For the past several weeks now, a brand new arts indie enterprise has been simmering on a back burner. The efforts have been to reshape and redirect the primary activities of this ongoing arts advocacy project. In the past, the freelance blog has been the lead endeavor, along with affordable websites for emerging and established artists and small businesses. While the website aspect continues in great measure, the current focus involves building an online art gallery with the blog used as a way to provide support and information.
Beginning with a core group of dedicated, super-talented Berkshires-based artists I have enjoyed an association with in the past, I have modified the arts indie website to include many fine examples of each of these artists’ work. Each artist has a dedicated page that includes biographical information and clickable thumbnails to show full, larger versions of each piece.
Purchases may be picked up in person, arranged to be delivered within the immediate surrounding area, or shipped worldwide.
“When I Paint, I tune into the visual flow before me; reducing it to an arrangement of color waves and forms that evoke movement. As I concentrate, I begin to internalize the painting process to where I am moving mentally within the space I am creating.”
For her landscape work, Hirsch visits a favorite locale, often many times, to build a personal, yet characteristically zeitgeist-like impression of a subject. Her process is reflectively linked en plein air to a scene, and is augmented by visual cues she culls from discerning photographs. From initial impressions, she will determine her direction by meditating on and mediating between different atmospheres and light; after preliminary sketches, the painting begins with color waves of different value and progresses as she ponders and observes further. In smooth layers, the piece develops through intuitively blending, simplifying, and accentuating key tonal and compositional elements. Hirsch aims to translate to canvas the simple pleasure she observes in dynamic compositions and palpable textures.
As a student, Hirsch studied watercolor with an Italian master in France, continued to draw while raising a family, and began oil painting in later years. “I love painting with oils for the richness of the colors and the way the paint covers the canvas voluptuously. My work is inspired and nourished by my passion for the history of art and more precisely for how color, light, and form are expressed in paintings.”
Grier Horner is a native New Yorker, and a graduate of Brown University. He is a beneficiary of a 6-month fellowship at Stanford University, studio art courses at Berkshire Community College, a dozen solo shows at art galleries in the Berkshires, one show at Worcester Polytechnic Institute, and a retrospective at the Lichtenstein Center for the Arts in conjunction with his 80th birthday in 2015. He has also had paintings in shows in Philadelphia, Provincetown, Boston, and Newburyport.
Horner started painting at age 60, and two years later he plunged into art full time when he retired from the Berkshire Eagle. His career there spanned 32 years – from 1965 to 1997. He was a reporter, and then the associate editor. The high point of his life in journalism was being nominated by the Eagle for a Pulitzer Prize for a series of stories he wrote about the death of a 4-year-old Pittsfield boy whose abuse case was mishandled by social agencies. Horner wishes he could say he won the Pulitzer, but he didn’t.
A few years ago his art career took an unexpected turn into photography, and he has taken countless pictures since then. It’s not unusual for him to come back from shooting for his Swamp series, or with a model, with 400 to 800 photos. The number sometimes mounts to 1,000 in a week. Recently he has started painting again as well.
Horner and his wife, Barbara Clary Horner have three children and five grandchildren. Their oldest child teaches 2nd grade in Pittsfield and her daughter is graduating from Pittsfield High School this June. “It makes us feel like real Pittsfielders.”
Raised by parents in the hotel industry, Tammara Leminen lived in the Bahamas until she was 12 and then spent her adolescence in Switzerland. After high school, she attended the Baseler Kunstgewerbe Schul, a well-respected art school in the Swiss city of Basel, in the late Seventies. More recently here in America, she studied Fine Art at Berkshire Community College and The Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD). For most of her life, she has focused on detailed representational acrylic paintings and graphite illustrations, but in 2008 she became a graphic designer and soon began to channel her new interest in computer-generated illustration into her art. The collages she produced over the following years were distinctly different from her earlier work, as they began to lean into surreal qualities and more whimsical subject matters. They also became increasing three-dimensional, a trend that is continuing to evolve in her newest creations. She is also currently working on a loosely-autobiographical four-part graphic novel series called Growing Up Wilde.
Leo Mazzeo is a noted painter, photographer, curator, online gallerist, web designer, blogger, and Berkshire native. His oil paintings have been recently featured at the Berkshire Artist Museum, the Berkshire Community College Intermodal Gallery, the Lichtenstein Center for the Arts, and the Whitney Center for the Arts; he studied business in addition to art in college, and thus has also worked as a Curator and Gallery Manager. A devoted advocate for local art and artists, Mazzeo has served on the board of the Berkshire Art Association, filled the position of Publicity Chair and served as Vice President for the Housatonic Valley Art League, and is currently the New Ashford Representative to the Cultural Council of Northern Berkshire. He is the founder of arts indie and the co-founder of Pittsfield’s First Fridays Artswalk. Mazzeo is also a professional website and graphics designer and, as such, serves as the webmaster for arts indie, regional artists of note, and various businesses.
Don Orcutt is a Berkshire County, Massachusetts native, working primarily in painting and sculpture. Orcutt’s work has been exhibited in the Berkshires, as well as some venues in Saint Petersburg, Florida. Majoring in fine art and psychology, his work reflects the human condition through symbolism, surrealistic satire, humor, and a bit of the dark side. “I have always had a fascination with the human psyche, and its relationship to science, deep space, and so on…”
Orcutt’s primary mediums are oils and acrylics on varied surfaces, as well as sculpture. “I love to experiment with texture, juxtapositions, and color, etc. Creating art is very therapeutic as well. It’s a form of medicine, if you will.”
Orcutt is currently working on a series of paintings with a theme that is based on the struggles of life, and how one grows from these struggles. Orcutt studied as a fine art major at Berkshire Community College and Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts. He currently resides in North Adams, MA.
Rosemary Starace is a visual artist and writer. A native of New York City and the Adirondacks, she has lived in the Berkshires for thirty years. Her work emerges from what she calls “the deep world,” the place of meaningful mystery that all of us encounter in our dreams, in art, nature, love, loss, and struggle. The paintings shown here are from the Interior Geometry series, which imagines the inner structures, forms, and conditions our lives may rest upon. The small collages are the result of an ongoing process akin to note-making. These exploit chance encounters with materials and give form to subtle internal experience, also in geometric language.
Starace studied at The New York Feminist Art Institute and holds a master’s degree in the creative process in the arts from Lesley University. Her artwork has been featured in String Poet and Yew journals, The Advocate, and, with an essay, in the anthology, Splitting the Genre: The Intersection of Poetry and Visual Art (Six Arrow Press). Two of her paintings were selected to appear on the covers of nationally published poetry collections. She’s had shows of her work at Berkshire Community College, Bard College at Simon’s Rock, and many other galleries in the Berkshires, New York City, and elsewhere. Her writing, too, has been published in numerous journals, and she is the author of two poetry collections and co-editor of an international poetry anthology.
It is my hope to continuously build this project over time, and to keep adding artists and artwork that I believe in and hope you enjoy as well.