Todd Hale is a Richmond artist and gallery owner who creates mixed media works. Hale was born in 1973, and in 1996 he earned his Bachelor of Fine Arts in Painting and Printmaking from Virginia Commonwealth University. Since then, Hale has been very active in the Richmond art community.
Todd Hale’s art is an accumulation of his many interests. Originally, he was interested in photography, but that grew into a love of many different mediums. Often, one piece will have screen printing, painting, and collage, all layered together to make one piece. Due to his background in both painting and printmaking, he is able to make complex, variated works.
Instead of showing his pieces at other galleries around Richmond, Hale constructed a gallery within his home, named Gallery 6. His apartment acted as his work space, living space, and gallery for his work, promoting his art through First Fridays and through exhibitions he held in his home. This allows Hale to sell and show his work, without the stresses of working with other galleries, and has allowed him to build a community around his art. I first learned of Todd Hale at a First Friday by accident, and now I always make sure to stop by his gallery to see new pieces.
Currently, Todd Hale has upgraded from his apartment to a larger space across the street that acts only as a gallery and work space. This allows Hale to create bigger work, and show more art at one gallery viewing as the space is larger. In Gallery 6, he doesn't just show his own art, though. He also exhibits work by other artists that he likes.
You can check out his work at his website, or at his gallery! http://toddhale.com/about
Video on Todd Hale from VA Currents on PBS below!
Video begins at 1:37
Unfortunately I was unable to attend this lecture because of schoolwork I had to do BUT I did watch the FaceBook live video which was somewhat comparable.
I thought that the group of people was very interesting this year, and I especially liked the inclusion of an architectural student! I thought that he added an interesting twist on the idea of what constitutes as an "art college" and offered really good insight on the creative requirements of architecture. I also enjoyed seeing recently graduated students like Lily and Eli - they've changed so much in just a few months!
I thought that the emphasis on appreciating the work they're able to do was very enlightening. I think that many people, even at Maggie Walker, take their position of privilege for granted, and don't really know how special their daily life is. I think that this is especially true at an art college as there are so many opportunities for creation, feedback, and display that would not otherwise be offered to someone that age that can prove to be really valuable! I always try to appreciate all of the things that are offered for me at Maggie Walker, especially in the arts program here, and I'm glad that the alumni students recognized the special things they got at art school.
My favorite part of the lecture was the answers to the question asked by Virginia. The architect student's assignment was fabulously vague and confusing, which I loved, but also had to laugh at. I think that it's really a way to expand your learning and creation with weird, open ended assignments like the one that he got. Lily also really showed the intensity that art students must face at college. The "simple" assignments that she mentioned would take me way longer than two weeks to create! I think that people who think that art school is easy or for people with no real job interest should watch this lecture and listen to them talk about their assignments because they're totally intense.
I didn't apply for any art schools due to certain reasons, but I think that for someone who was planning on it, this lecture would be very insightful. I also think that some of the topics mentioned, like weird assignments and opportunities at college, can be applied outside of art school, and I will keep them in mind next fall. This is a really cool experience for Maggie Walker students and the art students who had graduated and I'm sorry I missed it!
For my quarterly experience, I went to the First Friday walk on November 1 with my friends! Usually we go to the regular Broad Street galleries that we like, like the ICA, Gallery 5, and Quirk. We walked around until 9:00 on Broad Street, looking at art but also other fun Broad Street stuff. I talked with some mormons and they gave me a Book of Mormon to have and gave me their number if I had any questions reading it! We also got invited to a haunted house that was being built, but declined. I kind of regret not going to the haunted house now, though.
At Gallery 5, it was Carl Sagan night with live music, so part of the gallery was with Carl Sagan prints and other space themed art. I really liked their Christmas lights display and am very tempted to use that in my room to decorate! At the ICA, there was a piece that was a giant black and sparkly canvas sheet with a small painting of an ocean scene on it in the right corner. I stood in front of that for what felt like forever, just slightly moving my head so that it would twinkle. It was so big that I couldn't see anything else but the piece when I was standing in front of it, and that was the closest I think I'll be to being transported into deep space.
Although I love the ICA and Gallery 5, there is one special place that we love to go to. It is technically named Gallery 6, but it is not on google maps or anything like that, so it is very difficult to find. We have named it Disco House, as last year, it was actually Todd Hale's (artist's) apartment decorated as a gallery, complete with a disco ball on the ceiling. This year, Disco House/Gallery 6 had moved to a larger space next door (yay for Todd!), and it took us so long to find it. We circled the block that it was on for 20 minutes until we finally stumbled upon it. Hale's work is very interesting to me, and uses a mixture of painting, collage, and sculpture. He makes funny masks, decorates skeletons with clothes he has made, collages, and paints abstracted portraits. Disco House is my favorite gallery, and I'm glad that I got to see it again and that he has moved to a new space to accommodate his art!
Murals painted by NILS can be found throughout the world, including but not limited to other American cities like Greensborough, North Carolina, or Los Angeles, California, and European countries such as Belgium, the Czech Republic, and Germany. Since NILS’s murals are so large, they usually paint using long rollers or brushes attached to poles, while on a lift. NILS also does studio work that are essentially smaller scale murals, following a similar pattern of black and white portraits, but instead of walls, they use wood as a canvas.
Since NILS works mainly in Richmond, Virginia, they have also been participants in the RVA Street Art Festival intermittently from 2013-2017. By participating in local art festivals, NILS can meet other local artists, as well as receiving recognition for their work within the space that they live, which is very important for artists based out of one area. Aside from press and festivals, NILS has also built fame by using new methods. By having an art instagram account that shows progress posts and finished pieces, NILS has created powerful social media presence on instagram, currently with 16.5k followers from all around the world!
Below are images from a recent @nilsrva post showing progress on a mural in Waynesboro, Viriginia:
Follow NILS on instagram @nilsrva or contact them through http://nilswestergard.com/contac
Hello! I just got back from an action packed summer, so I have not had time to post, but, nevertheless, I have had time to think about and create art! I am planning on doing two very different pieces, but both are using acrylic paint! I will just be updating this post instead of doing multiple because I feel like having a master post... Below are the two different pieces I am making, and I will update them based on their respective progress. :)
For my head piece, I am doing a 3D collage if that makes any sense. It is a medium sized canvas that is painted white, but will resemble a messy desk when I am done. Not in a traditional sense as I have already added some raised texture and a bottle onto the canvas, but I will put wrappers, tickets, shells, etc. that I have collected over the summer onto the canvas. I will do this while it is flat, hence the desk part, but it is to be displayed hanging.
Not that I thought I wouldn't enjoy making this, but it is super fun to go somewhere and know I'll be able to use my receipts or tickets or whatever I got that day that I would usually be throwing away.
I have learned a lot about the different papers that tickets (especially movie tickets) are printed onto, and how to use the different ink/paper styles to my advantage. I definitely had to throw away some of the more sensitive tickets when I first started attaching them.
My method for placement is actually really fun... Sometimes I have a specific spot in mind for certain pieces, for instance the placement of most of the candy/gum wrappers, pencils, photos, and pennies required a significant amount of thinking, however for some of the other things, I would just hold them over the canvas and drop them and the attach them to where they landed.
A main focus for this piece is making things look organic and rest naturally, and I am very careful to make sure that, when things are actually being attached, they rest in a way that is natural and how they would actually sit. It was very difficult with CD and lighter specifically, and I would literally put it where I wanted and find exactly where it touched the canvas so that I could attach it there and have it rest naturally. The method I am using to attach things cannot exactly be reversed, so I am extremely careful to make sure everything is exactly how it would be if my canvas was to stay lying flat.
As I said before, for placement of some things I will literally just drop them from a few feet above the canvas and have them be where they land. It feels very freeing to literally just throw receipts at my canvas and know that it will look cool.
My favorite part of this piece is the incense! It was very nice to have some incense burning while I worked, and to not have to worry about ashes getting on anything. The nail polish lid actually works very well as an incense burner (surprising!) and I really like the way that the ashes on the canvas look. Additional fun is that not all of the ashes are fully attached and have rolled around onto other things that are attached throughout my working, which is funny to me.
John Freyer is an artist whose work is based on shared experiences and the community. His work is usually aimed at younger people, and his goal is to bring awareness about a larger topic, such as substance abuse, and he worked with Rams in Recovery at VCU. Although his pieces may look randomly placed, they all have unifying themes and content, even if they don’t look similar. Freyer’s art is for everyone, and appeals to a wide audience. His goal is to involve everyone in the community, not just those who he wants to be involved. For instance, he had a travelling work that he sold on eBay, having it travel around the world to different buyers. Because it was sold on eBay, anyone could purchase the art, showing how willing to give away his art he is.
"I do not want art for a few, any more than education for a few, or freedom for a few."
I watched a video about him wearing a mask and standing in a pond that had a sign that said “deep water” in it, and honestly I kinda liked the visual. He talks about how the park rangers told him to get out and kids threw sticks at him, but that he wasn’t coming out because it was for his art, which I respect. I think that the image of him standing in the pond without water looks really cool too!
I actually really liked the Try-Me Gallery that we visited! It had a very wide variety of art and artists, which I think was super cool. I think that it is super important for there to be spaces that are not formal museums that artists can show their work, such as the Try-Me Gallery. The works there were super varied, so I think that it doesn’t exclude any artist from being featured, and I really enjoyed the mix of more classical pieces and modern pieces. I especially like the story behind the wire people that were made by an unknown artist… Personally, I think that they were made by a homeless person who lived in that building and then died, leaving behind big piles of wire sculptures, but we can never be sure…. :(
My favorite piece that I saw was the Kehinde Wiley because I absolutely love his work, and I felt like I could stare at it for literally three hours straight and not be bored. I was actually very surprised to see a Kehinde because they’re super expensive now, but the lady said that they buy a lot of art from non-famous artists, and it later becomes worth a lot more. It is crazy how quickly pieces of art can become priceless, with a matter of days affecting how much something costs. Anyway, I love Kehinde and I could look at his stuff for so long. The trip was fun and I really enjoyed looking at the art!!!!!!!! >:)
"In my sculptures, the world sprouts plant matter."
This is my favorite work by her (above) and I saw a lot of parallels with my current sculpture with the way that she used plants and ceramics in this one. Her older pieces are more busy and have more colors used (below). They also depict the whole human body, instead of the busts that she has used more recently. I chose to learn more about Cooper because of her use of materials and content. My sculpture uses ceramics with flowers and faces, while hers are ceramic busts with overgrown flowers and floral patterns, so I thought it was fitting. The use of colorful flowers on white ceramics is very similar to my current sculpture, so I felt very drawn to her. However, our content varies a lot, as Cooper is more focused on social, cultural, and environmental commentary in her sculptures, while I am more focused inward on mine, but the product still seems very similar!
I think that her stances on invasive plants and the nature of our economies and culture are very interesting, and she makes a very good parallel between the two. To read more about what I'm talking about:
Here are two different sources to read more about Jess Riva Cooper. One is her own personal website, and another is an article about her work. Enjoy :)
1. What does Jess Riva Cooper draw inspiration from? Why?
2. Even though Cooper uses plants, which grow, what is she really trying to depict through the use of plants?
3. Why do you think that Cooper works sculpturally instead of in 2D?
The lunchtime lecture last week (2/20) was focused on Sasha Waters Freyer, a woman who works in film making. She talked about her life and livelihood - she must work as a teacher to have a stable job, but creates many different types of films and photos as an artistic practice. She tries to connect her job with her passion, and works as an art teacher at VCU for photography and film. I think that her ability to have a job and work with her art is important, as it shows that you don't have to for-go your aspirations to have a stable financial situation. Even her job is related to her art! Not to be sus, but I find it interesting that there are so many adults recently telling me that I should just study what I like, but I never see that many adults in careers that they are happy about. I don't know if it's just because many adults don't follow the advice I'm receiving or if it is unrealistic, but even so...
I also learned about the different types of film making and the film making process in general. Obviously, I am not a film maker, so there were many steps in the film making process that I did not know about. Experimental films, like the one that she showed us, are mainly conceptual, and usually have less of a concrete story, but instead focus on provoking an emotion. Something in her process I found very interesting is the way that she rephotographed old film to make high quality videos of older film. In contrast to her experimental films, she also works on documentaries. I think it's crazy how much time making a movie, like her most recent Garry Winogrand: All Things are Photographable, takes. I can't imagine consistently working on a movie for two years. Also, I found it interesting how expensive making something like a documentary costs. I figured that it would cost less because you don't have to pay actors or buy big sets, but she said that she collected money from grants, licensing fees, and kick-starter to fund her movie. Overall, I think that her work is cool and I definitely want to see the Garry Winogrand movie now.
Things I Thought Were Funny
- Somebody's job is to exclusively make PBS trailers
- "I crave validation"
- the name Greenwich (i'm picturing an all green sandwich being referred to as a greenwich)
My mom went to see the Hollar exhibit at the VMFA and told me I should go, so I went yesterday. Since yesterday was a half day, I thought that it would be a fun activity to do when I would have been in school! My mom texted me a picture that was a monkey, but it was captioned "a munkie" so I knew that this would be a good exhibit. I actually saw the piece she texted me about, and it depicts a monkey riding on an elephant. I do not think that Hollar had ever seen an elephant, but it was a valiant effort.
It was very interesting as the work was very small and detailed. They actually provided magnifying glasses so that viewers could see all of the small pieces. I think that was neat. It was mostly in german or latin, but luckily I had a translator with me (Marina) so she would read me all of the places that were labelled on the maps that Hollar made.
Overall pretty cool, but it did make my eyes hurt after a while just because of the size of the images. I really liked the subjects of the work, either architectural or renaissance looking people, and it was very well done! A cool exhibit, but I think that if I was at all tired or if I saw it at the end of a museum trip, I would get bored and even more tired very easily.