If you’re looking for Christmas gifts that show your Alabama state pride, look no further than at artist Sony Clemmons’s folk art. Her whimsical Alabama folk art ornaments, prints and textiles can be found in stores throughout North Alabama. [Read more…] about Sonya Clemmons tells inspiring southern stories through her artwork
This week we’re rewinding episode 27 of the Birmingham Shines podcast featuring Birmingham mixed media artist Susan Shoemaker, who works under the name pencilpress.
As it happens, Susan / @pencilpress / is the featured artist for this month’s Birmingham Artwalk downtown.
Susan markets her work under the pencilpress brand, which connects to her college art studies in printmaking and her love of drawing. And she also presses hard with her pencil. Hence, pencilpress.
Susan is known for her animal-focused art and she explains how she conceives and creates animal drawings, paintings and other works.
Art as Calling, Art as Career
We get into art-as-calling (a little bit) the creative process, art in schools and what it’s like to pursue art while working a full-time day job.
Susan also explains how she gave up art for some years after college, while she worked full time, and then returned when she found that art was something that she could not let go.
Susan also talks about some of the challenges that artists are facing—and they might surprise you. One is the challenge of dealing with bad weather during an outdoor art show. Another stems from the frequent requests that artists receive to donate their work for fundraising campaigns. This is something that the artist community, overall, is facing and working to address.
We also talk about the challenge of pricing and value and perceptions of price, time, value and quality in the context of art AND food.
PencilPress.org (not .com)
Thanks to Chris and Ana Newsome for letting me commandeer a corner table at [the original location of Ollie Irene] at 4 p.m. one November Friday afternoon to record the interview and thanks to the house staff for being so accommodating with the request to turn down the background music a bit. Excited that Ollie Irene will soon be reopening in their new location in Crestline Village.
Every week or almost every week, I try to attend an event in Birmingham. I often wonder if people know how many events take place in this area on a weekly basis.
Last week I attended two theatrical performances that were outstanding. One was ‘Rain, a tribute to the Beatles’ it was similar to a performance I saw in London about five years ago. Performers who looked eerily like the Beatles performed a history of the Beatles music. It was a loud rock n’ roll event, but it kept us all entertained for two and half hours.
Friday I went to a performance of ‘Phantom of the Opera,’ which proved to be as entertaining as it was in London. The actor who played the Phantom was exceptional. There were few changes in the production itself, but overall, it was very well done.
I can truly say if you want something to do in Birmingham, you can find it.
This past weekend I attended an event called Music We Stand which was an event benefiting The Color of Music organization in Huntsville, Alabama. This event was a showcase performance and panel discussion in front of an all-star music industry cast for songwriters. The event was geared towards aspiring songwriters who were looking for their chance to make it in the music industry or how to make it in the industry.
About the Color of Music:
According to their website: The Color of Music organization is a youth driven with programs and activities geared to motivate kids of all ages. They teach children the values of life through the arts; music, spoken words and visual arts. We believe spending positive and creative time with our youth will help provide a safe avenue for their untapped creativity and keep them off the streets. The organization is for children of all ages that strives to connect young dreams with music industry leaders; giving everyone a chance to live out part, if not all of their dream while working together in year round entertainment. Our professional staff and volunteers are dedicated to the mission. We welcome and facilitate the development of strength and character of all who participate regardless of race, creed or national origin. I hope to give more volunteer hours to this wonderful organization.
Photo: Grammy nominated songwriter Clay Mills who wrote the hit song Beautiful Mess for Diamond Rio and he also is the owner of Songtown a website for songwriters.
Social Media is such a big part of our lives now, rightfully or regrettably so, and because it is such a big part of our life, I wanted to give you a list of some of my favorite Southern Instagram accounts. I will probably get in trouble for not listing some favorites, a strictly unintentional act on my part. I hope I can be forgiven, in time. These accounts are my particular favorites because of the beautiful way they have photographed the South and they tell the story of life in the South far better than I could ever do in words.
My ever-evolving list of Southern Instagramers who have inspired me. Click their handle to be taken directly to their account:
- @SouthernTravels – Justin explores all things South
- @jdcrowe59 – Cartoonist with AL Media Group
- @susancowart -Susan, Nature photographer and grandmother
- @objectivityrach Rachel proceeds go to rescue victims of Human Trafficking
- @1818farms – Breeder of babydoll sheep and event venue in Alabama
- @nwbama – Steve Minor Nature, landscape photography
- @dukemanorfarm Northern Georgia Farm
- @happydaysfarm North Carolina Farm
- @picturedixie Photos of the South
- @gilmerdairy Will and his dairy farm in Alabama
- @soulgrown_birmingham The Soul of Birmingham, Alabama
- @mariandajohnson Miranda Nature, Travel, Animals
- @steelcityurbex -Birmingham, Alabama
- @_raygun_ Native Texan
- @matt1782 Alabama, Tennessee, Maryland
Note: Look for my an updated account list in early 2017. In case you were curious, I am on Instagram too. …. @_karakennedy