Sunday, December 27, 2009

NINE gets 8 1/2

I've been following the press and awaiting the Christmas release of NINE. In preparation for seeing the film, I wondered if the film comparatively would stand up to or equal Chicago or Moulin Rouge? Midway through viewing the film, I realized the answer to my question would be No... however, by the end of the film, I too realized I had became too quick in judging or comparing it with either of those earlier films. NINE certainly stands on it's own merit, looking and feeling like a gritty foreign film and not just another flashy song and dance musical. NINE also tips the hat to it's long running stage version... and it does both extremely well.

The film's best song goes to Kate Hudson's performance of "Cinema Italiano". Hudson is delightful in the wonderful and playful role as Stephanie, an opinionated film critic for Vogue Magazine. Her center stage song number is truly fab and extremely well presented with lavish colorful sets paired with gorgeous black and white Italian film references. "Be Italian", Fergie's Saraghina number runs a very close second. As good as the songs are, my biggest criticism for this musical would be that the songs are less memorable those of the prior blockbusters mentioned. However, the combination of the songs and choreography, storyline, and the beautiful creative cinematography hold the film together nicely.

Daniel Day Lewis was a phenomenal choice for Guido Contini and Lewis pours himself into the character. Judy Dench was a perfect pick for Lilli, as was Penelope Cruise for the sexy and sensual Carla. Sophia Loren as Mamma, the mother and influence on the young Guido, really worked for me. Casting her in the film is certainly a tribute to her era of stardom as well as to the heyday of 50s and 60s European cinema. Well done, Mr. Marshall.

The art direction and visuals were perfect for the big screen... truly sensual, inspiring, and greatly artistic. As an artist, I was drawn to the creative direction of the film and I also saw a bit of myself as I watched Guido attempt to balance his creative genius with his day-to-day life. While Chicago and Moulin Rouge may have been better entertainment films, NINE clearly holds it's own. As an artist, I found a great message in NINE and especially in it's artistry. Past inspirations are always grounded in the artist' soul... even when reinventing himself. NINE works for me.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

dear santa letter or uhhh.. font?

Dear Santa,
I know with my being a finicky artist and designer, I'm sometimes REALLY difficult to please... so finding that perfect gift is always a task. Please, pleeeease do not fill my stocking with horrible fonts. I'd much rather have coal instead. At least I can draw with that.

I think this pretty much says it... all. Size XL.

Thanks Santa ...I hope you enjoy the freshly baked nachos and cold cervezas I left for you... limes are in the frig.

love, me...

Saturday, December 5, 2009

painting with words

For as long as I can recall, music has always been one of the most inspiring forces in my life. The lyrics to my favorite songs paint an inevitable image of hope, remembrance, and inspiring emotion on my soul. Many of those lyrics have layered their spirit into my paintings. If ever there were a film capturing my private time in my art studio, the footage would certainly capture the emotion that three and a half minutes of words supported by a few guitar chords and rhythm uniquely have on my work.

I tip my hat to the songwriters who are poets and the poets who sing the songs.

Shown above: "Three Sisters", mixed media on paper, © 2009 Gary Garbett.

Friday, December 4, 2009

finding focus on a thesis

Reflecting Betty © 2009 Gary Garbett
Finalizing yet another semester in my graduate program, I'm finding myself turning a corner as I prepare for my final push in the fine art Master's degree program at VCU. My creative direction and focus continues to become more refined in preparation for setting the stage for my thesis exhibit in 2010.


A visual meld and marriage of painting, video, and photography will become the canvas in my mixed media pop infused collection of the figure.

the fine art of eggs, cheese, and onions

When I'm not in my art studio, you're likely to find me in my other studio... the kitchen. For me, working with food is very similar to working with paint, sculpture, or photography. It's all about preparation and visual presentation.

Someday I'd like to create an art book focusing on my recipes, writings and artwork. 

(photo © 2009 Gary Garbett)

Quiche d' Art

This is a fave and the variations are endless. Again, presentation is everything. Serve this with oven roasted potatoes or a fruit salad with a fresh pot of ground coffee or mimosas for a delicious adventure. Frozen deep dish pie shells come 2 to a package, so I generally double the recipe for two beautiful pies.

2 tbsp of butter

1 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
3-6 slices of bacon (alternate 1/2 cup chopped turkey)
1 cup fresh spinach
1/2 to 1 cup fresh sliced mushrooms
1 cup shredded mixed cheeses (I prefer sharper blends)
1 cup half and half
3 eggs beaten
2 tbsp grated parmesan cheese
sprinkling of chopped sweet basil (preferably fresh)
1 deep dish frozen pie shell (if you have the time to make you own... go for it)

Preheat oven 350 degrees.

Bake empty shells in oven for 8-10 minutes to stiffen crust. Remove and set aside. This will prevent the bottom of your quiche from being soft and soggy.

Fry bacon. Set aside to cool. If using turkey, move forward to next step.

In skillet, over medium heat, add olive oil and butter, melt. Add onion and saute till clear, add mushrooms and cook till tender and onions are browned. Add spinach and stir mixture till spinach becomes wilted (add a splash more olive oil if needed). Add crumbled bacon or chopped turkey. Stir together and remove from heat.

Pour skillet mixture into pie shell. Top with cheese.

Combine half and half and eggs, beat thoroughly and pour overtop mixture in shell. With blade of knife, lightly stir contents to evenly distribute in shell.

With a brush or clean finger, dip into egg mixture and brush across the top of the crust edge. This will create a wonderful sweet browned crust.

Lastly top the pie with grated parmesan and a sprinkling of sweet basil for visual and taste.

Bake in 350 degree oven for 30-35 minutes until filling is golden and set. Test center with clean sharp knife to make sure the center is done and not wet.

Voila!... Serve warm or cold.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

artistry of model, muse, and life. a bidding farewell.

I recently watched a beautiful documentary film on art photographer Edward Weston. The film, Eloquent Nude: The Love and Legacy of Edward Weston and Charis Wilson is a warm and touching look at the artistry of Weston and the long relationship he shared with his model, muse, writer, and wife, Charis Wilson. The story is told with impeccable personal accounts of their life as artists and lovers by Charis. The interview portions were filmed prior to the 2007 release of the film, when Charis was well into 90's. Her recollections are incredibly sharp and highly personal.

Sadly, Charis died just last month at the age of 95.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

finding art in the performance of life

I had the most joyous time last night watching a film that moved my soul. The 2006 film Venus stars Peter O'Toole, nominated for Best Actor in his role as Maurice, an aging actor that celebrates and loves the art of living. The film's cast is stellar and the dialogue amongst the film's characters is pure, pure genius, heartwarming, funny, and more importantly... incredibly real.

It's a story that makes us laugh, smile, cry, and breathe in all those things that most make us live. Venus is genius filmmaking, a remarkable story, and just another reason why Miramax remains at the top of my list.

"Venus" film quote that I just had to scribble in my sketchbook:

Ian: I love this horrible place. It reminds me of what I wanted to become.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

art in a glass

We recently spent a sunshine filled autumn afternoon motoring the by-ways in a westbound direction towards the Shenandoah Valley. Our unplanned Sunday journey was met with a road sign announcing one of Virginia's many wineries was just a mile on the right. We decided to take the turn and after following the winding scenic road up the mountain discovered the fine art of DelFosse Vineyards.

After an hour or so of sampling their delightful spirits, we purchased several bottles of reds and whites to take home, joined their DelFosse Wine Club, and then enjoyed a glass of wine while sitting on the rockers overlooking the scenic hills, lush meadows and the majestic Blue Ridge Mountains. What a fabulous day of unplanned magic. cheers!

Friday, November 6, 2009

capturing the moment when it prompts you

photo © 2009 Gary Garbett
The color, the quiet, and the solitude suggested that I pull the car to a stop this morning to capture the moment during my eastbound drive through Richmond at 5:52 AM.

Fortunate for me, I had my camera with me. Pulling the Mini Cooper to a stop in a No Parking Zone, I did just as my creativity suggested.

As usual... inspiration reigned.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

a cinema celebration of timeless film art

Over the past 15 years, TCM has become more than a television network - it is a community of passionate classic movie fans, a place where watching great films connects people. In April 2010, we will gather to watch great movies introduced by the the people who made them, listen to behind-the-scenes stories, enjoy newly restored films, and share our enthusiasm for classic cinema... at the first ever TCM Classic Film Festival in Hollywood.

I'm looking forward to hearing more details about the festival in the next few weeks. In the meantime, this seems to be the perfect reason for me to plan a trip out west while whistling a few bars of Hooray for Hollywood.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

there's a hole in my roof and life's getting in

photo © 2009 Gary Garbett
I revisited the Blue Ridge yesterday in celebration of my birthday, life, and the changing of the seasons. As always, an instant reconnect touched my soul.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

richard carlyon retrospective lecture program

September 17
Curator's Panel at Anderson Gallery

September 24
Howard Risatti at Reynold's Gallery

October 1
Artists' Panel Discussion at 1708 Gallery

October 8

Jason Carlyon and Ray Kass at the Visual Arts Center of Richmond

Richard Carlyon (1930-2006) maintained an active studio practice over five decades, producing an extensive body of paintings, drawings, videos, collages, and constructions. Thematically grouped selections displayed at four Richmond venues offer an overview of his development and wide-ranging perspective. More information available at Visual Arts Center of Richmond.

Gallery info:

Thursday, September 17, 2009

fine art books displayed in richmond

Richmond artist Michael Pierce and VCU instructor and artist Ginna Cullen curated this exhibit that presents a broad array of bookart works, both one-of-a-kind and editioned.  The work will be exhibited on pedestals in the gallery and selected images of the work will be displayed on-line and in a printed catalog.  In addition, the public can spend some time in a "Reading Room" at the gallery created by Douglas D'Urso; there you can sit and handle some of these bookart works (when artists have granted such permission) and experience them in time and space.

Invitational Bookart Exhibition
September 25 - November 1, 2009  
Fourth Friday Reception: 7:00 - 10:00 PM, Friday, September 25, 2009
Opening Artists' Reception: 7:00 - 10:00 PM, Friday, October 2, 2009
Fourth Friday Reception: 7:00 - 10:00 PM, Friday, October 23, 2009
Closing Curator / Artist Talk: 4:00 PM, Sunday, November 1, 2009

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

mourning venus receives bright welcome

Pictured is a still taken from one of my submissions for 1708 Gallery’s InLight PSA contest. All video entries were required to be 20 seconds in length and display a light theme. Mourning Venus was selected as a runner up in the competition. Special thanks to Ken Hopson for his music.
InLight, the light-inspired multi-media art installations by 26 international artists will be displayed in storefronts, projected on buildings, installed in alleys, and on the street.

The one evening exhibit is Friday, September 25, 7pm - midnight.
For more information on the exhibit, visit 1708 Gallery.

Monday, September 14, 2009

fine art, fine life at 50

©2011 gary
There's always such negativity related to the idea of turning... the big 5-0. Some of my greatest heroes, icons, and mentors have done it and they're still creating art, reinventing themselves, and touching lives. How about this list of AARP members? Madonna, Prince, Bruce Springsteen, Batman, David Bowie, Sting, Tina Turner, Kim Basinger, Denzel Washington, Michelle Pfeiffer, Barbie, and my lovely wife to name a few.

Last month Mini Cooper
even celebrated it's 50th and next month it's my turn. I think I just may celebrate it with a few of my friends from the list above. Life just keeps getting better and better. it!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

becoming grounded in inspiration

©2011 gary
Admittedly, I've long been an artist that sometimes gets lost in the contemporary message of my work. I do after all own it and somewhere in my hellbent creative mind, it becomes almost gospel in its sacred delivery and message... even if viewers are sometimes left questioning why. Seems as artists, the world revolves around us. Imagine that. We absorb our surroundings, dissect it, rearrange it, and spit it back out to the world as a reinterpretation of the original... or transforming it into something totally original itself.

Though my art rarely displays it, one on the most rewarding and grounding times for me as an artist ...and as a normal Joe, is reconnecting to the gifts, spirituality, and honesty of nature. After having spent a few weeks in the concrete and steel of Washington, D.C. this summer, I committed myself to taking the long road home ... escaping through the Shenandoah Valley and the Blue Ridge Mountains. As its always been for me... it was a Godsend of beauty, sound, and a welcoming peace. I try to make room for these centering sort of road trips every few years and afterwards, I always wish I'd make time for more. Through my camera, my thoughts, and an endless open blue sky... I once again found me.

Its in those moments of tranquility that reconnect my soul, inspire my contemporary hellbent mind, and strengthen my passion for a creative, healthy, and grounded way of life.

Monday, August 24, 2009

pop art, pop life, pop culture ...pop this!


Pop Culture has always been a driving force throughout my creative process. This short film was completed about 2 weeks following the United States Presidential Election in November of 2008.

he said. she said. no!, ....she really did say it.

It's quite amazing how perceptions can sometimes become shifted.

"Woman" is a short film that I produced for a graduate fine art class. My basic concept behind the film was to combine a pop fused collection of visuals, music, and words to celebrate women... including public quotes about women from one of the most iconic females of the past century.... Marilyn Monroe.

After premiering the 3:19 film during my critique, silence filled the room followed by outrage and missed perceptions. It was quickly stated that, as a man, it was not my place to produce a film celebrating women. Seems that in my attempt to create a pop vision, I'd unleashed a rage of emotion complete with literal face to face confrontations.

I still stand behind my initial concept and for me... it still represents a celebration. Thank God I listed Ms. Monroe as the originator of the film's text in the final credits. Without them, I may have been reduced to ashes following the witch burning.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

just a brush stroke

David Leffel
Painting isn't just applying layers of color over one another.
In this video, David Leffel from the Los Angeles Academy of Figurative Art poetically explains the importance of the brush stroke and ".... putting down pieces of paint on the canvas".

Saturday, August 22, 2009

contemporary figures meet classic

Mark Miltz

I had the opportunity to meet Mark Miltz and view his incredible paintings while exhibiting in an exhibition at the Rawls Museum Arts in Courtland, Virginia during 2003. Mark's total mastery of the figure and his inclusion of contemporary culture and sculpture with his large-scale paintings is truly stunning.

fearing art

©2011 gary

I find myself amazed at the varied perception of others when it comes to the human form. My wife and I have a very diverse and impressive collection of fine art that we've collected through the years. As we prepared to place our home on the market last year, we found ourselves following the normal Realtor suggestions to de-clutter our home before placing the lovely "for sale" sign in the yard. De-clutter we did and upon the agents returning we were given full approval of our earlier assignment. It was at that point that we were then asked one additional task before placing our gorgeous home into their hands during one of the worst real estate markets in decades, ...remove or replace any nude art in our home... "because it just may offend someone".

I didn't recall us having any musty covers from men's magazines or tacky velvet paintings hanging throughout our home. Each of the paintings and sculptures in reference are all beautiful original works of art, all from artists who have exhibited in upscale galleries and museums around the country... including some work of my own. I was stunned by the suggestion and angry at the idea that I had to secretly hide our beautiful art collection. After six months, we removed our house from the market and replaced all of our art back to their walls and pedestals. Regardless of whether you refer to it as nekkid or nudes, our home was once again filled with the inspiration and the beauty of art.

Art has always filled my life with vivacity, passion, and a yearning for life. The staleness of status quo numbs my soul and generates a void for all emotions.