Saturday, November 5, 2011

Greenville Open Studios

Hi all! This weekend is our very first 'Greenville Open Studios' weekend. We are incredibly excited to be a part of this fantastic event. Our visit here for the 2010 show was the clincher in our decision to make the move to the upstate. Over 100 artists are opening their studios and homes this weekend for the public to come in and see their work and their process.

Here are a few pictures of our space, featuring 30 new pieces from myself and Genna, new paintings by Steve Frenkel and Melinda Clair, and fabric art by our Nastiya.

Hoping to see everyone!

1203 Pendleton Street, Greenville SC 29611
Saturday 10-6
Sunday 12-6

Friday, August 12, 2011

grushovenko gallery pics

Hi everybody! We're two weeks open at Grushovenko Gallery and I finally got around to taking a few photos. They start from the outside and proceed more or less from the font to the back. Genna built the wall just inside the front door facing out that has the bathing girls painting on it. It's on casters so it can be moved around the room and also provides storage for our extra pieces (Genna is a genius). The last few pics are of our neighbor Joey and his studio. Our spaces connect through the west wall.

Pics are clickable.

Grushovenko Gallery is open every Friday and Saturday from 10-5 and every first Friday of the month from 6-9. We're at 1203 Pendelton Street, Greenville.

Friday, July 29, 2011


The opening of our new gallery has progressed in my mind from 'place to park our inventory while we're not traveling' to 'all I can think about'. Don't tell Genna, he thinks I still have everything in it's proper perspective.

Thursday we moved in furniture. This morning I started bringing in all of what I like to call 'the giblets' (my nonsensical term for accessories). I drug in a full car load of pots, quilts, art books, and rugs and then met with my gallery neighbor Joey Bradley to work out the design for our new signage.

We'll have a vertical 'art gallery' banner hanging above the front door and window vinyl with 'Grushovenko Gallery, fine art and craft' on the window. I picked out this font:

which I thought was really au courant. Joey informed me that OCR A Extended is embarrassingly 2009 and totally gauche (my words, his sentiment). He basically told me that he could not be associated with such a loser, so in the end we settled on the font that Ed Ruscha uses in his paintings:

It's called 'tapeworm'

and Mr. Ruscha refers to it as:

and that's exactly what I was going for, so...perfect. Hopefully it will still be in vogue by the time the signage goes up next week. (I kid Joey. He was very sweet and helpful and I always appreciate his excellent advice.)

I had no idea that designers had such strong feelings about fonts. I did, however, know that most people have grown to hate comic sans with a white hot passion. My good friend Kathrine Allen-Coleman had a fantastic, foul mouthed little movie about the poor fellow on her facebook feed today. Enjoy! (Unless you're not a big fan of cursing, then please ignore.)

I'm Comic Sans, Asshole from joehollier on Vimeo.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

triple crown!

Genna and I are back home after nearly a month on the road. This was our longest trip yet...3500 total miles driven. We'd like to say a huge thank you to all of our friends and clients in DesMoines, Omaha, Denver, and Madison that made this our best tour yet.

Here we are at the Joslyn Art Museum in Omaha:

Same place, Genna with a giant hypno head:

Same place, me riding a pencil:

Genna running from a T-rex on his birthday (I wish I had video of this as right after this moment his funny face turned to a fearful face as he went running out of control down the hill, eating it at the bottom. He wasn't hurt.):

and us in the Rocky Mountains:

I'm also delighted to report that we won an award at all three of our festivals! Genna's calling it the 'triple crown'. Best of show in DesMoines, Juror's Award in Denver, and an Invitational award in Madison. The best thing about this is that we're now jury exempt for those shows next year. All of my festival friends out there will know how much this means. The jury process for these shows is so competitive that it's not at all unusual to have a great show in a city one year and then wait several years to get back in. So, yay!

Our other big news is that while we were away, a full studio opened up at the Flat Iron Studios building here in Greenville. Our good friend and artist Kent Ambler had graciously offered to split his space there with us so we already had plans to join the Flat Iron family, but we're even more excited that we'll now have a full gallery/studio space to play around with. We'll start our move in process tomorrow so I'll have lots more soon about our new partners, future plans, and the before/after of our new place.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Engine # 6

Every once in a blue moon, we make something that I step back and see and say "that's exactly what I had hoped to do". I finished a piece this week that was one of those. She's called 'Steam Engine' (oil on linen, 36" x 48"). Mine and Genna's layers married just right here and I think additionally I broke some new ground with my treatment of the foliage in the upper right quadrant. It's also a lot of intricate work that I think reads as easy and whole. Yay!

I just looked up how often a blue moon is and it says approximately once in 3 1/2 years. So, maybe I make something that really tickles me two or three times in a blue moon!

Here's the last piece that made me really happy:

'New Truck', oil on linen, 36" x 36"

I made it about a year ago and have it hoarded up hanging in my living room.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

"Memento" at Wynn Bone

Big thanks to gallerist Wynn Bone who is hosting our solo show "Memento" through the end of this month. Wynn's gallery is a lovely, light-filled, second floor space on Main Street in downtown Annapolis. If you're in the area and looking for the show, you'll find it above the fine jewelry shop 'Casa Nova'.

Wynn did a beautiful job installing the show, giving each piece plenty of room to breathe. My favorite part of the show was the treatment of the small works. Due to the tiny amount of real estate we're used to having at festivals, I'm used to seeing my little babies in clusters of as many as 15 at a time. Wynn hung only 3 of the 6 or 7 small pieces we brought, giving each one plenty of elbow room. I loved the effect of this...making each little piece seem like a jewel.

We've been working with Wynn for over a year but this was our first time at the gallery. I was really taken with the stable of artists he has put together. Each artist seemed entirely different on first glance, yet there was a strong connection amongst them. It's hard to say exactly how to name this connection, but I think it has to do with technique and surface quality. Each artist (figurative, abstract, landscape) had a unique process for layering a lush, deep surface that hooks you into long-time-looking.

Building a strong 'artist family' at a gallery has to be in the top 3 most important jobs of a gallerist. Several clients at the show mentioned to us that they collect from almost all of Wynn's artists and that they trust Wynn to bring the goods every show. Check out his artist catalog online at

Kudos, Wynn.

P.S. I loved his dog.

Monday, May 23, 2011

art closet

I've made about 8 mid to large sized paintings in my new studio...'fondly' referred to as my 'art closet' due to it's massive size...and the jury is still out. The former owner of our house was an accountant who worked from home and the studio was her office. Counter tops wrap around the room on three walls leaving only about 4 or 5 feet of floor space in width. This means that I have to stand with my canvas parallel to the long side of the room and re-orient the canvas over and over to get out of the room or to step back and see what I'm up to.

If you're a painter, you understand how important the stepping back is. Its almost impossible to see what you're up to if you can't get 10-15 feet back from a large piece. I think if we rip out all of the counters and take off the studio door I'll be able to get enough distance by stepping out into the hall. That's all on my to-do list but might have to wait until winter!

Here's a peek at my art closet. And yes, if you look hard enough you'll see Oprah, Hank Hill, and the Cake Boss.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

In the Greenville Journal

Big thanks to Cindy Landrum at the Greenville Journal for this great article, and Art & Light owner Teresa Roche for putting us together. We had such a great talk with Cindy that I forgive her for quoting me as saying that I'm a lazy painter. (I really did say that, I should have just prefaced it with 'this is off the record'! I say that to people constantly so it was just a matter of time before it became public record.)

The article is also about Artisphere, which was a great show for us...including a second place ribbon. Congrats to our good friend and art crush Lisa Norris for trumping us with best of show.

By Cindy Landrum
MAY 12, 2011

After Signe and Genna Grushovenko became partners in life, they really didn’t set out to become partners in art, too.
That’s something that began to happen gradually a couple of years into their marriage.

Because Signe Grushovenko was used to drawing with pastels on colored paper, she did not want to paint on a white canvas.

Genna, who was stretching and preparing the canvases that his wife would use, began underpainting. Soon, he began to turn the underpainting into more than just a bottom coat of color. They became abstract paintings in themselves.

He turned the canvases over to Signe, who uses her collection of a couple thousand vintage photographs ranging from old family photos to flea market and antique store finds as inspiration for the scene she paints over Genna’s colorful abstract canvases.

The Grushovenkos, who moved to Greenville in February, will join 10 other local artists chosen for artist row for this year’s Artisphere.

Artisphere, which is rated in the top 20 for art festivals in the United States, runs Friday through Sunday.

The 120 visual artists were chosen in a blind-juried competition from among a record 784 applicants. Half of the artists, including the Grushovenkos, are participating in the three-day festival are new to the festival.

“That’s exciting,” said Kerry Murphy, Artisphere’s executive director. “We’re excited that many artists want to come to Greenville.”

The artists represent a variety of mediums: ceramics, drawing, glass, jewelry, oil painting, acrylic painting, watercolors, photography, printmaking, sculpture and woodworking.

The artists aren’t the only things new.

The festival will feature artist demonstrations by local artists. Festivalgoers can watch a potter throw clay pots, an artist painting with wax and a blacksmith tying an Appalachian broom.

Gone are the food and beverage tickets, as cash will be accepted for the first time at all the food booths. The food vendors are using recyclable paper products, while beer and wine will be sold in recyclable cups.

Returning to the festival is crowd favorite, Brian Olsen. Olsen uses his fingertips, elbows and up to three paintbrushes at a time to create large paintings of pop icons during a single song.

Musical performances are highlighted by Sonia Leigh on Friday and Cory Chisel and the Wandering Sons on Saturday.

The Artists of the Upstate juried exhibition is hanging at Centre Stage.

Signe Grushovenko said while Genna’s part of the paintings got more complex, hers got simpler.

“I select what portion of his work to feature,” she said. “I am harnessing moments in his very free creative process.

Genna, who is from the Ukraine and completed compulsory service in the Soviet Army, said he has no preconceived notions of what his underpaintings will look like when he starts.

Sometimes, Signe tries to tell him what colors or patterns she needs.

“That’s the only thing we fight about anymore,” she said.

Genna said his painting is a “jazz-like process.” “Sometimes, it’s hard to control,” he said. “Any restriction on my creativity does not serve me well. It’s a very fluid and spontaneous process.”

Sometimes the process creates an underpainting that Signe doesn’t originally think she can use.

“It pushes her to make some difficult decisions,” he said.

Genna said it’s difficult to duplicate the process because he paints outside and weather conditions can affect his results because he uses very thin paints.

“The unpredictability is part of the fun for me,” he said.

Signe said she is drawn to vintage photographs because of the patterns created by the groups of people, including the shapes between them and the repetition of arms and legs.

“Signe selects a photograph for a feeling,” he said.

Signe’s first painting from a vintage photograph used a picture of her great grandparents.

“I felt a real resonance with black and white photos,” she said. “They give me freedom of color.”

She doesn’t base many of her paintings on family photographs anymore.

“Some of the photographs I use once and some I go back to over and over,” she said.

She likes early century photos because “people made such great shapes in their clothes.”

Signe, like Genna, doesn’t know exactly where she’s headed when she begins a painting. But she knows when it’s finished.

“I’m kind of a lazy painter. I like to be done,” she said. “It’s easy to overpaint.”

The Grushovenkos are looking forward to their first art show in their new hometown.

The move first came up when a pair of very close friends moved to Spartanburg. There was nothing left to keep the Grushovenkos in LaGrange, Ga.

The first time they came to Greenville – for Open Studios – they were convinced to move.

“We were thinking it would be a long process, but we were here in within three months,” she said.

Although the move added some travel time to their outdoor art show circuit which is usually around a dozen art shows around the country, the move has been a good one, Signe said.

“Coming from a town where we were the only full-time artists in town to here, where there is a talented group of artists who were very welcoming, I was blown away,” she said.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Art & Light Installation

We've been busy beavers since my last post (two months ago...embarrassing). Two trips to Texas, one to Kansas City, and a bunch of other stuff I can't remember right now. The one bit of doin' I'm most excited to report is that we've just opened our first exhibition here in our new hometown of Greenville SC.

I was in Art & Light the first time last November when Genna and I were just considering our move. I was so impressed with the quality of the artists and the clever, current style of the displays that I figured Greenville couldn't be half bad! Gallerist and designer Theresa Roche presents her artist's works alongside carefully chosen mid century furniture and lighting. She has an awesome eye and a great sense of humor (uber important to good design).

So, we were incredibly honored that our G'ville coming out party took place at Art & Light. Theresa visited our studio a few weeks before the opening to preview the work in order to chose furniture and accessories as appropriate accompaniments. The result is one of my favorite installations of our work ever. My favorite part is the vignette in the rear of the gallery featuring our 'Secondary Class Portraits I & II' (24" x 72" each panel) and 'Pre Poker' hanging above the 100" 60's Henredon sofa. The fabric on the sofa is original and converses brilliantly with the underpainting in the class portrait.

If you're in the area in May, go by and check it out. Also on site are our good friends Joey Bradley and Kent Ambler and many other fantastic local artists. For gallery hours and other info, visit A & L online at