www.cliftonmetalworks.com

Monday, January 16, 2012

2012 Show Planning and Schedule - Photographs

It's that dreaded time of year when we have to start thinking about what shows we are going to apply to and what we're going to show.  Many people think that it's straight forward but nothing could be farther from the truth.  Many countless hours are spent: scouring scrap yards, creating samples, researching art shows to apply to.  Then we have to take photographs; clean up the photographs; resize the photos depending on how individual shows want them; and finally adding them online or to a compact disc, creating photographs, or even having slides printed (although that is really becoming a thing of the past.

I'm going to focus on the photography aspect for now that I've created a number of samples.  I wrote earlier about different processes with the hearts that we've created for years and really happy with the direction were going.  We're actually going to be showing mostly this new work at shows this year, and we're still doing our other work but it will be limited to about three shows.  We'll add more to our website once we get this sorted out when the "come join us" and/or "rejection" letters start coming in this spring.
Above is a four foot tall heart that is about 12 inches wide and two inches deep.

Mackie and I tag-teamed on taking photos today.  We hung each piece individually, and she took three photos from different angles.  Digital cameras are great because it allows us to instantly see what were doing; this has saved countless hours and developing fees working this way.  I then took the photos and added them to my laptop and began working the next magical steps...Photo editing.  Regardless of what anyone says, there's always something to do.  Pictures don't just magically come from the camera.  Almost but not quite.

I take the image and remove the background and then add a generic background like the one above.  I don't do any re-touching to the photos.  If we don't like the color or exposure, we take it again.  It's so easy with the digital camera and way quicker than using all the fancy photo-editing tools.  In my case I don't have a clue how to use 99.9% of them.


The heart about is created from recycled metal shelving strips of various colors.  Note how I keep it real simple and use the same background for each image.

I've finished editing five photos tonight and still need to work on the booth shot with our new wall art to get ready to apply for shows beginning next week.  Over 70% of 2012's applications are due by January 31st!  That's when the pressure really starts.




Saturday, January 7, 2012

The Side Door Heart Opening







Last night Mackie and about 50 fun art loving, food loving, and even barley pop loving friends enjoyed our celebrating our new heart display at the Side Door at 425 SE Washington in Portland, Oregon.  It was great to see everyone and especially nice to see the impact our work makes to people.

We have a great life and great friends, and we're very fortunate to have such a following.  It's humble to recall that this all started because of the metal scrap piles around the West Virginia family farm where I grew up as a teenager; my varied work career from working in machine shops in the Auburn, Washington area; to working with the cable tv, telephone, and power companies; to our friends who seek us out at art shows throughout the country, our art galleries that spend countless hours supporting our work; and, most of all to my amazing wife Mackie who continues to encourage me.

All these factors contribute to the way I look at what others discard.  The hearts in the two photos are made from recycled metal shelving of different sizes and colors.  I love working with metal exactly as I find it.  Of course I add a lot of elbow grease in cleaning up the metal with wire brushes, steel wool and then finishing it off with several coats of wax buffed out to a nice shine.  It's a lot of work but you are worth it.




The left heart with the varying color stripes is about two feet tall by a foot wide and was created from shelving that was about four inches wide.  I had to cut the sides off and grind the sides down before I welded it onto an inch and a half tall frame.  The standing heart in orange with the diamond plate is about 16 inches tall by 12 inches wide.  It's created from the same metal shelves.  Turn the heart around and their is lots of plumbing parts, tools, and copper springs to give it a real industrial look.  The red heart's skin was created from a piece of three foot by eight foot steel shelving that I created three cutouts in and rivited a piece of polished aluminum diamond plate in it.  I like them all but the red one is really special. 

I love feedback.  You can leave a comment here, and I'd love to get back to you and add you to our mailing list so you'll get updates on where we're going to be at.