girl on orange

Where do we go from here?

This past weekend wrapped up my show at Artomatic 2017 DC. It was a great show and wonderful experience. But once all my prints came down, I started feeling a little lost… I’m on my own again. I love group shows because you share everyone’s excitement and anxiety, and you commiserate over the system, the service, the responsibilities, the lack of sales and the little victories. It’s not just you out there alone. Making art is a very solitary thing for most of us. Marketing our art is the same, meeting curators or art buyer, or event managers. We do it alone. Sure, you might be lucky enough to have your spouse there supporting you, but in the end it’s just you. And, I love it and hate it.  So, as the show comes to a close, what do I do now?

I got lucky this year, I’ve got two shows, one this summer and one next winter, I need to matt, frame and prep the prints for this next show. I need to finish some new work and prep, print and frame for the winter show now. I need to set up a storage system for framed work so that the kids don’t destroy it all before the shows even start.. And I have decided on my 2 next series, and there are still a lot of president to finish painting. AND!! I’ve been getting a lot of interest in commissioned work! You would think with this much great stuff, I’d be head down in a studio, churning it out. I will be, but I want to take some time to reflect on the last show. Take some time to actually miss it before I bury my head in new art.  I heard an interview with Sting where he talks about having three seasons of undetermined length, living, writing/recording, and performing.

Well, thank you Artomatic. Thank you all who purchased and commissioned. Thank you all. On to the next show.

The Thing About Art

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This Saturday, May 6 marks the end of Artomatic 2017. So if you haven’t been yet, you really should go.

I hear a lot of people complaining, “oh there’s a lot of crap art there”, and “it’s all so amateurish” and other crappy things… Hell, I say those things. There is a lot of crap art out there. But don’t you love being one of those people that saw… The Replacement before they got signed and sober, or that first SouthPark cartoon that went viral on VHS before video was online. It was amateurish and crap, but through support it was encouraged to grow and become something. Sure, a lot of the art at Artomatic will just become…more crap.  But you may find that one thing that connects in you, or talk to an artist and see what they are striving for and maybe it aligns with something inside of you too.

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He’s the thing about making art, or music, or dance… There are feelings, ideas, emotions inside of all of us and we have little to no understanding of them. One doesn’t know why they like the color blue and they may not understand this emotion that it evokes because we may not have a name for the feeling. It may come from a part of the brain we have never studied. Often people with what we call “emotional problems” try to explain how they feel, but there may not be language to describe the feeling, yet when they see, hear to experience a piece of art, that emotion is connected and they feel understood. That is the magic of the arts. They communicate in ways beyond our limited understanding of the world and of each other and they strive to make connections that go beyond the artist’s intentions.

It’s a pretty big idea I know. And yes, it’s a little self aggrandizing to believe that I throw paint on a canvas and I am speaking the higher-language of the mind and those that see it as a splatter and not enlightened and those that see and connect are of a higher plane… Well, it does help to feel that way as an artist, at least while one is creating art. But honestly, I don’t understand the purpose of my paintings. It’s more to calm my mind, and to feel appreciation… the feeling of appreciations become a thankful reciprocal feeling towards others and all of this hopefully becomes a circle of love, appreciation and understanding.

It’s a lot to hope for from a bunch of people just trying to blow off steam, enjoy the fire dancers, and photos and paintings and bands at Artomatic. But this year has been pretty great.



Painted on iPad

So, I get a lot of people, mostly people not in the art industry, saying, “Oh, painted on iPad, I see…” and shaking their head like I’m faking the art, the skill, the time, the inspiration. Oh yes, I could fake it, I know my way around Photoshop and I could write some scripts to emulate my process, but I don’t. I’ve shown and described my process on blogs, Facebook, and in person to everyone/anyone that asks. and in the end, I get the feeling that because my “pencil” is made by Apple, that the work I create is not really art. And I get it, I do. Until recently I wasn’t sure where the line between graphic art/illustration and fine art falls when it comes to the iPad.

I was thinking, if an artist picks up a cheap pencil and does some amazing drawing on a chunk of found cardboard, it’s art! If an artist picks up some expensive oil paints and splatters it on a beautifully stretched canvas, it’s art. The tools used, the process followed and the inspiration all make it valid. I pick up my digital pencil, open a digital canvas, and use the tools that I choose, apply my process and follow my muse. What I get is something I feel good about. Yes, I’ve got a bunch of artsy idea about what the final work means, but it is art.

I have nothing against the physical act of painting, I love it, I miss it and i will return to it again. There is a feeling in the process of painting that is indefinable. And for the buyers, knowing there is, and will only ever be, that one image elevates it’s value. (I do offer limited run and signed prints).

Red Sweater: art print by Jim Faris

Artomatic Artist Spotlight

1) Who are you and how long have you been an artist?
Hi, I’m Jim Faris. I’ve been a visual, graphic and musical artist since 1984. Probably longer than that, but let’s not count those school years. I’ve been writing and performing music as long as I can remember. And visual art, well I had my first art show in 1984 and it was a disaster. That show in Cincinnati is what helped push me into Graphic design instead of fine art. Only recently, 5 or 6 years ago, did i pick up the brush again and start having fun as an artist. My wife pushed me and intorduced me to some great local artist and got me into my first Artomatic. She’s a big force behind my art.

2) What medium(s) do you work in & why?
In the past I have been all about acrylic on canvas, but I started moving into a bit of mixed media; oil stick, pastel, charcoal and anything i can find. But for the last few years I’ve been using the iPad as my sketchbook to work out ideas before I execute. This last year or two, the iPad has taken over my workflow so for this year at Artomatic I showed only prints of art made entirely on my iPad. We had yet another baby this year, so 3 kids, full time job, musical gigs… it makes it tough to set up the easel and work. I would love to still have a studio where I can shut the door and keep everything set up. But that’s not my life right now.

3) What is your creative process like?
At the end of the night, when everyone has gone to bed, I sit in my recliner, watch some tv, and open my iPad Pro and Pencil and I get started on a new piece. For this new round of art, the stuff that is being shone at Artomatic, I usually start with a photo or a few photos for reference. I bring them into the Procreate App on my iPad. I keep them on a separate layer so that I can zoom in as needed to see details and such. Then I do a line drawing with he fat pencil. I’ll sometimes sample the colors to make a color palette, sometimes I just leave the reference picts in the image thru the painting process. Once I have the composition and line drawing. I export it to another app. I use ArtSet App for painting the image. It does a great job of emulating real media. I start with a dark burlap canvas, import the Procreate drawing, then start painting the canvas white as a background (it’s rare that I paint a background, i like the contrast of the white.) I build up a lot of paint (*when I say paint i mean digital paint, the thicker the paint, the more it reacts to the scraping to come.) Then I use the color palette or the reference photos to sample colors and start painting. ArtSet is a very limited app in that it doesn’t have layers, touch sensitivity, and limited brush sizes and styles. I make the paintings pretty realistic now. I used to distort, twist and/or caricature my portraits and make them very graphic, but i misses the sloppy, messiness of my older works. The next round is kind of combining the twisted portraits with the newer style of works…. Anyway, back to the process, after the painting is completed, the App has tools for scrapping, wetting, diluting and smudging the painting. ArtSet doesn’t have touch sensitivity, but it does have Velocity sensitivity, so as I work slower or faster, the diluting or scrapping responds to my speed which can make for some very erratic movements on the canvas. Once satisfied , I bring the art work back into Procreate for some touch ups, then I export the art work to the SnapSeed App. SnapSeed is really a photographers tool set for doing color correcting, sharpening, blurring, adding vintage effects, dirt, scratches and of course those frames. Then I send them off to a printing service. The current ones up at Artomatic are printed on a heavy matt photo paper, but they seem very shiny under the florescent lights. They look much better framed. In the future I think I’ll only be printing these on watercolor paper. All of these current prints are available to buy on Zazzle.

4) What is the best art-related advice you’ve received?
Just do it! I know, Nike, but my wife introduced me to Matt Sesow (if you don’t know this artist, you should, look him up!) I was doing primitive works and my wife said, “ You should meet this guy.” After seeing his show, I quit doing primitive, grotesque style because Matt has nailed it! But talking to him, he is the sweetest most inspiring guy, same goes for his wife Dana, another great local artist. They both said, “Artomatic is coming up, get involved. Paint everyday or everyday you can and JUST DO IT! Additionally, Chuck Close. Just look up his quotes. “Inspiration is for amateurs, the rest of us have to show up and work.”

5) What is the biggest challenge you face as an artist?
Time and space. Time is the biggest challenge to everything, not just art. Too much time commuting to work, robs us of time with our families and the time spiral goes on from there. Space is a basic functional issue. Having space to work where nothing else happens. work can be started and allowed time to develop and site and expand. Right now, the iPad is solving both of those challenges. My time to work on art is the end of the day when I’m already exhausted…it’s easy to open an iPad and start. And space, i curl up in my chair, or a coffee shop or the metro, and I start. But I do miss the physicality of the work. If I had my way, I’d have a large space, stretch my own canvases, mix my own pigments, and throw real paint around for a while. Maybe some one out there reading this wants to donate some studio space?

6) Choose one piece that you currently have on display at Artomatic and tell the story of that piece:

red sweater girl: This is one of my favorites as well as being the inspiration for moving totally into this style of art.

This is a painting of my daughter. It started as me trying to do a sketch of her. I had been working on caricatures and fun graphic sketching, but I loved this picture of here and I wanted to do a more serious drawing… It came out pretty good, so I thought, I’d work on my digital painting chops, after not having much luck in Procreate, I switched back to ArtSet and managed to do a … “ a nice painting…ugh” it stood out in no way. Through caricatures I could paint the ‘person’, the idea of them and all the stuff that you see when you look at some one. This was just a painting, it was good but not special.

So, I did what I often do, I started scraping out the face and painting a skull over it or something before I discard it… but the first few scrapes through her crazy hair made it feel more like how I see her… a whirling blur of hair and eyes and hands, moving around me. I scrapped and blotched and smudged around and as I painted and destroyed this painting, I thought about her and everything she is to me and all that we have gone through. And it was different. When I did the initial painting, I was thinking about color, and shapes, and composition, I could have been painting a still life. But the distortions and paint splattering was her, throwing things, learning, loving, destroying and building up my life. I realized this part was the important part. Painting the “stuff between us” was the real challenge.

7) What is your favorite part of the Artomatic experience so far?
The community. I don’t think I have ever sold much from Artomatic, and I’m often overlooked by the press coverage. But the people, and community that the Artomatic process fosters is incredible. Helping other artist, being helped by other artist. Being appreciated by people that actually love art, is very cool. The first year I did automatic, I kinda resented having to work my shifts, but now I love it! And best of all, my eldest son, Declan, is part of it all. He has a few of his first photo prints up and loves being part of this community.

8) How can people find you online?
I am all over the place on line and I really need to get everything condensed again. So here is the rundown: this is my main website and it should have everything, but it doesn’t and it has a lot of old art, but still a good resource…/artomatic_2017-119530425384062647 this links directly to prints for Automatic. my face book I and trying to get better at using this for art stuff but it all falls into my personal account. This has some art, some sketch, some web design work… digital prints of my older works, it may come down soon. my band, really bad at updating it try

Sheer Sucker: art print by Jim Faris

It’s Meet the Artist Night II

It’s Meet the Artist Night II

Last time this was such a blast. So many friends showed up and so much cool stuff going on.

I’ll be doing more running around this time to meet the other artist, but I’ll be at my wall, 8th floor #8506 from 8-10pm

Harbor Coat Print by Jim Faris

Artomatic 2017

It’s that time again, Artomatic 2017. I’ll be there on the 8th floor #8608. This is my first year of only showing prints from digital paintings from my iPad.

There are a few artist there showing works created only using their iPad and everyone is very hesitant to admit to it, I totally understand why. We all have been conditioned to think, “if it’s digital, or photoshop, then that’s not real art.” And felt the same way too, in fact I still kinda do feel that way. Yet here I am with a 20 foot wall of prints at an art show, so what do I really believe?

I believe that as an artist, I respond to my tools and medium as much as I do my subject and inspiration. When I was young I loved to throw paint, and make an exciting mess. I used house paint and spray cans and stencils. Then I went to art school and studied the greats but followed the path of a designer… fonts, photos, and layouts became my medium… and eventually computers. Then, my wife inspired me to get back into painting, with so much graphic-arts baggage, it’s been a journey to finding my voice, my style, my thing. I was once a primitive, then a graphic, then an impressionist, then a mixed media and on and on. My style and my works are influenced by everything.

This year, we had another baby, and the idea that I could pull out the easel, set up for painting… well, it just wasn’t happening. For the last few years I’ve used the iPad as my sketchbook, a first step towards a finished piece. But this year, with baby, toddler and teen ager running around, I sat down and painted the ones I love on my iPad. And the result is on the wall at Artomatic this year.