Category: Contemporary Art

Make the Yuletide Gay with Judy Garland and Liza Minnelli in the JUDY GARLAND CHRISTMAS SPECIAL and with Tennessee Loveless

It’s Christmas eve, and we are announcing the release of a new original Art Outsider image by Tennessee Loveless, and offering some great retro Christmas cheer!

Liza Minnelli: Songbird of Broadway

Liza Minnelli: Songbird of Broadway Art Outsiders image by Tennessee Loveless
Liza Minnelli: Songbird of Broadway Art Outsiders image by Tennessee Loveless

and offering up the absolutely wonderful Judy Garland Christmas Special where she and her mother sing together.  This Christmas television at its best, and how great to be able to watch it online in preparation for the holiday!  Need to wrap presents, make eggnog, or practice your dance steps? THIS IS THE SHOW! (commercials circa 1963 included!)

HAPPY HOLIDAYS FROM Tennessee Loveless, and all of us at ArtInsights. Celebrate being an art outsider, whatever art you do. <3

Here is the bio we just cobbled together (and were blown away by) of a consummate performer, who took her genes and worked hard to surpass even her own parents:

Liza Minnelli was born into show business royalty.  Her mother was the luminous actress and songstress Judy Garland, and her father was film director Vincente Minnelli.  Talent and magnetism was part of her genes, but so was an intense pressure to succeed and live up to the expectations that surrounded her from the first day of her life. Succeed she did, winning an award her mother was nominated for but lost twice, the Academy Award.

Named after her birth on March 12th, 1946 for Ira Gershwin’s song “Liza (All the Clouds’ll Roll Away)”, her first performance on screen was in her mother Judy and Van Johnson’s movie “In the Good Old Summertime” at three.

After studying at the High School for Performing Arts in New York, she started performing onstage professionally at age 17, winning a Theater World Award for her work in an Off-Broadway revival of the musical Best Foot Forward. Shortly thereafter, at 19, she won her first Tony Award as the lead in Flora the Red Menace. At the same time as she was treading the boards on Broadway, she was building her renown as a cabaret singer and began releasing records. Even early on, she was dubbed as ‘Barbra Streisand’s little sister’ by critic and music journalist William Ruhlmann. She went on to win one of only the Grammy Legend Award and became one of only 16 people ever to win a Grammy, Tony, Emmy, and Oscar.

On film, she will always be best known as Sally Bowles in Cabaret, for which she won an Academy Award.  She also  got nominated several years before, at age 23, for The Sterile Cockoo, which is when the world really discovered just how talented the daughter of Judy Garland was.  She was unstoppable.

Few will ever surpass Minnelli’s spectacular performance on the made-for-television special Liza with a Z: A Concert for Television. Teaming up once again with Fosse, she danced and sang in an unforgettable red dress and really brought his genius, unmistakable choreography to life.  If ‘jazz hands’ were a person, this would be like the day they met the queen.

Her personal life has been more challenging.  She lost her mother in 1969 at 23, after which she was prescribed Valium, an experience she points to as the beginning of her alcoholism and drug abuse.  She has been married and divorced four times, the first of which was to Peter Allen, whom she reportedly walked in on with another man. Of the event she jokes, “I’ll never surprise anyone coming home as long as I live. I call first!”

She was also married to Jack Haley Jr, the son of her co-star in The Wizard of Oz, Jack Haley, who played the tin man, as well as stage manager Mark Gero, and concert promoter, David Gest.

In later life, physical difficulties due in large part to a case of viral encephalitis have also variously plagued her. Following the illness, doctors expected her to be wheelchair bound and possibly unable to speak again.  Tenacious to the last, she took daily vocal and dance lessons and performed again in 2001, taking the stage with Michael Jackson to perform songs at his concert at Madison Square Garden.

Liza is not only an icon, but also a committed alley to the LGBTQ community, and has donated many hours and funds to charities including amfAR.   She recorded the song “The Day After That” to raise money for AIDS research, performing the song in Central Park at the 25th Anniversary of the Stonewall riots.

Liza Minnelli is a beautiful example of a woman who not only rose to expectations placed on her at birth, but soared above them.  She remains one of the most beloved icon of women of stage and screen. She turned the tragedy of her mother’s life and struggles into inspiration to find joy and success.  Regardless of her own challenges, fans will always love her, not because she is the daughter of screen goddess Judy Garland, but for herself.  Liza has lived on her own terms, shining her own inner light and bringing it to the world.

 

Artist Insights: Andrea Alvin talks about her new work “Samuel’s Candy Canes”

I have enormous respect for contemporary artist and former partner in Alvin and Associates with famed cinema artist John Alvin, Andrea Alvin, and so I spoke to her about her great new piece, Samuel’s Candy Canes.

She has been actively working as both a commercial and contemporary artist since the 70s. With her partner John, she was part of creating iconic movie posters like the ones for Blazing Saddles and Young Frankenstein and more recently, the advance for Tim Burton’s Batman.  All the while, she was honing her style and aesthetic as a contemporary artist focusing on nostalgic imagery.  After losing John suddenly to a heart attack in 2008, she wrote a successful book about his career, The Art of John Alvin, and is now slowly getting back to her own work. Andrea Alvin is creating intensely evocative paintings of objects that bring us back to our childhood memories, through visually considering and sharing memories of her own.

Her new image called “Samuel’s Candy Canes”, inspired by candy in Samuel’s Sweet Shop, in Rhinebeck, New York,  is both a celebration of the season, and a choice to lean into joy, regardless of the time of year or the darkness of our current circumstances.  I spoke to Andrea about this new piece, her career, working with her famous husband John Alvin, and her perspective still creating, 40 years later, while continuing to change as a person and an artist:

LC: You went to school with John, right?

Andrea Alvin: Yes, I went to Art Center College of Design, and actually I was a few years ahead of him.

LC: How did your aesthetic develop for nostalgic realism? Or is that how you’d describe your art?

AA: When I first started coming back to painting, I was stuck.  I didn’t know what to paint.  A friend of mine said, “Oh my god, your house is so full of stuff! Collectibles, and all kinds of things everywhere…why don’t you just paint your stuff?” That’s how I started just going around with my camera and editing through the camera and taking pictures and painting those scenes.  In a lot of them it just was a view of homey-ness and somebody’s things. We had a lot of collectibles and toys around the house, so it started that way. As I started to refine it, I started thinking about what made me happy to look at, and what I wanted to say, I realized having my major in school in advertising design, I’ve always been focused on popular culture as it relates to advertising, and growing up as a kid in the 50s it made a real mark on me.  One of the things I realized is there are a lot of iconic things in  our everyday lives that were iconic then and are iconic even now. That’s where I started trying to focus on Americana and what was very American.  What makes us who we are. What was interesting to me and special to me as a kid and what is also special to my daughter, or a younger generation.  Or my grandson.

LC: When you say you were returning to painting, what do you mean?

AA: I graduated from school, and worked in animation up until John’s career started taking off, and then I had my daughter Farah.  When she was able to go to school for a couple of hours a day, is when I started painting again.  So that was in the late 70s.

LC: What did you see as nostalgic then?

AA: I don’t know about nostalgia then, because the things that were nostalgic to me where going back to the 50s. What happened inadvertently was some of the paintings I painted then are still or maybe even more evocative now. Like “Wow! I remember Peanut Butter Boppers!” Those are gone now.  Or “That wallpaper sure is ugly but boy, do I remember it being popular in the 70s”…those things are very nostalgic now.

LC: How did or does being a women in art influence your style or perspective, would you say, or does it?

AA: I never thought about it that there was a limitation for me. The only limitation that I thought of was I didn’t want to be a teacher. That’s what I was told repeatedly as a woman in art. I had to be a teacher. When I was a teenager, and came to New York on a visit, pretty much one of the only artists I remember seeing was Marisol, who you barely hear about any more.  There just were very few woman artists around. I still never thought I couldn’t do it because I was a woman.

LC: What about working with or at the same time as John. He was such a well-known artist in his industry.  That had to be interesting, or a challenge. There are a lot of elements in the finished posters of his or of Alvin and Associates that are your work.

AA: Right.  I’m the “Associates”…It was very difficult.  John was the kind of artist as an illustrator, that if you asked him to paint a train in perspective coming over a hill with a haunted house, he’d just sit down and sketch it, and it looked pretty good! I can’t do that, or maybe I could if I concentrated really, really hard, but that’s not how I worked.

I’m have to be more deliberate and know how I’ll proceed. It made me nervous about painting because if I was going to paint, what was it going to be, and if I paint realism with John around, how is that going to work? Am I going to be compared to him? I just had to put blinders on and paint.  We had different approaches. He would say to me, “Why don’t you do several sketches and then do them in color and go from there?” and I’d just think I would never get anywhere that way! I’d never get the painting done.  So I’d say “Good idea” to him and “No.” to myself and keep my blinders on and go on to how I wanted to do it.  Where being around him was super helpful and what I miss horribly every day is having that other set of eyes when I could say “I’m stuck. I know I need something. Something’s wrong and I can’t figure out what it is.” or the other thing was asking “Is this painting finished?” It’s always a tough call for artists and it’s so important to have someone you respect you can ask about that.

LC: I do remember John speaking of your talent often with respect and appreciation.  He was, as many artists are, a bundle of neuroses, but always very clear about his belief in you.

AA:  I think the big difference in our approaches is that John always wanted to be an illustrator.  He wanted to tell stories.  That’s why he was so well-suited for the movies. I don’t have a problem coming up with and painting things I wanted to paint, whereas when he was left completely open like that, I think he struggled.

LC: You’ve had some success creating official images for Disney and Warner Brothers, but you have found so much more freedom in creating your own work with imagery that sings to you and speaks to your own memories.  Can you talk a bit about the new painting “Samuel’s Candy Canes” and how that came together?

AA: What’s so interesting is that is was just last night that there was a festival in Rhinebeck called Sinterklaas where there are thousands of people coming into our little town and there are activities for children and carolers and it turns the town into a Norman Rockwell Christmas and it’s really beautiful and then there’s a parade.  It’s like a Mardi Gras parade, with giant puppets done by Sinterklaas creator Jeanne Fleming, the same woman that does them for the Greenwich Village Halloween parade. One of the first years I went to Sinterklaas was shortly after John had died.  I brought my 35mm camera and I was taking a lot of pictures. It was just kind of a magical night.  One friend I went with earlier in the evening and then she had to go, and I found other friends who walked with me for a while, and just when I was about to go home, another friend asked me to go to dinner.  It was one of those incredible nights where I was worried about being alone and people just showed up for me.  I took some great pictures that night. I dug them back up.  I was trying to figure out where to go next in terms of subject, because I was tired of coming in really close like the cupcake or the cookie, so I went back to those old photos. There was this great quality of light in them.  The candy canes were inside a store called Samuel’s, which was owned by a guy names Ira.  We were just visiting with Ira and went in and took pictures in the candy store and Ira then passed away a few years ago in a very similar way that John had. He was close to the same age, had a heart attack, he was getting his life together…so it was a perfect thing to create art from being with him that night and those beautiful candies.

The store was bought by Jeffrey Dean Morgan and Paul Rudd.  They own the candy store now.  They wanted to keep the store as Samuels, keep it the same and they figured if they didn’t buy it, someone else would buy it and turn it into something else and it would be gone forever.  So I think that, by them, was motivated by nostalgia and just loving what the store stood for and what it meant to the town. That’s kind of the story.  I went in there last night, and the bucket that they were in was still there. It’s different, but it’s still there.

LC: One of the great aspects of the art is it doesn’t just speak of the holidays.  There’s an element of speaking to holding on to joy and of optimism.  I also see an interesting connection to the time you were still in the midst of grief and found kindness.

AA: I realize inadvertently looking back at my work that lighting, especially since I moved to New York, lighting is very important in the paintings.  Most of the photo-realism, and it’s difficult to call my work photo-realism, but most of the realists I know aren’t concerned with that, they’re concerned with the surface quality. I always have some background light that’s enveloping the subject.  Yes, it’s happy, because you see that it’s candy canes and holiday, but the lighting is warm.  It’s like fireside lighting.  There’s a warmth to the lighting that’s different than if I were saying, “Look!  This is a happy, happy candy cane painting.”  It’s warm.  Most things I see around the holidays with that subject matter would be in bright light, very Christmas-y kind of colors.  This is darker than that.  It’s almost like we’re sitting by the fireside, not at Christmas, but rather, reminiscing about holidays gone by, and holding on to those memories.

LC: Was that a conscious thing, to create an image that is about moving forward in the face of loss?

AA: Honestly, I don’t know.

LC: I think as artists, you guys sometimes get to a place with a piece, not knowing when you start, where you meant to go, but having gotten there, you realize that was the intention all along.  Like the idea of knowing when it’s done, somewhat comes from having gotten the message into the art, and seeing it fully formed.   I know you have a deluxe giclee that is hand-embellished, and you’re doing it, when often artists farm out embellishments.  Why is it important to you to do it yourself? I know John was the same way about doing his own.

AA: It’s my work and I really wouldn’t want someone else going in and doing some kind of odd interpretation on it.  John and I were both very hands-on. It’s why we wanted to be the people who created the art instead of the art director who guided someone else doing the art. We’ve both been art directors. I think that I look at it from the beginning from that point of view.  On compositions, I have a tendency to push the boundaries of the canvas. There’s almost a tangency to the sides. I think my compositions can be unusual.  It comes from my design background.

LC: In “Samuel’s Candy Canes”, you get two different feelings visually, one up close and one a bit further away.  That’s cool, and that’s part of your style.

AA: Right. Great! I want people to see the brushstrokes.  I don’t want to have it look like a photograph when you see the art in person.  It looks like a photograph online. It looks very photographic, and they resolve photographically when you stand back from my work.  When you go up close, you see all the brushwork, I’m not trying to hide it, I want it to be part of the image.

New Art Outsiders Limited Editions Released! Prince, Grace Jones, Albert Einstein, Alan Turing

We are pleased to announce new Art Outsiders limited editions! Available now at the gallery just in time for the holidays, are images by Tennessee Loveless from the Art Outsiders, including titles:

Prince / High Priest of Pop

Alan Turing / Codebreaker

Billie Holiday / Lady Day

Grace Jones / Love to the Rhythm

Albert Einstein / King of Physics

These images are giclees on canvas, and each, as with all the Art Outsiders, tells the story of the artist from all walks of life and how they changed the world, despite the struggles they endured as part of their work.

Come see these great new images this weekend and meet Tennessee Loveless, who will also be signing his new book “The Art of Tennessee Loveless: Ten x Ten x Ten Mickey Mouse Contemporary Pop Art Series”.

ABOUT THE ART OUTSIDERS
From Tennessee:
In this project, I will be creating portraits of people who were outsiders of their own field of work. From science, music, art, writing, fashion, and beyond, I will be writing the stories of each outsider’s life, and imbedding it into the structure of their portrait. Here the piece acts dually as a portrait AND a story, and all of them combined will talk about persevering through the darkest of times to create a different kind of beauty that changed the world.
From Leslie:
Tennessee and I seem to mesh really well with the essential elements for inclusion in Art Outsiders.  Some names came very easily, some led to a bit of arguing, and some we both knew instantly just wouldn’t be acceptable for either of us.  In Tennessee’s research, he has sometimes encounted information that made continuing difficult.  But history is fickle.  Artists have sometimes had to be opportunistic, bendable, or have had questionable decisions.  It becomes about a balancing act.  When the destructive nature of their choices overrides how much they have inspired the world to expansion, we have to let them go.  There are certainly some names that are very personal to us, and since it’s our project, we’re ok with that.  We are also learning about people about whose influence we were entirely ignorant. That’s what makes Art Outsiders so beautiful.

The creation of the Art Outsiders project in Tennessee Loveless’s own words:

During the winter out in a warehouse space in Athens, GA I decided to paint something different. I was coming to an end with my project with Disney in where I was painting 100 different things revolving around the same silhouette of the classic Mickey Mouse face. From the beginning of this project, I started with the classic geometric shapes and lines that I was used to, but over the course of  five years my aesthetic slowly started to change, . .and this was primarily forced into the project as .. how can one NOT change when trying to paint 100 of the same silhouettes and not be boring? I became less interested in communicating in color, and more interested in creating different and more complex content for the viewer. As I progressed past each one, my pieces became more saturated and more chocked full of emotional structures. The story became more in-depth, and by the last piece everything became so complex that it was impossible to just start over with anything being ‘simple’.
It was a perfect segway into this new project, entitled “Art Outsiders”, which was created by Leslie Combemale (Cinema Siren and head honcho over at ArtInsights Gallery) out in the Washington D.C. Metro area. Since I was riding on the waves of telling someone’s story and creating dialogues in my last project, we decided to extend this idea into telling the story inside the portraits of people. More specifically, all of these people have something in common, as they were ‘outsiders’ in their own element.
It was something that I could not only physically DO, but it was something that I could relate to. In every bit of the sense I relate to the outsider story. I was born colorblind, and yet continued to pursue my life as a painter. I failed out of art school, and my aesthetic was labeled as ‘nauseating’ by my teachers. I got a 2 bit degree from a no name college in apparel design and couldn’t land a fashion job to save my life.
I still worked.
I STILL worked, and gained recognition for my portraits of drag queens. I mostly showed in bars and coffee houses because no gallery would have me. I had no degree in painting, and no formal training, and wasn’t accepted as an artist in the fine art world.
I still painted.
I STILL painted, often working in the corporate world to pay the bills.. and it would be MANY MANY years until I’d have the chance to show in gallery spaces. I was insidious and relentless with my work. If a city wouldn’t accept my work as serious, I would often move to another place and start over there. I’d walk with my portfolio in the random cities I lived in, often to be turned away because my work was uninteresting and rudimentary.
I kept going.
I kept trying.
I kept doing.
I kept walking into galleries even though I knew I’d be rejected, and eventually people started taking me in. I ended up at the World of Wonder Gallery for Season 1 of RuPaul’s Drag Race in where I showed my work of San Francisco drag queens.
Things began to happen.
Eventually, and by complete accident, I ended up working for Disney in licensing and product development through a temp job that became permanent and expanded into something else, something more. It was here where my work was discovered, and I was given multiple attempts to prove myself as an artist. I was untrained as a painter and sketch artist, and I would fail MANY MANY times before I was pitched to Disney Fine Art.
And even now in my career with Disney that’s done quite well, magazine and television interviews, and multiple product lines developed with my drawings on housewares and clothing, I still am considered an outsider of the fine art world because I was not classically trained, and I have made a living as a commercial artist.
I am an outsider. My work does not neatly fit into any division of a current art movement. My work does not compliment others in group shows…. and I am often the neon sore thumb in a sea of classically trained works.
I am an outsider. I am story teller. I am a painter, and I will never stop working.
In this project, I will be creating portraits of people who were outsiders of their own field of work. From science, music, art, writing, fashion, and beyond, I will be writing the stories of each outsider’s life, and imbedding it into the structure of their portrait. Here the piece acts dually as a portrait AND a story, and all of them combined will talk about persevering through the darkest of times to create a different kind of beauty that changed the world.

The Art of Tennessee Loveless 10x10x10 book releases October 31st!

We are thrilled there is a new retrospective about Tennessee Loveless and his 10x10x10 series, The Art of Tennessee Loveless, releasing on October 31st.  It’s the first ever Disney publishing release featuring an out LGBTQ artist! Edited, with some notes by, and with the book authorship credited Disney insider Dave Bossard, it shows all 100 images from the collection. the 10x10x10 project lifted the iconic imagery of Mickey Mouse into the realm of contemporary art in new and vibrant ways, using the same silhouette but incorporating various world cultural and artistic references.

We’ll have Tennessee here to sign and talk about the project, with limited editions and originals from both the 10x10x10 series and the Art Outsiders.  Stay tuned for the date!  Meanwhile, you can pre-order it on Amazon HERE.

From the Amazon write-up:

“Tennessee Loveless-a Los Angeles-based contemporary pop artist-used bold colors and patterns to create a series of a hundred detailed Mickey Mouse paintings on 10 x 10 canvas. This deluxe art book showcases the beautiful art as well as explores the fascinating world of the artist behind it. Tennessee creates a poetic irony when one considers the fact that he is almost completely colorblind. Despite many obstacles throughout his life and career, he has persevered in pursuing his art. He is driven by his passion for painting people and iconic fictional characters in a way that strikes an emotional and nostalgic connection through the power of color.”

Jim Salvati- Painting, Music, Morrissey, and The Image Projects: The Musician’s Image

Jim Salvati, who i’ve known for over 20 years, is without question one of the most talented artists I’ve ever met. While he’s aware he has a unique eye, and is often very proud about and happy with his work, he’s also very humble about just how rare a talent he is. In fact, he told me when his wife asks him what he’s working on next, he always says “Just making another pizza”. 

He has now turned his focus and considerable artistic insight towards our new partnership called “The Image Projects”, starting with “The Musician’s Image”.

So far, all the art he has created has been commissioned, because we want a limited number of images of the same person or group, and lots of collectors are excited about it and want to “adopt” their favorites.  Jimi Hendrix, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Queen, Green Day, and Morrissey are just a few either finished or in his queue.

Jimi Hendrix “Bold as Love”

Jimi-Hendrix-Jim-Salvati-image-projects

We just got two images he created of Morrissey in the gallery. Sometimes when Jim gets started, he gets so excited about his work after the research and study of a subject, he can’t choose between his many ideas, and that’s when he creates two paintings.  Such is the case for his works of the famed Smiths front man and historic Britpop figure.

 Morrissey “Meat is Murder” detail

Morrissey_ART_Detail_3

Morrissey “Meat is Murder”

Morrissey-Jim-Salvati-meat

Morrissey “Let Me Kiss You” detail

Morrissey2_Detail_JimSalvati

Morrissey  “Let Me Kiss You”

Morrissey2_JimSalvati

I love how these two images capture different times in Morrissey’s career and shifting world view, one is pure musician, in the other, a deeper aspect of him, ever conflicted, is captured.

I’m constantly floored by Jim Salvati’s work.  I sold some of his originals from Harry Potter years ago, and occasionally he has some personal paintings I am able to offer to my clients.  It’s all great, but always shocks me is, even given my high level of expectation, how impressed I am with the finished commissions when they arrive.  He has this way of not showing me any images beyond the concept stage so I become as excited and curious as my clients are. He never disappoints! I’m going to steal a word Jim uses when he’s talking about great images. His art is always “juicy”.

I love that after knowing Jim for over 15 years, he finally mentioned he had worked with the west coast studio Andy Warhol opened in Los Angeles. He worked there early in his career, the year before Andy’s passing.  That’s the way Jim’s life has been.  He’s always got some really cool project, so he rarely looks to the past behind him. He once did a collaboration piece with Herb Ritts for a book and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame exhibition.  He has created album and CD cover art for Radiohead, Ella Fitzgerald, Jackson Brown, Peter Tosh, Curtis Mayfield, The Hollies, and most recently, Frankie Valli. Jim became a licensed official Disney and Warner Bros. interpretive artist, worked on concept art for Harry Potter, Happy Feet, and a bunch of other movies. He still surfs most days (even though he’s not an unbreakable twenty-something) and teaches at the prestigious Art Center College of Design, which he has done since 1985 when he was hired by the legendary artist Phil Hays, who also introduced him to Andy Warhol.

No doubt i’ll find out some other fascinating tidbits as I continue working and spending time with him, but really how much more would anyone to read about him to be very impressed, and not a little exhausted by proxy?

I remember when I was just starting to consider doing proprietary partnerships with artists I love and trust.  I had begun getting really excited about what Tennessee Loveless was doing with The Art Outsiders, and how well it was being received by collectors and contemporary art experts.  One day I was sitting in my gallery, and Jim, who lives in LA, just walked through the door.  For a few seconds I thought I was hallucinating, but then I realized it was indeed Jim standing there with a big smile on his face.  He was exhibiting across the street at an international portraiture competition, (where he would win a place in the top 5, above thousands of other fine artists) had looked up my gallery’s proximity, (literally about 100 yards away) and stopped by.  It was that day we came up with The Image Projects.  

I’m really excited where it’s headed.  If you’re a fan of Jim’s and/or love music, consider adding your name to the commissions list.  You can contact me at the gallery about pricing and payments (artinsights@gmail.com), but I assure you, whatever he does with your beloved favorite bands or musicians will be even better than you can imagine.  I have the art to prove it.

Leslie

ArtInsights

Tennessee Loveless Releases 1st Piece in “Vox Populi” Art Project: “PoMo Patriots” through ArtInsights

When Tennessee Loveless and I started working together on his project Art Outsiders, we were moved and overjoyed at the reception and reaction it got from collectors and fans around the world. Since the start, he has built a solid foundation for the collection, having created images of “Art Outsiders” in a wide variety of important fields, including Andy Warhol, David Bowie, Alan Turing, Billie Holiday, Amelia Earhart, and Divine.  It’s been quite a ride so far, and this very exciting rollercoaster doesn’t seem to be slowing down.  Tennessee is also going full throttle with his own project, Drag Landscapes, and still making great DJ sets through his Beautiful Noise Broadcast, and I’m working to build several other collections with artists, as well as writing interviews and film reviews on Cinema Siren. Enter Vox Populi and PoMo Patriots

We apparently didn’t have enough to do, so of course we decide to do another project together.

It started during the election.  No matter your political affiliation, there’s no denying this country has been pulled apart and an ugly underbelly has been exposed.  People’s rights are being taken away, the integrity of mainstream journalism is being brought into question, there are alarming ethics issues rearing their heads, and that’s just for starters.  Yes, those on the side of the new administration will say all sorts of other things.  The point is, our country is going to hell in a handbasket faster than anyone thought possible, and that’s saying something.

The forefathers and mothers of our country did not fight for our freedom and create a new country so we could light a match and put it to flames. Those same fathers and mothers stood up when they saw injustice, and over hundreds of years, they and countless critics of those in power have spoken out, risen up, and used democracy to keep America the inclusive, welcoming, melting pot it was born to be. As has been said many times, freedom isn’t free. We have to fight for it. We also have to fight to bring this country back together again.

Patriotism isn’t just a word for conservatives.  All kinds of people, whether they’ve been in America for one day, or their family stepped off the Mayflower, love this country.  It’s with this in mind we have started a new American flag project called “Vox Populi”. We are both incredibly passionate about it, and have been talking about it a lot: why we both feel we have to speak through art right now, why we want to call upon the many different voices of dissent in our country’s history, and why we are uniquely placed to do so, since ArtInsights is within easy driving distance of DC and the belly of the political beast. We both might be very busy, but together we decided we couldn’t NOT do it.

This President’s Day, many of us are reflecting on our current state of affairs and how we can make a difference to inspire change.  We thought it would be the perfect time to release the first piece, “PoMo Patriots”, (or an abbreviated version of Postmodern Patriots).

The Sunday before Presidents Day, we went all over Washington D.C. taking pictures of Tennessee holding the original art in front of the monuments to the various people quoted. Below are some of the pictures of our adventure introducing the art to Washington and its important historical landmarks:

Tennessee at the reflecting pool
PoMo Patriots at the Reflecting Pool.
washington memorial
PoMo Patriots on a beautiful February day on the mall.
MLK Statue
Tennessee and PoMo Patriots with the MLK Memorial.
Korean War Memorial
PoMo Patriots at the Korean War Memorial.
Vietnam Memorial
There’s little more moving than people finding those they love written in the Vietnam Memorial. PoMo Patriots is there.
Vietnam Memorial
So many lives lost and represented at the Vietnam Memorial. They died for us, and we must take a stand.
WW2memorial
PoMo Patriots at the World War II Memorial.
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PoMo Patriots at the Lincoln Memorial. The guards were wonderful and kind, and they loved PoMo Patriots.
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Tennessee and PoMo Patriots lands last in front of The White House. He didn’t mean to smile, but the art got such positive attention and several kids told him how much they loved it. He was moved and honored.

We saw license plates from more states than ever before as we drove around trying to find parking on an extremely crowded 70 degree day in the Nation’s Capital.  Surprisingly, we encountered mostly positive responses, ranging from polite curiosity to awestruck enthusiasm.  A few people were truly moved, which I hope meant they got the intense, emotional aspect of how Vox Populi came to be, the passion with which we are approaching every aspect of its release, and what it the project means to Tennessee and I as an artist and an art gallery owner.

To be fair, we did also get a fair amount of shade and side-eye, which would have been more helpful if they could have actually created cover for our exposed ginger skin.  What, though, could they possibly have against two redheads carrying an interpreted symbol of our country? I’d say we all have a lot of work to do.

QUOTES:

Any people anywhere, being inclined and having the power, have the right to rise up, and shake off the existing government, and form a new one that suits them better…..This is a most valuable – a most sacred right – a right, which we hope and believe, is to liberate the world. Abraham Lincoln

Power in defense of freedom is greater than power in behalf of tyranny and oppression…..because power, real power, comes from our conviction which produces action, uncompromising action. Malcolm X

Salvation for a race, nation or class must come from within. Freedom is never given.  It is won. A. Philip Randolph

There is in this world no such force as the force of a person determined to rise. The human soul cannot be permanently chained. W.E.B. Du Bois

We need in every bay and community a group of angelic troublemakers. Bayard Rustin

Courage is more exhilarating than fear and in the long run it is easier. We do not have to become heroes overnight. Just a step at a time, meeting each thing that comes up, seeing it is not as dreadful as it appeared, discovering we have the strength to stare it down. Eleanor Roosevelt

Finally, let us understand that when we stand together, we will always win. When men and women stand together for justice, we win. When black, white and Hispanic people stand together for justice, we win. Bernie Sanders

So long as we have enough people in this country willing to fight for their rights, we’ll be called a democracy. Roger Nash Baldwin

A truly American sentiment recognizes the dignity of labor and the fact that honor lies in honest toil. Grover Cleveland

If you’re walking down the right path and you’re willing to keep walking, eventually you’ll make progress. Barack Obama

Hope will never be silent. Harvey Milk

Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. Martin Luther King, Jr.

America was not built on fear. America was built on courage…. on imagination and an unbeatable determination to do the job at hand. Harry S Truman

If the freedom of speech is taken away then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter. George Washington

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I wanted to include Tennessee’s perspective on this new project , and his impetus for bringing Vox Populi to life:

“I love America.

I love my fellow Americans.

I love my fellow Americans even if they hate me because I’m queer.

I still love them.

I love America so much I am willing to use whatever ability I have, to fight for people to be here.

I love America so much that I am willing to create art as a mirror to show people, even though we were founded on a poisonous colonialist and ongoing imperialistic structure (which I dislike greatly and will continually fight against) that this ‘MELTING POT’ exists because of activism for ALL EQUAL RIGHTS.

I love America so much, that I have used my blood, sweat, and tears to create a piece about a pattern I am ironically terrified of because of people confusing “patriotism” with “nationalism”.

I love America so much that I used quotes of people who fought for inclusivity and equality like Malcolm X, Eleanor Roosevelt, Harvey Milk, Bayard Rustin and more…

I love America so much that I turned their quotes upside down on the flag so that my fellow Americans had to contort themselves beyond the pattern to read what America was about.

I love America so much that I flew to DC with this portrait and stood in front of every monument, INCLUDING THE WHITE HOUSE to talk about the state of our administration.

I love America so much that I fought through my fellow American’s jeers, shade, and disdain for what I was doing.. and yet I was overwhelming met with hugs and tears.

I love this country enough to know when its absolutely backwards and fighting itself… because EVERYONE BELONGS HERE.

I love America.

and yet I am afraid of the thing I love.

Regardless I will fight as an advocate with my cis white privilege ..

because my weapon and shield is a brush and my voice.”

We also displayed the art in ArtInsights, and PoMo Patriots got exactly the kind of reaction Tennessee was looking for, over and over and over.  And…in fact, we could have sold the original four times the day it was seen for the first time, and all to collectors far more conservative than we would have expected!

Everyone contorts themselves and changes their perspective to read the many important messages of those who have loved and worked for the freedom of our country:

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We have limited editions of this piece, (which was sold immediately upon displaying it) and you can find information on it HERE. If you love what you see, stay tuned for more from this project.  We are so excited for you to see it come together! (ps. a percentage of proceeds from the sale of limited editions goes to the ACLU)

10SC appearing at “Drag Friday” on Black Friday, November 25th, 4-7pm at ArtInsights

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Famed Contemporary Artist TENNESSEE LOVELESS Appearing on “DRAG FRIDAY”, the alternate to Black Friday, at ArtInsights Gallery for THE ART OF TENNESSEE LOVELESS one man show, featuring the release of new images from “THE ART OUTSIDERS SERIES” and art from the 10x10x10 series

November 25th, from 4 – 7pm

Reston, VA – World renowned artist Tennessee Loveless will be appearing in person for the opening of the Art Outsiders Borderline Series show at ArtInsights in Reston Town Center, Virginia, on what the gallery is calling Drag Friday.  From 4 to 7 pm, ArtInsights will offer an alternative, a welcome respite, or a unique addition to Reston Town Center’s Black Friday event, “Holidays are Here”.  Outside in Reston Town Center, holiday revelers will be enjoying the tree lighting ceremony, singing Christmas songs, and meeting Santa. Inside ArtInsights, they’ll be celebrating the day with a DJ spinning non-seasonal electronica, cold-weather libations, and an appearance of one of the fastest rising art stars in the LGBTQ community. Collectors and fans can meet Tennessee Loveless, and he’ll be dedicating all limited edition and original art sold from both the Art Outsiders and 10x10x10 series. A part of the profits from all sales that weekend will be donated to SMYAL.org, which supports and empowers lesbian, gay, transgender, and questioning youth in the Washington, DC metropolitan region.  He will be appearing both for “Drag Friday”, November 25th, from 4-7pm, and Saturday, November 26th, 3 to 6pm at ArtInsights Gallery, 11921 Freedom Drive, Reston, VA.  The gallery will be giving away an original piece of art by 10SC to someone attending the weekend gallery events. New images from the Art Outsiders Borderline Series and original art that will be in the 10x10x10 art book will be on exhibit and for sale through January 8th. We will also be unveiling the newest original in the Art Outsiders Series, featuring Kate Bush. As always, admission to the gallery is free. For more information, contact ArtInsights at 703-478-0778 and visit HYPERLINK http://www.artoutsiders.netwww.artoutsiders.net.   

The Art Outsiders Borderline Series includes portraits of people who were outsiders of their own various fields of work. From science, music, art, writing, fashion, and beyond, Tennessee writes the stories of each outsider’s life, and imbeds it into the structure of their portrait. In this series, he adds the dimension of his experience of each artist and their influence on him as a contemporary artist and how they inspire him to persevere with his work and life. Says Loveless, “With Borderline, I reflect on the powerful influence the artists have on me as an artist, but also their influence on this moment in history, and how I see them reflected in today’s society. Sometimes what I paint surprises me, sometimes it saddens me.” Adds ArtInsights owner Leslie Combemale, “If there was ever a time to embrace the power of art to express change, this is it. I love the Borderline Series because it shows how Tennessee, as a painter becoming known around the world, interprets the artists who have already changed the world.”

ABOUT TENNESSEE LOVELESS

Tennessee Loveless has taken the art world by storm in a number of different ways.  After his start painting queens in the drag bars of San Francisco, he worked as an artist in their fine art division.  It was during that time he created the 10x10x10 collection, which involved painting 100 Mickey Mouse heads infused with the details of geography, cultural discussions, emotional landscapes, and abstractions.  An art book, The Art of Tennessee Loveless: 10 X 10 X 10—The Mickey Mouse Contemporary Pop Art Series, will be released in Fall of 2017 through Disney Publishing. His current project The Art Outsiders is represented and premiered exclusively through ArtInsights Gallery in Reston.  New art from that project is the subject of their new show, and includes portraits of Van Gogh, Judy Garland, David Bowie, Divine, Kate Bush, Andy Warhol, Keith Haring, and Marlene Dietrich. You can see all his projects and read his blog at HYPERLINKhttp://tennesseeloveless.com/www.tennesseeloveless.com

See all his art on the ArtInsights website HERE.

ABOUT ARTINSIGHTS

Open and representing a wide range of film, animation, and contemporary art at their gallery in Reston Town Center since 1994, ArtInsights focuses on proprietary projects and artist representation relating to the history of animation and film, and the celebration and examination of popular culture. With artists like John Alvin, Alex Ross, Jim Salvati, and Tennessee Loveless, the gallery builds collections of original and limited edition art for their growing worldwide collector base. See their work and read their blog on HYPERLINKhttps://www.artinsights.com/www.artinsights.comFor more information about The Art Outsiders project and Tennessee Loveless, visit  HYPERLINKhttp://artoutsiders.net/artoutsiders.net.  

For more information about the event and exhibit, contact Leslie Combemale at ArtInsights Gallery, 703-478-0778,  HYPERLINK “mailto:artinsights@gmail.comartinsights@gmail.com 

The Art Outsiders by Tennessee Loveless Premieres at ArtInsights- Loveless Attends!

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Famed Drag & Contemporary Artist TENNESSEE LOVELESS Releases First Images of His New Project “THE ART OUTSIDERS” at ArtInsights Gallery.  Meet ‘10SC’ on May 21 & 22 from 2 – 4 pm 

Reston, VA – In conjunction with the Northern Virginia Fine Arts Festival on May 21 and 22 at Reston Town Center, ArtInsights has the worldwide exclusive premiere of images from The Art Outsiders by Tennessee Loveless. The Art Outsiders is a portrait collection of important and influential creators who, through their struggle and determination have changed the world with their unique genius. The Chicago-based, internationally known artist will be making a personal appearance, 2:00 p.m. until 4:00 p.m. on Saturday, May 21 and Sunday, May 22 at ArtInsights Gallery, 11921 Freedom Drive, Reston, VA. The display of his original and limited edition art will continue as the collection expands, and as sales allow. As always, gallery admission is free. For more information, contact ArtInsights at 703-478-0778 and visit  HYPERLINK “http://www.artoutsiders.net” www.artoutsiders.net.   

The first seven images of the series, which are part of a growing list of over 40 names, include Divine, Van Gogh, Coco Chanel, Andy Warhol, Keith Haring, David Bowie, and Judy Garland.  The Art Outsiders Project is a collection of portraits of people who were outsiders of their own field of work. From science, music, art, writing, fashion, and beyond, Loveless is writing the stories of each outsider’s life, and imbedding it into the structure of their portrait. The pieces act dually as portraits and stories, and all of them combined will talk about persevering through the darkest times to create a different kind of beauty that changed and continues changing the world.

Although he only began working on the project in November, the originals have been commissioned so quickly he already has a backlog from longtime collectors who had pre-announcement access to the list. Art collectors interested in the project can go to the Web page of all current Art Outsiders available for purchase, or can nominate someone not currently on the list for consideration, as names are being added all the time. Loveless decides, from his own perspective, if they fit with his vision of the project. Says Loveless, “I know what it’s like being an outsider. Creating these images, being inside these creators’ lives as I paint them, moves me far beyond what I was expecting. Seeing the collectors connecting so viscerally, being moved too, is the most rewarding experience of my career.” 

His fine art representative and partner in The Art Outsiders project is ArtInsights owner Leslie Combemale. From her perspective, the fact that Loveless is colorblind and limited in his ability to see color, is a fascinating after-thought in considering Loveless’ unique talent and artistic voice.  “Tennessee’s art comes from his entire being, and his life experience. It’s true he has had to choose colors based on psychology rather than a personal visual understanding, but that is only one aspect creating the unique depth of his images. For The Art Outsiders project, for example, he is entirely immersing himself in the lives of the artists he is painting.  He is speaking to their struggle, importance, and relevance. I’m thrilled it’s being so well received. People either love or hate his art, and I think that’s a great sign! It’s true for all iconoclastic contemporary artists”.

 

ABOUT TENNESSEE LOVELESS

Tennessee is inspired by his fascination with pop art, flamboyant fashion and film icons, and the underground drag culture. Although he attended the Savannah College of Art and Design, he began his career in earnest by painting drag queens in San Francisco. Simultaneously, while gaining recognition for that work, he became an product developer and artist at Disney, where he ultimately came to prominence with the 10x10x10 series, one hundred iconic silhouettes of Mickey Mouse’s face expressing a pop journey, exploring the history of the icon, while bringing global, societal, and personal context to the imagery. He has created art for an official selection at the Cannes Film Festival, was honored with a Smithsonian Artist Residency Fellowship, has been the featured artist in Anthology Magazine, and made one of the “People of the Year” in Instinct Magazine. The darling of contemporary art collectors around the world, he has been an artist in residence in Berlin, Paris, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, and Chicago. He’s the 2016 official Summer Olympics artist with designs created for Speedo representing Brazil and USA. More information is available at  HYPERLINK “http://tennesseeloveless.com/” www.tennesseeloveless.com

Loveless comes by his love of drag through his own experience as an accomplished drag performer both in San Francisco and Seattle with Trannyshack, the drag performance group founded by Hecklina at the Stud bar in San Francisco in 1996. He is also the founder and programmer of the Internet music show Beautiful Noise Broadcast, which has since morphed into Gorgeous Sound Underground.  

ABOUT ARTINSIGHTS GALLERY

ArtInsights is a privately owned gallery located just outside Washington DC at 11921 Freedom Drive, Reston, Virginia, in Reston Town Center. In addition to their focus on the art of film, the gallery is displaying the work of The Art Outsiders project, which is a partnership between Tennessee Loveless and Leslie Combemale. Open since 1994, and co-owned by Combemale, ArtInsights is expanding to allow the display of the contemporary work of artists and art projects represented by Combemale Creative, her company for international art consulting and artistic representation. The gallery has Loveless’ Art Outsiders art as well as representative art from his entire career, including drag queens and 10x10x10. Visit ArtInsights at  HYPERLINK “https://www.artinsights.com/” www.artinsights.com. For more information about The Art Outsiders project and Tennessee Loveless, visit  HYPERLINK “http://artoutsiders.net/” artoutsiders.net.  

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Art by Mark Chiarello

ARTINSIGHTS EXHIBITS ART BY MARK CHIARELLO
USED FOR THE BOOK “HEROES OF THE NEGRO LEAGUES”, AND FOR 
THE FIRST COLOR BASEBALL CARDS OF THE NEGRO LEAGUE
April 3, 2008
 
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Reston, VA- ArtInsights Gallery in Reston Town Center has secured exclusive rights to exhibit and sell the original watercolor art used for the bestselling book “Heroes of the Negro Leagues” by illustrator and DC Comics Art Editor Mark Chiarello.  Many of these illustrations were used for the first color baseball cards for the Negro Leagues.   The exhibit will include images of famed Negro Leaguers Satchel Paige, Rube Foster, Josh Gibson, Buck O’Neil, and many others.  Mr. Chiarello will be appearing in person in the gallery opening weekend of Major League Baseball, opening day of the new exhibit, Saturday, March 29th, from 2 to 5 pm.  The show will run through May 30th, or as sales allow.
 
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The publication of the original baseball cards that inspired the “Heroes of the Negro Leagues” book marked the first time most of the players ever appeared on a baseball card.  Mark Chiarello says he and writer Jack Morelli were inspired to create the cards when they visited the National Baseball Museum in Cooperstown, New York where they saw a plaque for a player they’d never heard of, Judy Johnson.   After some research, they resolved to correct the fact that they and other hardcore baseball fans knew so little of these great athletes.  The cards were expanded into a book that was rated 2nd of all sports books on Amazon.com in 2007, with watercolors the New York Times called “evocative”.   Los Angeles magazine said of the book, “Mark Chiarello’s dreamy watercolor portraits transport us back to a league that time (and most everyone else) has conveniently forgotten”.
 
Mark Chiarello is an award winning artist and the art editor of DC Comics, and has done illustration for LucasFIlm, Disney, Universal Pictures, Topps, and Universal Pictures, to name a few.  He has won the comic book industry’s Eisner, Harvey, and Reuben awards.  He is also creating art for instillation in the new Gaylord National Resort in Maryland’s “National Pastime.”  
 
Says ArtInsights co-owner Michael Barry, “We’ve carried illustration art for quite some time, but never anything sports related.  Mark’s Negro League watercolors are so beautifully executed, it was a perfect fit.  He is more than just a skilled watercolorist, with these pieces he’s captured so much more”.  A great deal of research was required for these portraits, and artist Chiarello says he often looked at more than 200 pictures of a player to find the perfect reference to use.  Barry’s partner, Leslie Combemale, adds,  “Of course they are historically important, but they definitely stand alone as great art.  Many know the more famous Negro Leaguers, but these illustrations allow collectors to connect with some of the many unsung heroes who deserve more recognition.  These watercolors offer an opportunity for baseball fans, art collectors, and history buffs to expand how they see the world, as the best art always does, and Mark has an encyclopedic knowledge of the subject.  We’re proud to have his art in the gallery.” 
 
ABOUT ARTINSIGHTS
 
ArtInsights, established in 1994, is a privately owned business located in Reston Town Center, Virginia.  In addition to specializing in creating and developing collections of animation art from Disney, Warner Brothers, Hanna Barbera, and all other major studios,  The gallery is constantly looking for new and important artist of illustrative, animation, and film art to add to those they currently represent.  Their roster includes Chuck Jones, John Alvin, Toby Bluth, Tim Rogerson, Mary GrandPre, and Jim Salvati.  They recently had the international exclusive first release of limited editions of the Harry Potter book covers by Mary GrandPre.
 
 
With more than 30 combined years of experience in these art genres, owners Michael Barry and Leslie Combemale work closely with individuals and corporations to ensure the integrity of their clients’ collections.  ArtInsights is the only art gallery in the Washington Metropolitan area authorized to represent Warner Bros., Hanna Barbera, and Disney interpretive art to the public.  
 
 

 
 
ARTINSIGHTS
ART ~ ANIMATION ~ FRAMING