Tuesday, May 21, 2013


But what does it mean?!

I debate often, with others and with myself, the benefits and detriments of artist self representation vs. gallery or dealer representation.  While Genna and I do both, the plusses of self representation far outweigh the detriments in our personal equation.  No one is more motivated to represent us than us.  Not having a middle man between us and our collectors helps us keep our prices at a reasonable level.  Travel.  The glamour of sweaty, windy, panicky booth assembly.  Oh, sorry, that goes on the other side of the equation.  But the biggest benefit by far is the constant feedback we receive from viewers as we sit for hours, looking at our paintings, hearing what they have to say, and discussing the work.  I believe I have learned as much about our work from others as I have from actually participating in making it.

I had a particularly interesting conversation with a young man recently in The Woodlands, TX.  He was of an age that I now consider ‘a kid’…probably somewhere in his early twenties…and was intensely chatty.  He was poking me mercilessly to reveal more and more about what our work means, what our motivations are, what are the themes, why is this this color, why is that painted like that.  He was very sweet and I was doing my best to answer his questions but was struggling as most of what he was asking had no verbal answer.  Finally I said something to the effect of “painting is a visual media.  If I could communicate everything I wanted to communicate in words, I’d be a writer.”  I promise I didn’t mean this in a smart ass way.  It’s just true.  And more than not having a clear answer in my own mind to many of his questions, I felt that to manufacture answers would minimize the work, make it about one thing when thing when truly it’s about everything and/or anything  I think this is why you’ll often find artists much more interested in discussing their medium and physical processes than their themes.  I can talk all day about how Genna and I make our work but tend to gloss over the ‘why’ with broad strokes…family, community, nostalgia, the quality of memory, the beauty of the everyday.

I wound up having a really great conversation with that kid about art in general and the contrast between visual and verbal art that had me charged up for the rest of the day.  Like I said, perks of the business.  Then last week I was reading Malcolm Gladwell’s ‘Blink’ which is about the power of and mechanism behind snap decisions.  Around page 119 there’s this:

Let me give you a very simple example.  Picture, in your mind, the face of the waiter who served you the last time you ate at a restaurant, or the person who sat next to you on the bus today.  Any stranger whom you’ve seen recently will do.  Now, if I were to ask you to pick that person out of a police lineup, could you do it? I suspect you could.  Recognizing someone’s face is a classic example of unconscious cognition.  We don’t have to think about it.  Faces just pop into our minds.  But suppose I were to ask you to take a pen and paper and write down in as much detail as you can what your person looks like.  Describe her face.  What color was her hair?  What was she wearing? Was she wearing any jewelry? Believe it or not, you will NOW DO A LOT WORSE AT PICKING THAT FACE OUT OF A LINEUP.  THIS IS BECAUSE THE ACT OF DESCRIBING A FACE HAS THE EFFECT OF IMAIRING YOUR OTHERWISE EFFORTLESS ABILITY TO SUBSEQUESNTLY RECOGNIZE THAT FACE.
            The psychologist Jonathan W. Schooler, who pioneered research on this effect, calls it VERBAL OVERSHADOWING.  Your brain has a part (the left hemisphere) that thinks in words, and a part (the right hemisphere) that thinks in pictures, and what happened when you described the face in words was that your actual visual memory WAS DISPLACED.  Your thinking was bumped from the right to the left hemisphere.  When you were faced with the lineup the second time around, what you were drawing on was your memory of what you said the waitress looked like, not your memory of what you saw she looked like.”

(I apologize for the shouting…the caps were mine, not Mr. Gladwell’s).  SO…aha.  We all have a visual, instinctive, magical place in our minds that is not only not enhanced by a verbal overlay of an experience but actually subverted by it.

Does this mean we shouldn’t talk about art?  Absolutely not.  We should all be pleased to share our experiences of art.  This interaction enriches the art exponentially.  What we should not do, however, is ask artists to give to us in words what they have already given us whole heartedly, freely in paint, clay, song, pixels, metal, wool, troll doll assemblage, photography, peep collage…

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

bayou city feature!

Genna and I are THRILLED to have been chosen as the featured artists for the Bayou City Memorial Park Art Festival in Houston next month.  This is one of our favorite festivals in one of our favorite cities.  They selected our 'Spin' and 'Pendleton Pegasus' for use on the billboards and commemorative posters for the show.

"Spin", 30" sq oil on linen, $1950

Here's a sweet little piece that they wrote for their February, Valentine's Day themed newsletter:

Signe and Genna Grushovenko have a lifestyle where collaboration is key. Partners in both art and life, the married featured artists have been creating art together for nearly ten years. 

"I think the things that make our marriage successful are the same things that make our collaboration successful," said Signe. "Genna and I are different in many ways but those differences complement one another."

After viewing any of the Grushovenko work, it's apparent that these differences influence their artwork and help to make it even more unique. While creating a piece, Genna begins the process with tonal underpaintings of acrylic and oil pigments. After his work dries, Signe takes over and uses vintage photos as references for oil pastel drawings and then finishes the work with painting in oil.

"In our work, Genna lays down the rich, spontaneous foundation and I tame that wildness with my figures," said Signe. "The results are both paintings and a lifestyle that neither of us could have created on our own."

Together the artists find harmony in both art and their relationship. Genna says the couple's marriage is the foundation from which their artwork grows. Because of this they are able to dodge the battle of egos that could come from two artists working together on one piece. 

"No matter who is the star in a particular piece, in the end 100% of the praise and the profits all come home," Genna said.

The fact that the Grushovenko's art is created with love and collaboration makes it even more special. Though each layer is unique to Signe or Genna, the final product is a beautiful, harmonious piece, much like their relationship.

For more information on Signe and Genna, the featured "art couple," please visit the Bayou City Art Festival website or the Grushovenko's website.  

Monday, January 21, 2013

share with us?

Genna and I are looking to expand our collection of images from the 50's, 60's and 70's and hope you can help.  Are there photos in your family albums that would make a great Grushovenko?  If so, please go to our artist page on facebook and post them there.  If you're going to post, please read to the end! If we choose one of your images to make a painting, we will:

1.  Send you something.  I'm not sure what it is yet.  At the very least you'll receive a box of notecards featuring one of our paintings.  What we may do is make a limited number of cards from each piece chosen, in which case you'll get those :)

2.  Give you right of first refussal on the painting made from your photo.  There is absolutely no pressure to buy your piece, but we won't let anyone else have it if you want it.

3.  Make a book from the images and give you one.  Every piece created from a submitted photo will be professionally photographed and put together in a catalog to be produced and distributed to all participants next winter.

4.  Say thank you from the bottom of our hearts.  We've done variations on this idea twice before and several 'all stars' from our image collection came from there...including the 'Boy Line, Bike Tangle' image entered by Ralph & Nita Howard and the 'Soft Bather' entered by Susie Brown, both from the LaGrange GA show.



Primarily exterior shots.  Interior shots need some interesting background (architecture, Christmas tree, patterned wallpaper, cool furniture).  Sports, family groups, dining scenes, airplanes, palm trees, suitcases, embraces, beach scenes, action, attitude, dancing, cool shoes, suits, pegged jeans, good hair, motorcycles, cool cars, roller skates, candid wedding, bell bottoms, poolside, bikinis, converse sneakers, rvs, camping, boy scouts, girl scouts, greasers, golf.

Our work is mostly faceless, so we're looking for images that are strong on physical personality.


Professional portraits, facial close-ups, posed wedding pictures, posed class pictures.

If you are submitting in hopes of purchasing your painting if chosen, please send us a private message when you post your images telling us what size range you would be interested in and which images on our website have a color pallette that appeals to you.

Common sizes, price:

9" x 12"    $375
12" x 16"  $450
16" x 20"  $600
20" x 20"  $800
24" x 36"  $1500
30" x 40"  $1950
36" x 36"  $2400
36" x 48"  $2800
36" x 60"  $3250
48" x 60"  $4800

NOT A FACEBOOKER?  Email me your images directly.

Please scan your pictures at a photo quality, color rich setting, even if they are black and white.

the fine print:

IF YOU SUBMIT, please understand that you are giving us permission to make and sell a painting from your photo.  The painting may be photographed and submitted for entry in exhibitions.  While we do not make any prints of our work for sale (giclees, etc.), we may print the image as postcards or notecards to use as client gifts or for promotion of future exhibitions.  If we love your image, we may create more than one painting from it.  SUBMITTING A PHOTO SIGNIFIES THAT YOU AGREE WITH THESE TERMS.  If you have any questions or concerns, please contact me before submitting.

Friday, January 4, 2013

28 day dance party

'Spin' 30" square oil on linen, $1500

Our budding experiments with capturing movement have blossomed!  The '28 day dance party' launches tonight at Art & Light gallery, 4 Aberdeen Drive, Greenville SC from 6pm-9pm.  Come join us for some moving and shaking in the New Year!

Big thanks are in order to A&L gallerist Teresa Roche who envisioned this series and gently prodded us into tackling it for the last year or so.  Teresa is a boudless source of energy and enthusiam and I hope we have captured even a fraction of her energy in this show.

The exhibition opened for sales this morning at 9am.  This series is available exclusively through Art & Light through the month of January.  To see the series and for purchasing info, visit our website at www.grushovenko.com.

'Orange Crush', 16" x 12" oil on masonite, $450