Toy Gun Exchange - UpdatePosted on August 25, 2022Lenny Lane of F.A.T.H.E.R.S. brought a steamroller to the TriMain parking lot and helped crush over three hundred plastic toy guns. The next step will be a crew up in the Buffalo Arts Studio, sorting the pieces by color. From there, many possibilities will arise!
Toy Gun Exchange - UpdatePosted on August 22, 2022
F.A.T.H.E.R.S. collected over three hundred toy guns and exchanged them for healthy, nonviolent toys. On Saturday afternoon, August 20th, we plan to crush the toy guns with a steamroller. Once they are broken down, the pieces can be transformed into art to honor the community. I look forward to gathering ideas and experimenting with materials.
The Toy Gun ExchangePosted on July 28, 2022
For 20 years a group known as F.A.T.H.E.R.S. (Fathers Armed Together to Help Education, Restore and Save Lives) has been working to help inner-city youth. After the mass shooting at the Tops Supermarket on Jefferson Avenue, F.A.T.H.E.R.S created an exchange program where children could bring in their toy guns and receive a healthy non-violent toy. When I read this story in the Buffalo News, I called the director, Lenny Lane, and asked if I could pick up the guns and transform them into public art. He liked the idea and now we are on a mission to make this happen. My first step was laying them out on a tarp in the yard to see what I have to work with. I learned from my Zoo project, that plastics have both strengths and limitations. These guns are very complex with hard components including metal inside. It will take a lot to transform them! To follow the steps as we create something new, follow me on Facebook
PAINTING FOR CROW CREEKPosted on July 8, 2022
This Spring the BNWaterkeeper asked if I would create a painting to highlight the Brook Trout. This beautiful fish is native to the area and an indicator of health of our fresh water. If the Brook Trout are surviving and reproducing, then our headwaters are in good shape. BNWaterkeeper had a plan to clean up Crow Creek and improve the channel under a road that was blocking their lifecycle. When we drove out into the beautiful countryside south of Attica and found the headwaters, we were dismayed to see trash dumped in the creek and an impassable channel. Now BNWaterkeeper is almost finished with a great restoration. My painting was used in their fundraising.
NATURE JOURNALINGPosted on May 20, 2022
In these stressful times, I stay focused on nature. With watercolor, gouache, colored pencils or any other media needed, I record the change of seasons, the flow of water, the growth of plants and the movements of all the creatures surviving around us. Sometimes I can work on location but often, depending on weather and quick moving subjects, I take photos on my phone to study later. Painting forces me to meditate on what is real.
THE PLASTIC MUSKIEPosted on April 21, 2022
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA) provided Buffalo Niagara Waterkeeper with funding for a Marine Debris Removal Grant. I was offered the chance to create a piece of public art to highlight the issue of plastics in our waterways. Here is my "Plastic Muskie" portrait of the native Muskellunge fish, created out of plastics salvaged by volunteers during the 2021 "Shoreline Sweep." It is installed at the Buffalo Zoo in the corridor leading to the Gorilla habitat. I am thrilled that thousands of people pass by and that when they get up close, they will see the insane variety of debris in our waters.
Our House is On FirePosted on April 18, 2020
I entered this painting into the Buffalo Society of Artists Spring 2020 Exhibition. I titled it “Our House is On Fire” after the rallying cry from climate activist, Greta Thunberg.
The exhibit was scheduled to be hosted by the Carnegie Art Center in North Tonawanda. Like so many other art events in this time of Covid-19, the reception was cancelled and the Carnegie was shuttered. Fortunately the Buffalo Society of Artists adapted it into its first ever cyber exhibition!
You can view all of the work at www.bsacalls.com (up until May 7th).
Our House is On Fire
Oil on Fabriano Paper
'DISCARDED ANCESTORS'Posted on April 16, 2020
My new book, ‘DISCARDED ANCESTORS’ officially launched on Friday, March 1st, at the Canisius College Andrew L. Bouwhuis Library. This was so fitting because that’s where the family secret was discovered (and you can discover it yourself when you read the book!)
So many people were involved in this creative project. I am so thankful to Kathleen Delaney and Lisa Sullivan of Canisius for their research that led to the discovery of the mysterious Eleanor. Thanks also to Marti Gorman and Linda Prinzi of City of Light Publishing for their expertise and enthusiasm.
We were expecting a large shipment of books from Asia but everything was put on hold due to Covid-19. I thought books would be in all the bookstores and on Amazon by now. Several book signings had to be cancelled. But fortunately in the meantime, copies are available at City of Light Publishing in Buffalo, NY. You can order your copy on their website:
My studio is a 900 sq. ft space on the fifth floor of Buffalo’s TriMain Center. Built in 1917 as a Ford Model-T factory, the TriMain, like the city itself, has gone through economic upheavals. Now considered a ‘mixed-use business center,’ this huge hulk of a building rises at 2495 Main Street and dominates the landscape around it. Main Street has historically been the dividing line between the decaying Eastside and the redeveloped Westside neighborhoods of Buffalo. The TriMain attracts a diverse population from both sides of the city and gives me the opportunity to meet and work with them. At the same time, I can close my doors and retreat into my own quiet, creative space.
The surrounding neighborhoods are an extension of my studio. As I walk out of the building, I find treasure close by. Abandoned toys, old photographs, hunks of rusty metal thrown out to the curb, pieces of wood encrusted with layer upon layer of paint – a riot of intense textures. It’s startling and intriguing to see what others have left behind. The leftovers from this post-industrial city have become my raw material. Exploring and photographing abandoned houses and factories, collecting and combining pieces into assemblage have become steps in my process. Sanding surfaces lets me reveal layers of time. Painting portraits and framing them with old wood is another part of my method. I don’t think I would have found such meaning and direction for my work if not for my TriMain studio.
- From the new book “Creative Spaces, The Western New York Artist Studio Project”
by Richard W. Christian and Steve H. Siegel
SIGNING SEASONPosted on January 6, 2018
The two months leading up to the holidays are prime time for book fairs and book signings. This year I was honored to be included in many events. From the KIDS EXPO at the Buffalo Convention Center, to INDIE AUTHOR DAY at the Buffalo & Erie County Public Library to the first LE3 EVENT at Barnes & Noble and several more. Each one is an opportunity to meet other authors, talk shop and make new friends. Each event is totally unique with different levels of event planning. Best of all, I got to meet people who actually buy my books and kids who read them. Thank you to everyone who stopped to say hi and a special thanks to the people who bought Buffalo Snow as a present to send out to children who don’t get to see snow. Some destinations fans told me about this year were Australia, Florida, Scotland, and California.