Sunday, May 27, 2012

artsy forager

God bless Lesley Frenz...aka 'the artsy forager'...for her thoughtful blog post about our work last week.  I think artists are sometimes too close to their own work to properly describe it, and Lesley has probably topped me here in her understanding of our motives and goals.  It's truly a thrill to have someone so beautifully describe what we do.

Lesley is also doing a beautiful job forging connections in the art world.  I heard from several prospective clients and one gallery shortly after this blog posted.  One of the clients, a lovely lady on the west coast who would probably never have known of us otherwise, purchased a small painting.  We've been having a nice little email correspondence since, the last installment of which included pictures of our painting amongst it's new neighbors in her collection.  The piece hanging directly above ours caught my eye and turned out to be by one of our collectors and new friends Ruth Fiege who will be our booth neighbor at the Cherry Creek Festival in Denver this fall.  Small world!  

Thank you, thank you, thank you Lesley!

It's all much prettier on Lesley's page, but I'm inserting her text here just to make sure I can always find it!

Every family has an unofficial photographer.  That one person you can always count on to be there, camera in hand, to capture milestones, special gatherings and stolen moments.  My maternal grandmother played the role in my family.  She filled album after album of memories to leave behind and those photographs are among my most treasured possessions.  They are a visual storybook of our family history.  Greenville, South Carolina artists Signe and Genna Grushovenko find the precious memories of strangers and translate them into paint.

Though the source photographs themselves have been abandoned by their owners, whether by choice or loss, the artists capture the moments and further anonymize them, erasing faces of features and expressions.  Thus they become instantly relatable.  The faces could be you.. your brothers.. your mother.. your grandmother.

The husband and wife painting duo collaborate on each canvas, husband Genna supplies the underlying layers of color, pattern and texture onto which wife Signe applies the inspired composition of color blocked figures and settings.  The use of a vibrant, limited palette allows the eye to focus on form and depth– and there is plenty of it to be had!

We always tend to look back on “the good ol’ days” with fondness.  Whether or not the days were really good is debatable, I suppose.  But I think there is much we can learn by looking back on the imagery of our past.  How to be content.  Living with less but living more.  Enjoying simple moments with family and friends.

I hope your weekend was filled with simple, blissful living!  To see more of Signe & Genna Grushovenko’s work, please visit their website.  Oh and be sure to check out one of their gorgeous pieces hanging in the 2012 HGTV Green Home!  PS– My hubby is convinced that we’re going to win one of the dream homes. ;-)

-Lesley Frenz, the Artsy Forager

Sunday, May 6, 2012

splitting the team

 Genna and I have been together for 13 years this July, collaborating for over ten, and traveling to festivals for about eight.  We both work from home and we spend around four hundred hours a year in a van together.  People often ask us jokingly what this is like, as they assume its probably filled with strife and irritation, and I always answer that it's fantastic...89% of the time.  The truth is that it's fantastic 98% of the time, but 89% is funnier.  98% sounds both fake and cloyingly sweet.

There was lots of fighting at the very beginning of our travels.  It generally revolved around the setting up of our tent/display and my irrational nerves over traveling.  Over time, we worked out all of the kinks and got the fighting down to maybe once every three or four shows.  We've done our respective 'setting up' jobs so many times now that we barely need to speak to one another.  It's like a mime ballet.

A handful of weeks ago, fate conspired to split our team.  Running low on work during a 5 week 'tour', we decided I would sit out a show and stay home to paint.  Shortly after making that decision, we were invited to the ribbon cutting ceremony for the 2012 HGTV Green Home during the time we were scheduled to be at the Brookside Art Annual in Kansas City.  Reluctantly, I agreed to stay back and attend and leave sweet Genna on his own for a second festival.

Secretly, I was delighted.  I felt like a child that was getting to stay home from school.  No sweaty set sitting around for three days in the heat (or rain, or wind) waiting.  Our team splitting experiment is now nearly done and I can say without hesitation that I never want to do it again!  I missed the sweaty set up.  I missed the sitting around.  I missed the dinners and drinks with our artist friend posse.  I even missed the riding in the van.  To rub salt in the wound, Genna gave himself some little vacations in between shows and visited museums, antique stores, and Elvis's house.  Jerk.  Mostly, though, I missed Genna.  Our everyday mime ballet is hard to do with one person.  I think he felt the same.  It took him around six hours to break down our booth from the first show.

On the plus side, I attended the Green Home ribbon cutting with my mother and my very best friend, and it was a beautiful, proud moment that I was more than happy to share with them.  Serenbe, the site of the Green Home, is a 1000 acre wooded retreat that I would highly recommend checking out if you're anywhere near the Atlanta area.  Dinner and breakfast at the Farmhouse were spectacular.  We toured the Green Home and took a hundred blurry iphone pictures in front of our painting.  All in all a great two days that I won't ever forget.

That said, I'm ready for my man to come home.  I'm bored of my own company and ready to resume our 24 hour a day collaboration!