Newark Open Doors 2016 will be happening October 19 – 23rd this year. On Friday, October 21st, three exhibitions I am showing work in will be hosting opening receptions. Free transportation to all of the gallery openings that night is available with registration for the “Gallery Crawl” through the Newark Arts Council. Hope to see you there!
The 5 Wards is a photography exhibition curated by Akintola Hanif featuring works by Manuel Acevedo, Cesar Melgar, Tamara Fleming, Colleen Gutwein, Fabian Palencia, Nema Etebar, Stefan Brown and Rhys Valmonte. Presented in conjunction with HYCIDE magazine, the exhibition will also launch The 5 Wards online series, which is part of Newark Celebration 350.
Complete information for The 5 Wards HERE
Facebook Event HERE
Market Street Convergence II
Samantha Katehis, above her studio.
October 21 – November 12 Opening Reception: October 21, 5-9pm Gallery Aferro @77 Market St (fl. 2)
25 exhibits/ 4 buildings/1 block/1 night Market Street Convergence II is presented by Gallery Aferro and the Newark Arts Council for the Open Doors citywide arts festival.
Alongside other photographic documentation of Newark, I will be exhibiting The Newark Arts Photo Documentary Project: Selected Color Prints
Complete information for Market Street Convergence II HERE
Facebook Event HERE
Intersection 2016 features work by artists that have studios located at 31 Central Avenue in Newark. 31 Central has been occupied by artists and creatives for more than three decades, helping to establish an emerging arts community in the Halsey Street area and Downtown Newark. Intersection will also feature works by artists that have studios at 237 Washington Street – Index Art Center’s new location after a fire displaced the organization in 2013.
Complete information for Intersection 2016 HERE
Facebook Event HERE
My partner and I had the opportunity to take some time off of our regular lives this summer and move to a quiet little town in his home state of North Carolina, I have never spent long periods of time in the South, and with our upcoming marriage this seemed like an ideal situation to learn more about his family and culture. The chance to get back to nature and slow down my life was promising. I would also have plenty of time to dedicate to my ongoing documentary developing negatives and contact sheets in the nearby community darkroom.
This sabbatical, if you will, happens to coincide with my participation in the three month long Creative Capital professional development program. It was only necessary for me to be physically present in NJ for two meetings, an ideal situation for me. The rest of the work in the program is done remotely through webinars, online courses, Skype, and good old fashioned book learning. This program coupled perfectly with my time in North Carolina and has been eye opening. I have been able to think clearly without the distractions of daily life that usually surround me. I have taken a step back and given myself the opportunity to consider how I want to reorganize my home, office, and studio to make them more efficient. By decluttering my life and living simply for a few months in North Carolina, I have gained amazing perspective into what is and isn’t working for me. Being able remove all the things and ideas that are not propelling me forward has created more time for the people and activities I truly enjoy.
I am no stranger to traveling for extended periods of time. After college I spent a year teaching English in Japan with the JET Program. As a teacher in Japan, I saw a distinction between the way Japanese and American high school students prioritize and engage in activities. In Japan, schoolwork comes first. After schoolwork, students are expected pick one activity: a sport, hobby, or school club, and become the best they possibly can at that one thing. My upbringing in the American school system was a stark contrast. I was encouraged to be “well rounded” by having decent grades, play different sports all year round, and have hobbies all while working a part time job. Somewhere along the way this became overwhelming and the idea of striving for perfection with keen concentration was lost. Both high school experiences had a profound affect on my future self, as I now search for the balance between being well rounded and an expert in my field.
The Creative Capital program is helping me find this balance by showing me the tools necessary to stay on track with my artwork and finances at the same time. As an artist in today’s world I need to be well rounded enough to manage and run a small business, network, grant write, pitch ideas, and manage finances all while staying focused and becoming an expert in my field of photography. The guidance of Creative Capital has proven to be the missing link to pulling all of these aspects of my life together in harmony.
As the blended learning program winds down and ends next week, my time in small town North Carolina is coming to an end as well. When I move back up north to New Jersey I will be flung into the anxiety driven, fast paced lifestyle of a working artist. I get tense thinking about the transition. I used to work numerous jobs to support my art and budding photography business (www.smallforestphotography.com). When I return to New Jersey it will not only be a physical jump back into my old home, but I will metaphorically be taking one of the biggest leaps of my life. My only job will be self-employment with Small Forest Photography. It will truly be the time that I have to sink or swim. I will put the knowledge and tools acquired from the Creative Capital program into action not only with funding and completing my documentary, but in running my own freelance photography business.
I began my photography business as a way to support my artwork while I was working an office job that I despised. When I quit my day job my business wasn’t fully operational so I took on assisting jobs and retail work to make ends meet. Now the company is looking towards its 5th anniversary this March and I have to make the leap. Understanding the cost of living with the Real Cost Budgeting Tool has been invaluable in the effort to make my life work for me. It is one of the greatest pieces of paper that anyone has ever handed me. I was able to rework my entire business structure based on that tool and now feel very confident in my pricing. I have a been able to build a more sustainable business plan to implement upon my return to New Jersey. The most basic part of the plan is to march forward without fear. I still have some time left in North Carolina, and if I use my time wisely I will be able to meet my goals of working for myself while sustaining my art practice.
I find myself working in the darkroom, that cool dark place, where I am locked away in the basement of an old mechanical building, totally oblivious to the world passing by. I find myself deep in thought with the ventilation humming away, joined by sounds of jazz and bluegrass penetrating the air. I find myself constantly working on this documentary. I spend time in the darkroom with all of my friends, new and old, who are artists in Newark. I spend so much time in this one-sided relationship while working on their images, that when I see them in person after months, sometimes years, I feel like no time has passed at all. I want to pick up the conversation right where I left it, under the enlarger, in the drying rack, or muddled under the soft ripples of developer cascading over their faces. I live in a world of fantastic imagination with my friends. Within that world of the darkroom, I find myself thinking that this may be the most important moment of my life. After all of my hard work, years of education, after hardships, friendships, and worldly travel, after I am dead and gone, what I create in this one moment may be the only physical thing that survives. This one little piece of a negative, or that one print. Who will find it? Will anyone be able to connect these puzzle pieces to the vibrant Newark community which is now full of life, and love, and artistic power? How will we be remembered? Would anybody even care?
Leaving the darkroom, sunglasses sheltering my eyes, I climb up three sets of concrete stairs with heavy legs. I am leaving the darkroom with more proof of my existence, and the existence of my peers, than I had before I entered. I sit in the steamy car and review negatives and contact sheets. Reality begins seeping back into my mind as I make the drive home.
How can I sustain my work? What if I don’t get funding to continue this? How will I pay my rent? I roll down the driveway, say hello to my partner, and shower off the small of chemical. I sit at the computer, follow up on emails, try to find ways to restructure my freelance business, and scour the internet for grants and fellowships. I applied for three grants last month. Is that enough? How many more can I find to apply for this month? My partner meets with a reputable gallery and sends emails and letters to collectors. We are making work, important work. But how do we move forward? The uncertainty will surely lead to insanity if we don’t get a break soon.
I crack open that Creative Capital workbook and sign on for classes. I review my notes from the webinars and contemplate my peer group support meetings. I review my newest artists statement, bio, and CV. I have followed the Creative Capital writing program and am so thankful to be on task, and much more diligent in finding ways to secure my future. It dawns on me that if I made it this far in my career with none of these tools, I will be ahead of the game when I finish this workshop.
While reviewing my life goals in the workbook I see that I have left graduate school off of my list yet again. I have wanted to go to graduate school for over a decade now, but its off the list. Where would I find the money anyway? I don’t want a mortgage sized loan with no house to live in. How could I ever afford it? This program has made me realize that it is still ok to have these goals. It’s ok to dream without having money, because life changes abruptly.
In the evening when I should be slowing down my mind, little voices start creeping into my head… Oh my I don’t know how you do it…. Thats incredible you don’t have to work a real job…. How do you think you will be able to have a family as an artist?… It’s so cool you get to do what you want. … Could you donate to this?… I just want a really small photoshoot…. When are you going to finish the project?… I soon realize that I am battling other peoples fear of living this life as my own, and drift to sleep.
As the days march on, the workshop shifts. In the beginning of the program more things are assigned with clear deadlines. At this point in the program, less than one month away from completion, we are keeping tabs on ourselves and being held responsible by self-regulation and peer group meetings. We have completed the webinars and are given the option to take three online courses at our own pace.
I started my first online course with the blended learning program last week. I decided to take the Grants and Applications course since this is where I am with my project right now. I followed the first half of the seminars reviewing strategies on how look for funding. What struck me was the idea that anyone who partners with me and my documentary is not giving me a handout, they are partners because they share the same values that I do, and find my work to be important to the community.
The Creative Capital program is teaching me a variety ways to get the end result I need to sustain my work as an artist. The main thing, as I talked about in my last entry, is to just keep doing it. The cornerstone of writing better proposals is based on the amount of time I am spending writing them. Writing helps to articulate the goals of my project, and gives me a clear direction for the future Writing was something I used to shy away from. By forcing myself to do these journal entries, and rewriting my thesis for my current project over and over, I have been able to translate my work from photographs to words. This only makes me more confident in talking about the work and my processes. Without this program I definitely would not have pushed myself so hard. I am in training right now and I feel the growing pains. The most encouraging aspect of this training program is that I believe I am getting back what I am putting in.
One of the unexpected results from participating in the blended learning program is the emotional connection to other artists around me, more so than I already had with the documentary project. The peer groups create a platform for us to share our struggles, and has highlighted the importance of working together as a community. We can easily unify in our passion as culture bearers. We can start with that common bond and work forward towards a system for our children, and their children, to truly be free in the way they contribute to culture and society.
“Inside of a ring or out, ain’t nothing wrong with going down. It’s staying down that’s wrong.”
— Muhammad Ali
It’s 39 days after the initial Creative Capital Professional Development meeting, and this is by far the hardest entry I have written. I find myself thinking about so many other things that I would like to get done, but “CC Essay Due” is sitting right there in the middle of my calendar, highlighted in red, for today. I start the laundry, I do everything else on the calendar, I get a snack, I complete email responses that don’t need to be completed until much, much later, but still, “CC Essay Due” is right there in the middle of my day today.
I can’t push it off another day. If I procrastinate any more I will never find the time to get it done. I can already hear the very mean little internal dialogue to myself when I don’t get the article to Ana on time, who’s main goal is to give us a voice and let other people know about our progress in this blended learning program. The charm of the workshop has worn off as I kick my own ass into high gear and complete my task list everyday. The program is really helping me with discipline, and organization. It would be an emotional blow to my schedule if I didn’t get this essay done.The charm has worn off all right, and now it feels as though I am fully committed to running the marathon of my life as an artist.
In marathon running there is something called “The Wall”. This “Wall” it is a very real, physical, mental, and emotional breakdown which can take down any runner, and usually occurs somewhere around the 20th mile. The “Wall“ goes something like this: you start to feel a creepy foreboding sensation come upon you… slight at first, and then your legs are filled with lead, your stomach disowns you, you lose the ability to think about anything else except for the agony you have intentionally brought upon yourself when you decided to run this marathon. The strongest athlete can be in the fetal position on the side of the race track. If you pass someone who has hit their “Wall,” don’t look back. You want to help, but you trained and dedicated everything you had to this race, so you look forward and continue.
I believe there is a metaphorical “Wall” for anyone who has chosen to follow their heart and soul and do what they want with their life, especially in the arts. Right now Creative Capital has gifted me this inspirational tool of running shoes. I have to push myself to lace up and go for a run I don’t have to be the best, but I do have to be honorable to myself, my work, and to all the people who have believed in me and supported me in my decision to live my dreams. I am the connector to the other godly world of art. It is my responsibility to myself and all those around me to make the connection, to reach my potential, and to continue far beyond that potential.
I am now giving myself time to think, breathe, read, regroup, reorganize (thank you helpful organization webinar by Byron Au Yong) and reconsider what is important to me. I am aware I have only a finite amount of time to be able to obtain my dreams and to create the work that is burning inside of me. I am radically redeveloping my life to be more committed to myself, and learning how to say no. It really is a beautiful word.
So maybe this blog post was just an internal inspirational talk to myself, but I think if I am feeling this way, there is a very low likelihood that I am alone in these feelings. As we wade through the murky waters of trying to make a living as artists, its easy to get down on your art practice, yourself, your peers. It is hard to stay upbeat when you are drowning with work and cradled in debt. But really, we have the ability to create culture, influence society, and cultivate relevant communication through our lives and work. We have both a voice, and an obligation.
—Colleen Gutwein is a documentary photographer working in Newark, NJ. and currently developing “The Newark Arts Photo Documentary Project” (www.newarkartsphotodoc.com)
Five coeval artists from the Newark area reclaim ideas, materials, and roles for their specific use in creating new forms. They conjure a discussion of culture and identity spanning through time. This exhibition will fuse the sculptural works of the artists by exploring the use of tradition and myth to define history, present day, and future.
Dominique Duroseau’s work focuses on both a philosophical and physical level of being. Her choice of material and pallet creates rhythm and multiplicity throughout her work.
Amanda Thackray uses non-traditional materials reflecting common objects which examine the idea of identity as a human being.
Adrienne Wheeler uses bundling techniques to create powerful and power-filled forms highlighting contemporary ideologies and our personal role in culture and violence.
Bisa Washington repurposes specific objects in her sculptures as a way to reclaim nationality, identity, religion and customs and develop legacy.
Noelle Lorraine Williams integrates craft and history to discuss our role in society and the communities we are actively part of.
Over the past few months I have been fortunate enough to be interviewed by Emma Wilcox, the owner of Gallery Aferro in Newark, for the Newark Happening website, as well as by Carrie Stetler, former editor of Hycide Magazine, for the Newark Bound magazine. Both are available to read online at the links below:
Newark Bound interview by Carrie Stetler (pages 40, 41,& 45)
To see more images from the ongoing documentary please visit the official website: www.newarkartsphotodoc.com and keep up to date as more artists are added to the website through the official Facebook page.
December 6 – December 20 , 2014
opening reception December 64-9pm
available by appointment after December 6th
Three artists have entwined their individual works to create a silent yet audible exhibition ranging from paintings and drawings to mixed media works in the intimate setting of Javier Santiago Studio. These subtle works invite viewers to experience their internal roars while encouraging transcendent thought.
Jose Camacho has exhibited extensively throughout the New York/New Jersey metroplitan area as well as in his home country of Puerto Rico. Camacho has been the recipient of a Fellowship from the New Jersey State Council on the arts in 2008, as well as a Print and Paper fellowship from the Brodski center in 2006 respectively.
Joseph O’Neal is an internationally collected artist having been involved in; group and solo shows in New York, New Jersey, Miami, California, North Carolina, Connecticut, Georgia, South Carolina, and Switzerland. O’Neal creates a transcendental dialogue through a system driven by the archaic. Symbols, phonetics, and imagery come descendent from a past that, in the words of Motherwell, “…could only have been conceived of at present.”
Colleen Gutwein is a New Jersey native, and has exhibited her work throughout the NY/NJ area, Oregon, and Japan. She was awarded a photography grant in 2013 from The Puffin Foundation, and has taught cyanotype workshops at The Newark Print Shop and the Montclair Art Museum. Her cyanotype collages open a new dialogue between alternative photographic processes and a modern digital era.
Javier Santiago Studio
133 Glenridge Avenue
Montclair, NJ 07042
The 13th annual citywide arts festival “Open Doors” is presented by the Newark Arts Council October 9th- 19th, 2014. Please join me in my studio at INDEX ART CENTER on the 3rd floor Friday Oct. 10th from 6-10pm and Sunday Oct. 12th from 12-6pm.
I will be showing images form my cyanotype series “Modern Blueprint”, as well as some of the contact sheets from the film part of my ongoing documentary “The Newark Arts Photo Documentary Project” …more about the documentary here: http://www.newarkartsphotodoc.com
“In 2014 Index Art Center opened the doors of Goodwin Hall and launched Index Art Center’s Studio Residency Program. Goodwin Hall consists of nine studio spaces. Each studio is occupied by a single artist or an artist collaboration.
IAC is committed to serving artists and the arts community in Newark, NJ. The Residency Program aims to foster relationships within the community and give additional exposure to the talented and hard-working artists accepted into the program. ”
Printmaking with Cyanotypes
Sunday Oct. 5, 2014 10am – 4pm
Instructor: Colleen Gutwein
Find out about the history of cyanotypes and create your own cyanotype prints on paper and cloth. Learn to mix the chemicals, lay out your piece, and use the sun to expose your cyanotype. After washing and drying, your pieces will be ready to take home to frame, give as a gift, or use in craft and sewing projects. Materials are included in tuition. Students should bring a smock and avoid wearing valuable clothing or having exposed skin.
For more information follow the link below and search Adult Workshops: Montclair Art Museum Yard School of Art
The Newark Arts Photo Documentary Projectis rolling into it’s second year of shooting. I have completed roughly 45 shoots with artists, curators, program directors, and gallery owners since receiving funding from The Puffin Foundation in 2013. Some of the images I have been working on were proudly shown in The Newark Issue of HYCIDE Magazine last month. For more information about the documentary project or the magazine, please follow the links above.