Phoebe Murer at POST

I know mixed media artist, cartoonist, painter and printmaker Phoebe Murer from Fleisher Art Memorial where we both serve on the student advisory committee. So I jumped at the chance last month to tour her studio which was on this year’s Philadelphia Open Studio Tour, sponsored by CEVA, the Center for Emerging Visual Artists.

Phoebe’s work can be startling for those expecting portraits, still lifes and studies. Yes, there are some of those because she is a formally-trained artist. But, as a self-described person “on the spectrum,” she has had to navigate the sometimes brutal institutions and bureaucracies that occasionally seem to do their utmost to suck whatever is unique and creative out of us. If you are not on the spectrum, but are even a little bit different, you surely know what I’m talking about.

Phoebe takes these experiences and makes art out of them. She uses conventional art materials and mixes in a healthy amount of wit, humor, truth, love, and perspective. The emotional kind.

A self portrait

More Self Portraits

I learned that when Phoebe was in high school, she made a collage at the end of each year. Later, she made paintings of some of the collages

Phoebe keeps rats as pets, and they are very important in her life. (Before meeting Phoebe’s friends, the only rats I had ever met were in my kitchen late at night, or in the crawl space beneath my old house. ) She has a little rat cemetery behind her house and paints a sleeping beauty portrait of each furry friend after they die. Rats live about six years, so there have been many rats in Phoebe’s life.

A “mask-ini” rendering of an imaginary bikini made from COVID masks. A humorous reaction to the difficulties mask wearing can cause for some on the spectrum

Screen prints

Water scene.

To see more of Phoebe’s work, go to her website here, and her Instagram feed here. Read an article on Phoebe’s work at Fleisher Art Memorial here.

Some words about this year’s POST tours.

I didn’t go to many other art studios this year. Why? Read on. The way POST works is that art studios in certain neighborhoods, like South Philadelphia or West Philadelphia, are open to the public on a given weekend day. In the past, CEVA provided easy access to the addresses of art studios that were participating on a given date. So if I wanted to visit several studios that were participating on, say, October 15 in South Philadelphia, I could find their addresses together on a list and plan my route.

This year, CEVA provided a link to a poorly-designed interactive map which was extremely cumbersome to use on your phone. I was not the only person who had this problem. There were brochures that listed the addresses of which studios were open on a given date by area, but they were scarce to the point of non-existence, (although someone at a South Philly studio cheerfully told us we could pick up copies at CEVA’s office in Rittenhouse Square, a mile and a half away. )

There were booklets that gave the addresses of the studios, but these were listed in alphabetical order by name of the artist and not grouped by date or part of the city. The QR code in the booklet inexplicably took you to the same thing. It should have taken you to a downloadable PDF with the addresses for each studio participating in each neighborhood on a given day. I truly hope CEVA does better next year. POST is a wonderful program.

A Walk Around Bok Part 2

This is a continuation of last week’s post my wanderings around the Bok Building during this year’s POST Open Studio Tours in South Philadelphia.

First I landed at the studio of Lynn Snyder and Scott Woyak.

Lynn Snyder

 

Lynn Snyder
Lynn Snyder
Scott Woyak
Scott Woyak
Scott Woyak

Lynn is a teacher and Scott is a pupil at the Studio Incamminati for Contemporary Realist Art, which was my final stop for the day.

Studio Incamminati, which is located on the top floor of the Bok Building, offers fine art instruction that includes degreed programs, high school programs, continuing adult education, and open studios.

Student in the sculpture studio

If you’re interested in seeing what Studio Incamminati has to offer, go to their web site or subscribe to their newsletter, here.

A Walk Around Bok Part 1

I feel as if I am getting behind in my blog posts although I’ve been posting regularly. It’s just that there’s so much going on around me that even if I don’t feel particularly inspired lately, there’s no shortage of creative people around me. That and my penchant for taking pictures everywhere I go.

If you’re anything like me, you love to peek into other people’s creative spaces. Every year, The Philadelphia Open Studio Tours, or POST, gives me the chance to do that without feeling like too much of an interloper. This year, I went back to the Bok Building in South Philadelphia to see some new art studios. WC Pottery sure got my attention!

WC Pottery is aptly named because potter Erik Wright set up a working pottery studio in a small bathroom in the Bok Building. Maybe he played a lot of Tetris as a child?

I live in a small house and I know a thing or two about working in small spaces. But WC Pottery’s space is a model of efficiency beyond what I would have thought possible. I was impressed.

Not an inch is wasted. There’s a sink, a glazing area, and storage, too. And some very attractive pottery you can see on Erik’s Instagram site here and web site here.

I’ll be writing about more artists I met on this years’ POST tour. Stay tuned.

Polymer POST

I have published several posts about one of my favorite local art programs, the Philadelphia Open Studio Tours (POST).  But this year is the first time I have ever encountered polymer artists on the tour.   My friends Patty Pickup and Terri Powell (ArtSci designs) joined together in West Philadelphia to showcase their work for this years’ Open Studio Tour West.   They were the only polymer artists on the tour this year, but I am hoping this will change as more people start to recognize polymer as a serious art medium. 

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Patty’s Spruce Hill home was a great place for the display

Patty has an incredible, huge studio on the third floor of her home.  To see pictures of Terri’s studio, press here.

Patty’s latest work.  Her color washed-pendants are very popular.

ArtSci designs yummy carved and backfilled bracelets look good enough to eat.  I own a set of these and love wearing them.  If you are interested in purchasing any of Terri’s work, you can contact her through her web site here.    Patty does not have a web site yet, but I’m sure that’s only temporary.

 

 

 

 

Ann Roantree, Designer and Weaver

I met Ann Roantree when I toured the Bok Building back in October. One of the first things Ann told me  about herself was that her father was a master quilter. This certainly must have inspired her love of textiles.  She showed me a lovely black and white modernist quilt her father made toward the end of his life.  She keeps it in her studio as a memento.

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With a background in art and graphic design, Ann started weaving about 15 years ago when  she took a class and was hooked immediately.  But textiles were already in her blood;  her father and  grandfather were versed in needle arts and made everything for the family.   Ann learned how to knit and sew early on.

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Today,  she designs and weaves one-of-a-kind and limited edition rugs, runners, wall hangings, and textiles. Ann has exhibited at the Philadelphia Craft Show and area galleries.   Her spacious and airy studio  holds three looms crafted of hardwood maple, supplies, and a showroom area with examples of her work.    Like so many of the artists I met  during my visit to Bok,  Ann jumped at the chance to rent a Bok studio because of Bok’s amenities and management, and because Bok is walking distance from her house.  I loved wandering around her colorful studio,  Enjoy the pictures.

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To learn more about Ann and her work, visit her website, www.roantreeweaves.com,  and follow her on Instagram.