Inspiration from the Dali Museum

Last week, while I was in Tampa Florida, I took an afternoon trip over to St. Petersburg.  I was hunting up some seafood and looking into the local art scene.  While I wasn’t sure what part of the peninsula would yield lunch, I knew that at some point I would spend a few hours at the Dali Museum. This would be my second visit to the Dali and would prove to be just as fulfilling as the first.

Salvador Dali Museum
Salvador Dali Museum

To start with, the museum has several architectural features that I find really interesting. The most obvious are the billowing glass windows on the bayside of the building.  A strong second is the staircase in the center of the building the self-supporting concrete spiral twists upwards, extending beyond the top floor and ending in midair.

Dali’s surrealistic paintings are a great place to let your imagination roam around unchecked.  I don’t see any need to concern myself with Dali’s  thoughts or intentions behind his work.  Instead, I allow myself to create my own stories around his imagery which ultimately leads to all kinds of inspiration for me.

The very first piece I encountered was Autum Sonata.  In it, I saw a battle raging between two people, a few lay possibly exhausted or injured and another maybe just an uninterested soul. All this set in the foreground while an unaffected city rests behind it.  I cannot help but project my preoccupations of our own current affairs on to this scene.  Exhausted by war, soldiers bare the blunt of the conflict while the country at large is unaffected.  Or a scene of drones fighting while the city on the other side of the water appears to be unscathed, for now.

Another impression I took from this visit deals with his landscapes within scenes.  I saw a commonality among many pieces of stark and mostly empty landscapes.  I enjoyed how emptiness plays as significant role as any action the scene may include.

I took away a range of emotions and ideas inspired by the works I was drawn to and wonder how they will impact the work on my current projects. I hope you have a chance to wander through his world at the Dali Museum the next time you are near St. Petersburg.

Art of reflection on 11th Avenue

Last Fall while I was in New York City I took my first stroll on the High Line. While walking along, I saw a building from several blocks away that caught my eye and required closer investigation. It was not the form that drew me to the building so much as its use of light.

100 11th Avenue by Jean Nouvel
100 11th Avenue by Jean Nouvel

The building turned out to be the 100 11th Avenue by Jean Nouvel. The building is in good company, sitting right across the street from Frank Gehry’s IAC building.

Its windows, in a variety of shapes and sizes, are at what appears to be randomly set angles. Light is reflected from many different sources. The effect instantly took me back to my Winding Creek project.

One of the things I came to appreciate during the months I spent lighting dancers in water at night is how waves reflect light. Each part of a wave reflects light coming from a different place. The trough to the crest heading towards you is reflecting light from just above you. The crest has a different source, and the backside of the wave yet another. Due to the curving form of a wave, the transitions between these sources is gradual. And so, when you look at a group of waves, they form complex and interesting patterns.

I took note on how you can evoke a variety of feeling depending upon how you choose to use these reflections. Jean Nouvel’s 100 11th Avenue takes this concept to another realm, where I have only started working—a kind of cubist reflection of the world surrounding the building.

The New York Times declared Jean Nouvel  “…the most original architect of his generation.”

100 11th Avenue Website


Nude Nite Orlando, More than Just Fine Art

The 200 pieces of fine art photographs, sculptures, and paintings are just a part of Nude Nite Orlando. “It’s made of painters, performers, acrobats, …” explains Director Kelly Stevens. “It’s about visual extravaganza. A feast if you will.”

Posing by Jonny Edge
Posing by Jonny Edge – Acrylic on Canvas


Empusa 2 by Christopher Johnson
Empusa 2 by Christopher Johnson

Nude Nite is as much a happening as it is an art show.  Thousands of people attended the show during its three night run.  And if you came late you’d end up standing in line.  The attraction is for the performances as much as the art.  There are burlesque shows, acrobats performing on stage and on a large hoop suspended from the ceiling.  Roving models, live body painting demonstrations, and performance artists moving through the crowds.

Nude Nite Crowd
Nude Nite Crowd


Nude Nite Model
Nude Nite Model


Attendees are encouraged to bring their cameras as long as they are respectful and understand the limits of what can be done with their photographs.  “If you think about the event from a photography standpoint it probably has two dozen of the most incredible visuals that I’d like photograph,” continues Stevens. “It’s a very inspiring event.  Full of color and texture, which is what I think photographers really like.”

Unbridled by Cheri Mittermaier
Unbridled by Cheri Mittermaier; Perfomance artist in background


Artistic Beauty by Trevor Neigebauer
Artistic Beauty by Trevor Neigebauer


The tag line, “Take a nude home tonight” is meant to encourage attendees to purchase art.  And when they do, they receive free tickets to Nude Nite for life.


Double Happiness by Shannon Holt
Double Happiness by Shannon Holt

Nude 2011, “Fine” Art

You never know what to expect the first time you attend a new event in a new city. So Friday night when I left my hotel and headed over to the Lexington Art League’s(LAL) opening night for their 25th anniversary “Nude 2011” show, I tried to temper my expectations. I had read that is was one of North Americas largest nude art shows, but I wondered just how much support for nude fine art could exist in Lexington, Kentucky. So when I starting diving next to a beautiful park and first laid my eyes on the Loudon House, LAL’s home, I had to check the address a third time.

Lexington Art League's Loudon House
Lexington Art League’s Loudon House

The Loudon House is an amazing historic building. And then I tried looking for a parking spot only to find everything full and was forced to create a space on the snow covered lawn. I walked into a beautiful gallery full of people listening to live music while enjoying good food and cocktails.

Just one of the Loudon House's exhibit rooms
Just one of the Loudon House’s exhibit rooms

And the Art? It was very impressive. Fifty pieces ranging from photography to sculpture including paintings, video, 3d mixed media, and drawings. Each unique in style and approach to the nude. I could not wait to ask Becky Alley, LAL’s Exhibitions and Programs Director, why they chose this theme.

Over There? by Don Luper
Over There? by Don Luper, charcoal 39×59


Taking Off by Ken Landon Buck     Taking Off by Ken Landon Buck, acrylic 32x42
Taking Off by Ken Landon Buck
Taking Off by Ken Landon Buck, acrylic 32×42


“I think the nude or the body is relevant to contemporary artists because we all have one,” explained Alley. “Whenever you’re making art you’re hoping it’s communicating something to an audience. It’s a language. (And with this language) you can start talking about the human experience by using the body as imagery or form.”

Mountain 1 by Christine Wuenschel, charcoal & acrylic on paper 72x96
Mountain 1 by Christine Wuenschel, charcoal & acrylic on paper 72×96
Felicia 1424 by Mark Webster
Felicia 1424 by Mark Webster, oil on canvas 36×36

Nude 2011’s jurors are from the same region yet have different backgrounds. “It was good to have people from the same area so they could get together face to face and talk, which they did a couple of times,” says Alley. “I like the idea of having either jurors or artists in different mediums so they bring kind of different perspectives. Or having a visual artist and a curator.” Karen Gillenwater is Curator at the Carnegie Center for Art & History in New Albany, Indiana where she plans art exhibitions and programs. She was formerly Director of Art Galleries and Curator of Collections at Georgetown College in Georgetown, Kentucky and Curatorial Administrative Coordinator at the Speed Art Museum in Louisville, Kentucky. Mark Priest has a BA in painting from the University of Louisville and an MFA in painting from Yale University. He is currently an associate professor of painting and drawing at the University of Louisville.

Domestic Matter 2 by Hui Chi Lee
Domestic Matter 2 by Hui Chi Lee, graphite and color pencil on paper 22×30

My primary reason for attending Nude 2011 was because my photograph “Neophlyte” was selected as part of the show. While there I met many of the patrons and artists. Experienced some exceptional art and Lexington’s culture. This will not be the last time I attend. I highly recommend that if you are in the Lexington area during the show’s two month run that you head over to the Lexington Art League’s Loudon House and experience it for yourself.

Search for fine art nude photography inspiration ends touching soul

Hand in Hand dance performance

Inspiration comes to me from many directions.  Sculpture, paintings, nature, and dance to name a few. When it comes to dance, I spend a lot of time going to live performances and searching the internet for recorded ones.  One day I came across a performance that not only inspired my fine art photography but also my soul.

The 2007 4th annual CCTV dance contest held in Beijing included the performance “Hand in Hand” performed by Ma Li and Zhai Xiaowei.  It is a beautiful piece made extraordinary when you consider Ma lost her right arm in a car accident when she was 19 and Zhai lost his left leg when fell from a tractor at the age of 4.  It is better to view the performance than to read about it.

I am very fortunate being able to spend my time pursing my passion for creating fine art nude photographs.  Along the way I come across stories like this one which move me on so many different levels.

China Daily article.