sketching again. It is amazing how if you don't sketch everyday just how rusty you can get. So little time in one single day, but I am committed to sketching again. It helps that this sketchbook has a deadline will be exhibited with other artists that will travel the United States in 2011. I like to make my sketchbooks have a message. My last sketchbook was about the environment with the theme: "The End of the World". It is a tongue and cheek look at the earth's last day. It's on my website if you want to check it out.

Now my theme is Inside/Outside. I had a hard time starting, but with my frustration and anxiety over the oil spill, I decided to sketch about what was happening. So here is my sketch for today.

This is sketch called: "Day 66: They send in Hair." This was the day that grassroots organizations collected truckloads full of hair and put them in nets with pool noodles as floats with the theory that hair collects oil. I am still not sure how much it is helping, but I am still hopeful. It is the only attempt so far that is organic. I am not sure what the chemicals that BP is pouring into the Gulf is doing, but I am sure it is very damaging.

"Day 65: The Total Fatalities to Date... 13"

The real price of oil... When I sketched this I couldn't help think about all the lives that have been lost. I thought of the workmen, their families and their friends. I had this idea of work boots being the sunrise over water, but nothing can put sunlight on the Gulf just yet.

As I continue to work on the pages of my sketchbook, I hope to discover small pockets of hope. If you know of any, please let me know.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

The Arts at St. Johns' Divine Debris and Glorious Trash was a hugh success!

I was happy to be involved in an eco art exhibit and to be with other artists who care about the environment by expressing themselves with reclaimed materials. I had a great time and was really impressed by all the people that showed up to the event. The Arts at St Johns has a small budget to market and promote their events, so I watched in amazement how they did it.

The Arts at St. Johns did most of their marketing through Facebook. They made Facebook Note Pages for every artist which was treated like a short bio and then talked about each artist on Facebook leading up to the event. At the event the same note page was printed out and hung up next to the artist's work.

They also maximized their email lists and made it easy for the artists to send an email blasts as well. I was happy to find a pdf of a poster in my email to send to everyone on my list a few days before the event. In addition to the social networking and getting other websites and bloggers to promoted their event, they were able to get a lot of press out to the event as well.

Carol Hoffman-Guzman, curator and arts administrator at Arts at St. Johns, and friend at the welcome table. They handed out ballets asking everyone to vote for their favorite art. It was a great way to collect information on who attended the event and then add them to their email list for their next event.

Paula Turk, co-curator/artist, and friend in front of her metal work.

Dan Walker being interviewed by a journalist. I was amazed to see how many people were there to document the event. Chanel 2 was there as well interviewing all the artists. It was very loud in the gallery, Chanel 2 had a small digital camera and a battery microphone to interview everyone. I am anxious to see how that turned out. We should be able to see it next week sometime.

Stefan Von Fonts with his interesting use of cans poured with resin surrounded with metal pipes. He also created the piece below with Scott Hickey. He created the piece onsite using the plastic water bottles that people brought to the event.

Art by Scott Hickey and Stefan Von Fouts

"The Wish List: A Plastic Bag-Free City" by Nancy Martini

Here is one of the pieces I exhibited at the event. The theme of the event was Miami Beach, so I wanted to created a piece that had an eco message and also said Miami Beach. The background is made from fused plastic bag and the borders are coat hangers wrapped with soda cans. The attached pieces are aluminum pieces and bottle tops and plastic water bottles.

My wish for all Miami Dade is to become plastic bag free. It is such a simple thing to do and would make a hugh difference.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Nancy Martini's Eco Message to students in England

Students in England study my work to create their own eco art exhibit!

"Hope: An Ocean of Peace"

Last week, I got an email from a teacher in England. She told me that at the school where she teaches they were having a eco day at their school. They were researching eco artists on the internet and came across my work. They looked at my YouTube videos and my website to understand how I created my art and then they created paintings to replicate my painting called: "Hope: An Ocean of Peace."

Featured about are the beautiful painting made by 8 and 9 year old artists from Pebsham CP in East Sussex, England. Guided by their supportive and creative teacher, Karen Lindsay, the students saved reclaimed materials for three weeks prior to creating their works of art.

I was so proud of the art the children created that I took this photo of the student's art and I displayed it next to my paintings at my last art show for the Arts of St. Johns' in Miami Beach called Divine Debris.

The students' work are as beautiful as they are expressive. I believe that the earlier children understand the importance of using reclaimed materials the more they will naturally acquire the habit of reusing everything before putting materials in the recycle bin or the trash can.

I really enjoy talking to students and I think it is everyone's responsibility to nurture and guide children whenever they reach out to us. For this reason, I decided to send the students at Pebsham a video response to encourage them to keep thinking green and to congratulate their efforts.

My video response to the eco art students...

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Encaustics, My Next Adventure...

Last weekend I attended the 4th Annual Encaustics Conference at the Monserrat College of Art in Beverly, MA. I have been experimenting lately with encaustics because I have been drawn to the simple process of painting with the natural medium of beeswax and tree sap/resin.

Beeswax smells and feels heavenly delicious to me. When I touch the warm wax, I have the same warm and cozy feeling as I do when I drink a warm cup of hot tea on a cold night. It soothes me like no other medium I have ever used before. Even though I am new to encaustics, somehow I feel like I have been using it my whole life.

(Judy Klich, Robin Van Hoozer and Ruth Ann Muirhead-Stephens)

I am not alone with my passion for beeswax. At the conference, I experienced something I never had happen to me before with a group of artists. Every artist that I met was warm, open and willing to share every secret, every gained experience with grace and generosity.

When I returned to Miami, I realized that not only did I learn a lot about encaustics, but I also learned what it feels like when a whole group of artists share, support, encourage and inspire each other openly and honestly.

A few days after the conference I happen to ask an artist in Miami about their technique. The artist said he couldn't tell me because he said it was his secret and couldn't share that information. I smiled and thought about what I had learned and about the best kept secret of all: helping others is the first step toward success.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Divine Debris or Reclaimed Responsibility?

June 15th at 7pm is the opening reception of the Arts of St. John's Divine Debris & Glorious Trash and I am very proud to be exhibiting along with other local ecoartists at the Miami Beach Botanical Gardens. I have been working with reclaimed materials for as long as I have been creating art and I am so happy that it is finally something that other artists are now willing to try.

Trash? I realize that some artists that use reclaimed materials sort through dumpsters, but with so much trash surrounding me I don't need to search for trash... the trash comes to me or is discarded along my path. Somehow all sorts of materials find me. The only exception is when I am working on a project where I need a commonly used material, like foil for example, I usually just ask a few friends to save some for me and they are happy to help me and the environment and kindly leave it on my front porch.

I live on a busy street and trash is constantly falling off trucks and landing in my front garden. Last summer when the city put in water pipes all down my street and left metal straps all over my garden, I didn't call the city and complain with the rest of my neighbors. I just quietly cleaned my yard and tried to think what I could use the metal straps for. After consulting with a really creative friend, my family used the metal with some reclaimed wood collected from old garage doors to build a treehouse for our children. We were able to build it without using nails that would damage the tree. The metal was wrapped around the wood against the tree in a corset like construction. And yes... I checked with the tree experts first. It will not hurt the tree and will be removed in five years to allow for growth.

It's not that I see trash and see beauty like some artists do. I see the trash and think: what can I do? How can I use that material differently? How can I make a tiny difference? Plus, I'm not exactly the type of person that takes the easy, straight, paved road. I try many times, but it just does't fit because I get distracted, bored or uncomfortable.

I hope you come out to the exhibit, especially Tuesday night for the opening. I will be there along with the other artists to share ideas and possibilities. For me, using reclaimed materials is not about trash at all. It's about sharing ideas of how to think in new ways to live better lives; how to help the environment and to think about how to be responsible for everything we use, touch and discard.