Arts

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Pittsburgh artist Vince Dorse hopes Kickstarter will bring his award-winning comic to print

Posted By on Tue, Jun 7, 2016 at 2:33 PM

A panel from Vince Dorse’s Untold Tales of Bigfoot
  • A panel from Vince Dorse’s Untold Tales of Bigfoot

Pittsburgh artist Vince Dorse is hoping a Kickstarter campaign will turn his award-winning online comic Untold Tales of Bigfoot into a graphic novel by this December — just in time for holiday gifts for your favorite kid or your favorite kid-at-heart.

The all-ages story, which follows the adventures of a lost dog named Scout and a lonesome Bigfoot, won Dorse an esteemed Reuben comics-arts award for Best Online Comic, Long-Form. In just two weeks, Dorse has raised over 80 percent of his Kickstarter goal. “I’ve never had more fun or felt more connected to any other project I’ve ever worked on,” he tells CP. “And getting it into print, getting a chance to bring the story to more people, means maybe I get to keep doing this thing that I’ve really come to love.”

The story is super cute and sweet, and the Kickstarter awards are pretty awesome: At the $55 pledge level, Dorse will provide a digital file of you — or someone you love — drawn cartoon style, hanging out with Scout and Bigfoot. Print it out and stick it in a signed book and you have the perfect gift. As of today, more than 30 people have chosen pledges at that amount or higher. I asked Dorse if he was nervous to draw that many caricatures.

“I’m actually excited about drawing the people who back the book. In my head, I’m wandering around in the woods with Bigfoot and Scout all the time, so I’m hoping anyone who’s a fan of the story would enjoy a little piece of that experience. Bigfoot wouldn’t mind a few more friends.”

We first brought you the news about Untold Tales of Bigfoot’s upcoming Kickstarter in our interview with Dorse earlier this year. Revisit it here for more background on Dorse’s work and his collaborations with City Paper.

Tags: , , , , ,

Monday, June 6, 2016

The Three Rivers Arts Festival opening weekend brings art and music to Downtown Pittsburgh

Posted By on Mon, Jun 6, 2016 at 2:42 PM

The Dollar Bank Three Rivers Arts Festival opened this weekend, bringing 10 days of free performing and visual arts to Downtown Pittsburgh. We captured the scene on Sunday night, with local reggae group The Freedom Band, who we profiled earlier this year, taking the main stage at Point State Park at 6 p.m.

Headliners Ibeyi, an experimental and soulful French-Cuban duo, closed out the night with an electrifying stage presence, with music sung in both English and the Nigerian language, Yoruba.

Slideshow
Three Rivers Arts Festival
Three Rivers Arts Festival Three Rivers Arts Festival Three Rivers Arts Festival Three Rivers Arts Festival Three Rivers Arts Festival Three Rivers Arts Festival Three Rivers Arts Festival Three Rivers Arts Festival

Three Rivers Arts Festival

Click to View 50 slides


Tags: , , , , ,

Friday, June 3, 2016

Ai Weiwei speaks in Pittsburgh on eve of Warhol exhibit

Posted By on Fri, Jun 3, 2016 at 6:35 PM

Ai Weiwei spoke to a sold-out audience at the Carnegie Music Hall in Oakland the night before Andy Warhol | Ai Weiwei exhibit opened at the Andy Warhol Museum - PHOTO BY WILLIAM LUDT
  • Photo by William Ludt
  • Ai Weiwei spoke to a sold-out audience at the Carnegie Music Hall in Oakland the night before Andy Warhol | Ai Weiwei exhibit opened at the Andy Warhol Museum
The historic, nearly 2,000-seat Carnegie Music Hall in Oakland was sold out for the appearance of Chinese dissident artist and international icon Ai Weiwei.

The talk, hosted by Andy Warhol Museum executive director Eric Shiner, served as kick-off for today's opening of Andy Warhol | Ai Weiwei, an exhibit juxtaposing the two artists' lives and works. The exhibit comes to Pittsburgh from the National Gallery of Victoria in Melbourne, Australia.

Ai has spoken out against authoritarianism in China. His arrest in 2011 in China, for what the Communist government said were financial crimes, was criticized as politically motivated. Ai's passport was confiscated for four years.  In 2014, working from China, he directed an exhibit at Alcatraz, where portraits of "prisoners of conscience," including Edward Snowden, created from Legos, were on display, and music of the Russian band Pussy Riot played.


With such a iconic presence in the room, one might expect high-brow intellectualism and somber discussion. But Ai brought a down-to-earth, warm presence and sense of humor. He kept the audience laughing, delivering one-liners to Shiner's lighthearted questions. In response to Shiner's inquiry about the many cats at his Beijing studio (which Shiner compared to Warhol's affection for cats), Ai said, "We all have our weak points." Asked what Warhol would have thought of his work, Ai speculated, "He'd say, 'geez, that's great." 

The crowd enjoyed a particularly amusing moment when Shiner brought up Ai's Lego episode leading up to the Melbourne show — in which the company would not fill his order because his artwork with them would be political. "I was very surprised and frustrated because [my] show was coming up. ... I put on my Instagram account that I'm being refused [by Lego], and almost all newspapers started writing 'Why this guy can't get his Legos?' Suddenly, I had been victimized," he said, pointing out the irony in juxtaposing his work on human rights with how the world viewed his not being able to get Legos as a significant issue. The incident led Lego to change its policy on bulk orders and to stop asking customers what they are using them for. 

Slideshow
Andy Warhol | Ai Weiwei at the Andy Warhol Museum
Andy Warhol | Ai Weiwei at the Andy Warhol Museum Andy Warhol | Ai Weiwei at the Andy Warhol Museum Andy Warhol | Ai Weiwei at the Andy Warhol Museum Andy Warhol | Ai Weiwei at the Andy Warhol Museum Andy Warhol | Ai Weiwei at the Andy Warhol Museum

Andy Warhol | Ai Weiwei at the Andy Warhol Museum

Click to View 6 slides



But Shiner and Ai's talk wasn't all humor. Ai minced no words when he began to speak about the refugee crisis in the Middle East and Europe.

"This is a tragedy of our humankind today, and anybody pretending not to know it is a crime," Ai said. "As someone called an artist activist, I have some kind of obligation to this."

Ai set up a studio on the Greek Island of Lesbos, where many Afghani, Iraqi, Syrian and other refugees are disembarking from overloaded dinghies.

Ai's Instragram account is full of photos from his visits to refugee camps.

Another poignant, socially conscious moment happened at the beginning of the program when surprise-guest Jasiri X performed his new work "Our Generation," calling attention to institutionalized racism and sexism as well as labor issues. "Our generation ... we will dismantle institutions based on patriarchy ... and build new ones," he recited to the crowd.

A photo of Jasiri X and Ai can be seen on the artist's Instagram feed.

At the end of the program, Shiner thanked Ai for taking time from his work on the refugee crisis to visit Pittsburgh, and the artist walked off stage to a standing ovation.

The Andy Warhol | Ai Weiwei exhibit is at the Warhol until Aug. 28. Additionally, Ai's Circle of Animals/Zodiac Heads is on exhibit at the Carnegie Museum of Art's Hall of Architecture until Aug. 29.


Tags: , , , , , ,

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

A conversation with this week’s Pittsburgh City Paper cover artist Frank Harris

Posted By on Wed, Jun 1, 2016 at 2:49 PM

PHOTO COURTESY OF FRANK HARRIS
  • Photo courtesy of Frank Harris

Longtime City Paper readers might have noticed something a little familiar looking about this week’s cover. That’s because this week marks the second time we hired this week’s cover artist Frank Harris to do a parody of Grant Wood’s famous “American Gothic” painting. The first was for our Election Guide back in October 2012 when Frank illustrated our “American Nightmare,” featuring a caricature of Republican presidential candidate Mitt “Binders Full of Women” Romney next to a woman with her mouth duct-taped shut.

We’re not above making a good idea work twice. It was a great cover illustration in 2012, and with the Pens in the Stanley Cup playoffs right as the Three Rivers Arts Festival comes to town, what better matchup than to combine hockey with art? Editor Charlie Deitch and I played around with several other ideas before deciding on “American Gothic” — Iceburgh as the Mona Lisa, for one. But in the end, Iceburgh and Sidney Crosby posed as “American Gothic” just felt right. We couldn’t be happier that Frank was on board for being the same artist for both.

We caught up with Frank over email after he completed this week’s illustration. Frank lives in Mount Lebanon with his “lovely and incredible” girlfriend, Dr. Teresa Lacaria; his two “super” kids, Max and Sam; and a pretty cat named Daisy. Frank also does children’s illustrations and conceptual images, in addition to his editorial work. Here, he shares his love of Pittsburgh and fills us in on his biggest art critic.

This isn’t the first time you did a parody for us of “American Gothic.” We promise we won’t put you through this again, but say that we did — do you have any two people you think would be fun to throw in the scene?
I think I’d put Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton together. I think I’d put Donald in the dress and Hillary with the pitchfork.

You studied fine arts at Carnegie Mellon University. Did you always want to be an artist?
Yeah, Il always wanted to be an artist. I needed better guidance counselors growing up.

What’s your workspace like?
I mostly work digitally on a drawing pad, so it’s nice that I can work anywhere when I’m doing illustrations. But when I do commissions, or my own personal work, I end up painting in my dining room. It’s not very bohemian, but I have two kids to raise.

The arts fest returns to Pittsburgh this weekend. As a Pittsburgh artist, what do you hope out-of-towners learn about our local art scene while they’re in town?
Pittsburgh has changed so much. Its restaurants, galleries and music scene are so good now. It’s a great city and has so much to offer. I’m starting to paint Pittsburgh all the time into my paintings.

Your “American Gothic” parodies aren’t your only take on famous paintings. I saw you have a really fun Pittsburgh version of Van Gogh’s “Starry Night” in your portfolio. What inspired that piece?
An art consultant I work with asked me to do some Pittsburgh-oriented pieces, and I wanted to do something that was a little out of the ordinary. So I thought, “What would Vincent van Gogh paint if he painted Pittsburgh?” I put it on Facebook not really thinking much about it, and I got about 1,500 shares in a few days. I sold a lot of prints. 

Frank Harris’ first “American Gothic” parody cover illustration from 2012 and his Winter Classic cover illustration from 2010
  • Frank Harris’ first “American Gothic” parody cover illustration from 2012 and his Winter Classic cover illustration from 2010
This week also isn’t the first time we’ve asked you to illustrate Sidney Crosby. I’m a huge fan of your caricatures and in late 2010, your cover illustration for CP had Crosby facing the Washington Capitals’ Alexander Ovechkin for a story on the Winter Classic coming to Pittsburgh. Are you a hockey fan?
I hate to admit it, but I’m only a hockey fan when they get into the playoffs. I’m a really big Steelers fan and Pirates fan. Love going to see the Pirates at the stadium. It’s a great night out.

Got a Stanley Cup prediction?
The Penguins all the way!

In addition to editorial work, you also do a lot of illustrations for children’s publications. You’re great at both! Which is more challenging?
I don’t really have a preference. I like that someone wants me to illustrate for them.

Have your kids ever requested any Frank Harris original paintings for their room?
No, but my son Sam is a good critic. He looks at what I’m working on, and in his best 13-year-old teenage style, says something like, “Dad, that sucks,” or “It’s OK” or “Not bad.” I usually listen to what he has to say about it.

What advice would you give a young artist hoping to make art a full-time career?

Become digitally savvy, learn a lot of software. I think computers are amazing.

Got any big projects coming up we can look forward to?
Hoping to put together a show of paintings soon. 

Where can our readers find you online?
Illustration: www.frankharris.com
Prints: http://frank-harris.pixels.com

Tags: , , , , , ,

Kickstarter deadline approaching for Pittsburgh’s Squonk Opera

Posted By on Wed, Jun 1, 2016 at 12:00 PM

Pittsburgh’s own nationally touring performance-art rock band is set to debut its latest spectacle, Cycle Sonic, next week at the Dollar Bank Three Rivers Arts Festival. The six performances are sure to be a highlight of the 57th annual fest, but the group is still fundraising to complete this pedal-powered project, and bring it to its fullest realization in the community.

Artist's rendering of "Cycle Sonic" - PHOTO ILLUSTRATION COURTESY OF SQUONK OPERA
  • Photo illustration courtesy of Squonk Opera
  • Artist's rendering of "Cycle Sonic"
As of this morning, the Kickstarter campaign to raise $5,000 for this “pageant of bike stages” had 10 days to go and needed about another $1,900.

Cycle Sonic , another in Squonk’s line of free, musical, prop-filled spectacles in public settings, consists of four double-decker bikes, each with a pedaler/driver underneath and a musician on top. (A fifth musician will be on foot.)

From the Kickstarter Project Description: “Combining elements of circus parades, bike formations and marching bands, these bicycle floats will sprout bulb-horns and banners, whirligigs and whistles, the swirl and thump of wheel and pedal. A pageant of double-deckers and giant puppet bikers will circle the audience, with backdrops of undulating flags and 20-foot legs pumping with the rhythm of sustainable power. With no carbon footprint, this traveling event will combine the thrill of live performance with the uncelebrated world of the everyday.”

Squonk has been a staple on the local arts scene since its debut a quarter-century ago, combining adventuresome art-rock with surrealist stagecraft; the critically acclaimed group has played Broadway, performed internationally, and even survived a stint on TV's America’s Got Talent.

Squonk premieres, meanwhile, are a familiar sight at the Three Rivers Arts Festival, including 2012’s Pneumatica and 2012’s Go Roadshow  (mounted on a flatbed truck). Both shows were aided by Kickstarter campaigns, and both went on to tour nationally, just as Cycle Sonic is set to do.

Cycle Sonic is unique in that through the cycling component it promotes public health and green energy, and Squonk plans to create “hands-on physics demonstrations for free workshops for public schools and community groups.”

The Kickstarter campaign runs for Cycle Sonic runs until about 10 a.m. Sat., June 11, just hours before the show's first performance.

Tags: , , , ,

Thursday, May 26, 2016

A conversation with comics journalist Em DeMarco on her first-year anniversary at Pittsburgh City Paper

Posted By on Thu, May 26, 2016 at 12:17 PM

EM DEMARCO
  • Em Demarco
We’re celebrating Em DeMarco’s first anniversary with Pittsburgh City Paper! Her story this week on The Legend of the Puke marks her first full year of contributing comics-journalism pieces for us, where she covered everything from Braddock Mayor John Fetterman’s run for Senate to the rise of sexually transmitted diseases.

Em DeMarco wasn’t always a journalist. Her first jobs out of school included seamstress, model-maker, carpenter and bread-baker. But after working for two years as an investigative-journalism fellow at Pittsburgh’s PublicSource, DeMarco decided to combine reporting with her artistic talent. That end result is what you see each month on City Paper’s “Last Page” — a totally smart approach to storytelling and a kick-ass addition to your favorite alt-weekly.

She was gracious enough to speak to us via email about her first year of contributing to CP.

Happy anniversary! What’s your favorite piece you’ve done for Pittsburgh City Paper so far?
I’m proud of the climate change story. Among other things, that was the first time I pushed past my comfort zone and began drawing the headline panel. And I think it’s an example of how I like to compare comics journalism to feeding spinach to kids. In other words, it’s a strategy of reporting big (and sometimes overwhelming) issues in a way that might be easier for some readers to digest.

Your very first comics-journalism story for us was “An Introduction to Gender Pronouns,” where you reported on the use of “they, them and their” as pronoun suggestions for transgender men and women. Since then, CP editor Charlie Deitch has implemented the use of “they” as an acceptable practice at City Paper, a decision he says was influenced by your reporting. Have you gotten any feedback from others who have been affected by your pieces?

Yes, it’s humbling to hear positive feedback from readers, people I’ve interviewed for stories and editors who I’ve worked with — including you all at the CP.

On the contrary, a reader also told us your comics journalism report “Brain-FeasterSunday,” on the Zombie Jesus Ball at the Blue Moon Bar on Easter Sunday, was “totally offensive” and “reprehensible.” Was that your first official hate mail?
Hm, I’m not sure. Probably like most reporters, I’ve had some not-so-nice things said/emailed to me by a few press officers. To be fair, I wouldn’t call that hate mail, though.

You started out working as an investigative reporter for PublicSource. Where did the interest in graphics come from?
After my two-year fellowship with PublicSource ended, I wanted to try to merge the two things I loved — reporting and drawing. I had gone to art school years earlier, but the idea of being a gallery artist made me queasy. So for years, my drawings were just things that I kept mostly to myself — kooky drawings, illustrations, comics. When I finally found my way to journalism (and was lucky enough to get the opportunity to do the PublicSource fellowship), I had already been admiring the work of other comics journalists. So I decided to give it a shot.

You have to document more than most reporters, keeping notes of both the story and the visuals. How do you keep track of everything as you’re interviewing someone: Tape the interviews, sketch while they speak, take photos?
Fannypack. And a bag with backups. The fannypack is admittedly nerdy, but I’ve found it’s the best thing for my main reporting tools (notebook, audio recorder, camera phone); the larger bag is for backups (another notebook, pens, batteries, DSLR camera and a snack, of course). Although I admire comics journalists who draw while reporting, I learned pretty quickly that I’m unable to draw and interview at the same time. I think because my brain is focused on follow-up questions in the moment, I’m unable to dedicate much attention to cartooning. But I should say that what I do is the same as any reporter. Listening, asking follow-ups, documenting the space and details, researching, fact-checking, editing, and so on. The only difference is the way the final story is told.

Are you finding it easier as you go along?
Sort of. I’ve definitely become more comfortable with the mechanics of this kind of journalism — knowing what kind of photo reference I’ll need later, how to explain my process to the people I’d like to interview, etc. But to answer your question, I often feel like I don’t know what I’m doing when I’m working on a new story. Even after having many stories behind me that I’m incredibly proud of reporting. Call it imposter syndrome or whatever you like, but what I have learned is that pattern of panic is normal for me. And what I’ve gotten better at is just pushing past all of those garbagey thoughts.

I love that you include yourself in your comics. Was that a conscious decision of yours to help document that your pieces are nonfiction?
Absolutely. Part of it is simply the economy of space. In a print story, the reporter can write one or two paragraphs to hold reader’s hands through complicated issues, or transition from one part of the story to the next. But anyone who’s done a word count will know you can blow through a couple hundred words in a snap. Especially for short pieces, like the one-pagers I do for the City Paper, I’ve got to have a story that has a beginning, middle and an end — using only about 400 words. Inserting myself in the story is a strategy to move the narrative along, make transitions, and stand in for the readers’ (and my own) confusion. (My favorite example of this is when I was reporting the story about the chickens, and the person I was interviewing used the word “vent.”)

It’s similar to writing a script for radio, which is where I got my start. With audio storytelling, you try to avoid using flowery words or long sentences. And some of my favorite moments in audio journalism happen when the producer is tapped into their own confusion. You’ll hear the producer pause or ask a short followup question. It’s in those moments, sometimes punctuated by silence, that we get to hear incredible tape from the people they are interviewing. Moments when they share heartfelt thoughts or insightful realizations.

You’ve done some work for Bitch Media, which is super rad for me to see because Bitch magazine was one of the first publications that helped me learn more about the world as a young feminist back in college. It’s very cool to picture young artists seeing such great work coming from a female with a strong voice. Has there been anything like that in your past that inspired you when you were younger?
Again, radio! During my 20s, I had been working in carpentry and other fabrication shops, listening to tons and tons of podcasts, radio journalism, audio documentaries. Studs Turkel, Amy Goodman, public radio and Indymedia. The ways they were reporting, who they were talking to, what subjects they were covering all left an enormous imprint on me.

In addition to writing and drawing, you also dabble in photography. You’re a woman of many talents! Do you get any greater satisfaction from one of those mediums?

[Blushing] Thank you! Drawing is something I’ve done for as long as I can remember. But there’s nothing that I love more than going to a show and standing stupidly close to the speakers and shooting photos. It clears my head in a way that’s hard to explain.

You recently launched The CoJo List, an email roundup of recent nonfiction comics with Washington, D.C. journalist Josh Kramer. You were our first introduction to the medium at City Paper. Have you noticed a surge in nonfiction comics journalism elsewhere?

I don’t know about a surge, but it was a welcome surprise to start receiving submissions from nonfiction cartoonists around the world. The CoJo List has been a lot of fun (and a lot of work) to put together, and I’m thankful that Josh asked me to be a part of this project. We both knew that this work existed, but compiling the newsletter has opened my eyes to just how much excellent comics journalism and nonfiction comics are being made these days. We’re hoping subscribers to the newsletter will nerd out on this stuff as much as we do.

On a lighter note, your piece this week’s issue is on Kennywood. What’s your favorite ride?
The Jack Rabbit. Apparently when I was a kid, I was so terrified,that I tried to jump out during one of the dips, my mom says. It’s not the flashiest coaster, but I love it just the same.

Where can our readers connect with you online?
My website is emdemarco.com or @eademarco on Instagram. If nonfiction comics are your thing, you can check out The CoJo List newsletter at tinyletter.com/cojo. (And if you are a nonfiction cartoonist, consider emailing us — there’s more details on The CoJo List landing page or on Twitter @cojolist.)

Tags: , , , ,

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

A conversation with this week’s Pittsburgh City Paper cover artist John Hinderliter

Posted By on Wed, May 25, 2016 at 8:30 AM

John Hinderliter with his Pittsburgh City Paper cover illustration - PHOTO COURTESY OF JOHN HINDERLITER
  • Photo courtesy of John Hinderliter
  • John Hinderliter with his Pittsburgh City Paper cover illustration
John Hinderliter, this week’s cover illustrator, is a freelance artist from Bethel Park. He first arrived in Pittsburgh back in 1975 when he came here for art school and never left. He calls the local art scene “eclectic, diverse and incredibly welcoming.” We caught up with him  over email after he completed this week’s cover illustration.

Have you always wanted to be an artist?
I’ve always drawn and painted, but in high school I was planning on being an engineer since I loved physics. Then I learned you could make a living doing illustration (I went to high school in a very small rural town and didn’t know anyone making a living as an artist), so engineering went away and I got serious about my art.

Your cover artwork this week is a digital illustration, but your portfolio includes a wide variety of styles, from cartoons and woodcut drawings to watercolor and fine-art paintings. Do you have a favorite medium?
Nope. I use whatever medium fits the project and, more importantly, what the deadline allows for. No sense in trying to do an oil painting if the deadline is two days away.

You’ve been a freelance illustrator for over 30 years. What was your first big break?

There was no one big break, just endlessly making phone calls, showing a portfolio and sending samples. When you’re a freelance illustrator, the majority of your time is spent getting the work, not doing the work.

What's the most challenging part about working for yourself?

As I told my accountant years ago, I never wanted to be a businessman. I have no interest in being a businessman. I have no talent to be a businessman. And yet, I’ve spent my entire adult life being a businessman.

This week’s cover illustration depicts men from U.S. dollar bills attending a night out at the theater. Do you have a favorite local theater? Favorite play?
I wish. My wife and I should really get out more and attend local productions. If she reads this, I will definitely be seeing more theater productions.

You’ve done some illustration work for us in the past, but your most recent appearance in City Paper was as a model in an advertisement! Do you moonlight as a supermodel after your illustration work is done for the day?
Ha, I’ve been doing acting and modeling jobs for about 15 years now. Thanks to the folks at Docherty Casting, I make a couple commercials a year. It’s fun, and you get to meet and work with some incredibly talented people. Plus, it’s just plain fun to pretend and get paid for it.

Do you have any big projects coming up?
I wouldn’t say big, but ongoing and interesting. I’ve been illustrating historic chapter books for Penguin Random House for the past four years and I have a couple more of them to finish up; a memorial portrait that will be printed on decals for a Jeep event; and I just brought home some new canvases, so I’m looking forward to getting a new painting on the easel. I love it when I have projects going on in all the stations in the studio — computer, drawing table and easel. Any email could wind up swamping me with work.

Where can our readers see more of your artwork?
The best place is my horribly-out-of-date website and my blog.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

A conversation with this week’s Pittsburgh City Paper Summer Guide cover illustrator Emily Traynor

Posted By on Wed, May 18, 2016 at 6:00 AM

Pittsburgh artist Emily Traynor with her Summer Guide cover illustration - PHOTO COURTESY OF PETER MORSILLO
  • Photo courtesy of Peter Morsillo
  • Pittsburgh artist Emily Traynor with her Summer Guide cover illustration

This week marks local artist Emily Traynor’s first time collaborating with Pittsburgh City Paper. I spotted her work on the Pittsburgh Society of Illustrator’s website a few weeks ago while searching for an artist to hire for this year’s Summer Guide. I was immediately drawn to her whimsical pieces, especially one of her colorful self-promotional paintings of a summer sky, the inspiration for this week’s City Paper illustrations.

You can see Emily’s completed artwork on both this week’s cover, and the cover of our Summer Guide pullout, inserted inside this week’s issue. You can also see pieces of her cover illustrations scattered throughout the entire Summer Guide section — they really liven up the entire piece and her upbeat color palette was so fun to work with. Can we hurry up already and get some of that great summer weather, so we can have as much fun as the girl flying the kite on the cover?

We caught up with Emily over email after she was finished with this week’s illustrations and got her thoughts on Pittsburgh’s art scene and what she’s most looking forward to this summer.


What neighborhood do you live in? 

I live in Greenfield, which is a hidden gem of a neighborhood. The location within the city is amazing — a mile or two from just about everything. My boyfriend and I just bought a house here in November; before that, we lived in Lawrenceville for a few years.

Have you always wanted to be an artist?

After I grew out of my obligatory childhood phase of wanting to be a lion when I grew up, I distinctly remember being torn between being a veterinarian or an artist. I remember compromising that I would first become a veterinarian, and then go back to school for art because that seemed like the “stable” thing to do. And I did start on that route, attending the University of Pittsburgh, beginning as a biology major. But I eventually realized that my love of animals didn’t quite translate into a love of rigorous scientific studies, so I switched over to Pitt’s studio arts major which propelled me forward in my artistic exploration.

What’s your favorite thing about Pittsburgh’s art scene?

What I love most about Pittsburgh is what I think makes it such a dynamic art scene. Pittsburgh has a lot of personality and a ton of character. Each neighborhood has a completely different feel than the next, and you can get the best of both worlds when it comes to city living versus small town, depending on what part of the city you’re in. My favorite neighborhood has always been the Strip District — talk about personality and character! I could walk up and down Penn and Smallman all day long and always manage to find a cafe or shop I haven’t been in before, with so many cultures all around and live street music on every corner. That balance between big-city energy and small-town feel is a perfect incubator for creativity.

Your cover illustrations are a lovely mixture of ink and watercolors. Is that always your preferred medium?
I’ve always tended toward drawing over painting, and love how even just a simple black-and-white line drawing can come across. But, as you can see, I love color — and over the past few years, I’ve developed a certain watercolor palette that is a common thread between my work. I find watercolor charming, as it can be bright but soft, and less of it can be so much more striking as opposed to covering the entire page. White space and watercolor work well together, and I often like playing with negative space on the paper.

Emily Traynor's Summer Guide cover illustrations
  • Emily Traynor's Summer Guide cover illustrations

Has anyone ever gotten a tattoo of your artwork? I’ve noticed that watercolor tattoos are really trendy right now. 
Actually, yes — I posted an illustration on social media and, a few months later, came across a friend’s picture of it tattooed on their body. It’s a wonky drawing of a cassette tape unraveling, and the tape is a line of continuous tangled rainbow. It was a bit of a surreal moment suddenly seeing your artwork permanently inked into someone’s skin — and incredible to think they loved it so much to literally make it a part of themselves.

Your art is so whimsical and happy. Do you listen to upbeat music while you work?
It depends on the part of the process on which I’m focusing at the time. During moments when I’m concentrating most, such as brainstorming, sketching and drawing, I find that I need to keep distractions to a minimum, and often times need silence — or at least music with no lyrics that I’ll be tempted to sing along with! In other phases, though, I’ll switch between music, podcasts and, lately, I’ll sometimes throw Buffy the Vampire Slayer on in the background.

What’s something that someone would be surprised to find out about you after looking at your artwork?
Some may find it surprising that as much as I love creating artwork, my biggest love is singing. My boyfriend is a wonderfully talented musician, and lately we’ve been working on writing our own music. We plan to eventually start performing out in venues — aiming for sooner rather than later!

What’s your dream assignment?
I don’t know that I have a dream assignment. I love being able to create art and be creative as my day job — so, in that way, all assignments are dream assignments. Though, of course, some are more enjoyable than others — like this one for the Summer Guide!

Speaking of which, our Summer Guide lists tons of concerts, art shows and festivals happening around town over the next few months. What are you most looking forward to this summer?
I always look forward to the summer here — Pittsburgh comes alive! I try to hit up as many outdoor events as I possibly can, though I think that Pittsburgh’s outdoor movie screenings are my favorite. Picnicking with friends on a hill at night while watching a movie on a giant outdoor screen is too cool. Also, Dave and Andy’s [ice cream].

Have any big projects coming up?
I’ve been working on developing a line of greeting cards, which I can happily report did quite well in a recent artist market. I still only have a few designs, so my goal is to expand upon my designs and success so far, and keep the ball rolling. It’s exciting to create my own product and nurture a new sort of process.

Where can our readers purchase some of your artwork?

I have my greeting cards and giclée art prints available on Etsy: www.emilytraynor.etsy.com. I also encourage people to contact me if they would like to commission my work — my contact information can be found on my website, www.emilytraynor.com.

Tags: , , , ,

Friday, May 13, 2016

Free play reading on Pittsburgh’s South Side tomorrow and Sunday

Posted By on Fri, May 13, 2016 at 4:15 PM

Some of the folks who brought you last year’s memorable Saints Tour, in Braddock, have assembled local talent for two free staged readings of Don’t Stop: A Play (with dance breaks).

unnamed.png
“Welcome to the world of hurt and heaven that is human adolescence,” goes the tagline.

Its creators call it “a dance-driven, sharp-edged play about how we go slamming around changing each other, with or without permission.”

The play is by Molly Rice, who also wrote the immersive Saints Tour, staged by Bricolage Productions and Rice and Rusty Thelin's Real/Time Interventions last summer on the streets of Braddock.

The show is directed by Thelin, with a cast including Julianne Avolio, Don DiGiulio, Tressa Glover and Sean Sears. Anthony Alterio choreographs dancers Mary Houle, Megan Forster and Lawrence Karl. It’s produced by Real/Time Interventions.

The play includes sex, violence and strong language, so it’s adults-only.

The readings are at 8 p.m. tomorrow and at 7 p.m. Sunday.

Millennium Dance Complex is located at 2504 E. Carson St., on the South Side. The reading is upstairs, in Studio C.

To attend, RSVP to realtimeinterventions@gmail.com.

Tags: , , , ,

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Pittsburgh Filmmakers fires longtime director of exhibitions

Posted By on Wed, May 11, 2016 at 3:23 PM

Gary Kaboly, who for decades has programmed Filmmakers’ movie theaters and its Three Rivers Film Festival, was one of three full-time employees fired this past Friday.

Pittsburgh Filmmakers' headquarters, in North Oakland - PHOTO BY BILL O'DRISCOLL
  • Photo by Bill O'Driscoll
  • Pittsburgh Filmmakers' headquarters, in North Oakland
Pittsburgh Filmmaker/Pittsburgh Center for the Arts interim executive director Pete Mendes confirmed the layoffs to City Paper this afternoon. Mendes said the layoffs were part of an ongoing restructuring at the financially troubled organization, and were not cost-cutting measures.

Also let go were Chris Smalley, who headed Filmmakers' equipment-lending office, and equipment-office employee Dan Whitmore.

The lay-offs were about “putting the right people in place to move the organization forward,” Mendes said. He added that other staffers were moved from part-time to full-time status.

Kaboly was perhaps Filmmakers’ longest-serving remaining staffer. He was hired in the mid-1980s, when Filmmakers, then known mostly as an educational organization, opened its first off-campus screening room. The Fulton Mini, located Downtown in a side room at the Byham Theater, showed foreign-language, art and indie films.

The Mini later closed, but by the late 1990s, Kaboly was programming three theaters: the Regent Square Theater, in Edgewood; Downtown’s Harris Theater; and the Melwood Screening Room, at its then-new headquarters in North Oakland.


Continue reading »

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Listings

Submit an event

Recent Comments

© 2016 Pittsburgh City Paper

Website powered by Foundation

National Advertising by VMG Advertising