3rd Street Gallery: Work on a Timeline

This month I’ve had the awesome privilege of having my work in a group show at 3rd Street Gallery in Philly. It’s a Rutgers Camden Department of Fine Arts Faculty and Alumni show, and the cool thing is, I’m now in the faculty category (my first class teaching for Rutgers starts up in just a few weeks). I unfortunately couldn’t make the opening because I was teaching my Art 101 class at RCBC, so today Melissa, the boys and I took the PATCO in to see the show and listen to a couple lectures.

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3rd Street Gallery

First, off, it is really a great show. I was honored to be a part of it from the get go, but I guess it’s been a while since I’ve seen a lot of the faculty’s work in person. They are really fantastic artists (and individuals) and I was reminded of how so many of them impacted my own work.

Bruce Garrity and Ken Hohing are the two professors who I’ve kept in contact with in particular over the years, and they were delivering their lectures today. While I was excited to hear them speak, I wasn’t really planning on hearing anything new because, well, I’ve heard them speak quite a lot over the years. But here again, I was blown away at the quality of the lectures they both presented. They both spoke at length in particular about who influenced them throughout their histories, leading to how their work is where it is today.

I really appreciated the perspective of their current practice not as a grand culmination of some kind, but as simply the most recent occurrence in the evolution of their work. It was really a wider view of their art practice, almost on a timeline, on which we are somewhere in the middle.

So I have two take aways from today:

  1. Stop getting hung up on trying to find “my work” and just keep making, because I think at the core, being a creator is more important to the process than what in particular is being created at any given moment.
  2. I really need to start creating a library of artists and images that I feel are my influences. Not so I can copy them better (although, would that be a bad thing?) but so I can more easily put my finger on the concepts I’m working though by referring to artists that have already been there.

So,  if you were asked, would you be able to easily list your top 10 influences?

Goin’ Someplace Special Project

This semester, on top of teaching two classes at RCBC (Intro to Art and Photo 101), I had another opportunity to do a teaching residency through Rutgers – Camden Center for the Arts. For 9 weeks, once a week I’ve been visiting 4 3rd grade classrooms in a Camden charter school. Whenever I get an opportunity like this, I always want to lead the kids in a project that they would never be able to do if I wasn’t visiting, and since my wife is a k-3 art teacher, I have a pretty good idea of the range of projects that elementary students typically accomplish.
So, the project I led them in was a 3 color reduction print-making project of their self portraits. Week by week I led each student through the process. Some of the steps are fairly advanced for 3rd graders to be doing together in a group setting, but I think the final results are awesome. To finish it off, I digitized each of their prints and combined them into a 3×13 foot banner displaying every student that did the project. The text, “we are going someplace special” relates to the book that went along with this project “Goin’ Someplace Special”.
I’m proud of these students for sticking with it even when it got tough and I think this banner will make for a great addition to the school.

Below I’m including some of the best individual prints.

Art and Goings On

I’ve been meaning to update my blog with some recent goings on, but it’s tough to make the time. But now I looked and was shocked to see that it has been since August that I last posted. So, now it is time for a recap. First, my journey continues with work from the RMNP residency this summer. I’m done sending most of the rewards, but now I’m working away at the two most labor intensive: the ebook and photo book. The exciting thing is that it is a blast working with the images and they’re turning out really well. I can’t wait to see them completed and in print!

Next, a couple of weeks ago I began another teaching residency through the Rutgers-Camden Center for the Arts. I’m in a different school than before, working with different 3rd grade students and teachers, so there is a bit of a learning curve, but I’m very excited about the project we’re working on for the full 9 weeks. We’re doing a foam plate, 3 color, reduction print of each of their self-portraits. Once their done they’ll be scanned in and turned into a huge banner that the school will use. The whole project generally relates to the Big Read project book, “Goin’ Someplace Special”. Anyway, I’ve been enjoying myself and the kids always keep things lively. Below are just a handful of the 90 or so student portraits that they are making their plates from.

And last, just a bit of good news I got last night. I submitted my work to the NJ Educators juried show at the Markeim in Haddonfield. I was awarded second place, which is great, and I also sold one piece, twice! (That is, one person bought it and another asked if I could make a second print) That’s a win in my book.

And looking forward, I’ve got some interesting job stuff lining up for the future, but I don’t want to count any chickens just yet, so I’ll keep you waiting until further notice.

Kickstarter-Started, among other things

The cabin I’ll be staying in for my residency this summer.

Once again it has been entirely too long since my last post, almost 2 months to be exact. As usual, lots has been keeping me busy since then and I guess I’ll give a general update to keep you in the loop.

I had the cool opportunity to give a presentation for the 2015 Faculty eLearning Conference, talking about my experience and recommendations for developing one’s first online class. It was my first experience being on a panel like that and it was lots of fun.

2015 Faculty eLearning Conference

In May I finished up my first semester of teaching Art Appreciation at Burlington County College. It was, of course, a much different experience than what I’ve been used to in photography studio classes I’ve been teaching, but it was a good experience. Good enough, in fact, that I’m scheduled to be teaching it again in in the Fall (friday nights, for anyone who’s interested). I’ll also be teaching a section of Photo 1 at BCC this Fall, in addition to working on developing a new class for their photography program.

And now for my biggest news…..

You may already be aware that I was selected for a residency this summer for Rocky Mountain National Park’s Centennial Celebration. And now I have officially launched a Kickstarter campaign to help cover the costs. The residency includes a free stay at a historical cabin inside the park, but I’ve still got to cover travel and art production costs. So, go to my Kickstarter page to learn more about what I’ll be doing for the residency and consider backing me for some pretty awesome rewards. And of course, I’d appreciate you sharing my project with anyone you think may be interested.

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/benpanter/rocky-mountain-national-park-artist-residency/widget/video.html

A Show and a Jury

I was recently in the Faculty and Alumni show at the BCC Student Gallery (if you haven’t been, it’s a really nice space, right on the main street of Mount Holly). I had several pieces in, some of which were quite a bit older, from before grad school even. But, lo and behold, one of them sold! In all honesty, I had all my work priced to sell (because storing artwork is not as much fun as making new work) but it’s always nice to be appreciated in monetary form. I am especially glad to see this piece go because it is a huge pain to cart around.

It is on of the ones from my “wild NJ” series, and measures around 70 inches wide. I am a big fan of the panoramic effect and of the tones I managed to portray, but getting it in and out of a car was a real trick. So, we are happily parted.

I also was recently asked to jury the “Best of 2015” show at the Student Works Gallery of Rutgers. It is really an honor to be asked and a lot of fun to do. It was my first time jurying via digital images, which did make some decisions more challenging, but in general it was a great experience. Then, yesterday I went to the opening, got to see the work in the space in person, and announce the awards. The students who are currently running the gallery are doing a great job, and I can’t say enough good about Ken Hohing and Bruce Garrity who are the faculty advisors for the gallery. They’re really great at helping students get the most out of their experience. I am very grateful to them for their guidance  and investment through my college years and I hope I can do the same for my students.

Many Updates for 2015

It has occurred to me that if I were more faithful in contributing to my blog, each post wouldn’t have to be so epic in scope. And yet, somehow it is always so difficult to find time for such a simple thing.
Well, at any rate, it has been entirely too long since I’ve posted anything, and as a result, there are many exciting things that have happened in my art career that need documenting.

First, I was a teaching artist in another residency in Camden over the winter. My previous residency there was extremely positive and rewarding. This time there were many more challenges involved, but towards the end I was able to hit my stride in the after school program and I felt like I was really contributing to the program and to the kids’ lives.

Snowflakes made by paper casting
Zentangle landscape

Second, I have now officially developed my first online class for Rutgers. It is called The Contemporary Photographer, and focuses on contemporary photographic practice, critical issues, and image making. The development is finished, so now it is listed as a summer session class. I’m not %100 certain it will get enough students to run because it was listed very late compared to other classes, but I got the bulk of the work done at least, so now I’ll just have to wait until it gets offered at a good time. At any rate, it has been a learning experience (I was previously trained in Blackboard, but Rutgers uses Sakai) and I am very thankful for the opportunity.

Third, I have 4 weeks left in my Art Appreciation class at BCC. It has been a lot of work, and teaching a lecture based class is a whole different ball of wax than the studio classes I’m used to, but I’m very glad for the experience and for all that I have learned out of it. (Not only did I have to brush up on my broad view of art history, I have also been incorporating various lecturing and classroom techniques.) I am probably most proud that for one of their projects, they had to go out on first friday in March (braving the cold) and to an analysis and comparison of two works. It was great to see them all down on 2nd and 3rd milling around the galleries and using their classroom skills in the real world.
I’m also excited because I’m already on the schedule to be teaching darkroom 1 again at BCC and hopefully one other class in the Fall.

Finally, the biggest news for my year. In October I had applied to a residency in Rocky Mountain National Park for their centennial celebration, and just a few weeks ago, I got it! It was such a shock to get a call from the National Parks Service in which they congratulated me for being selected. It is such a huge honor. This residency is much different than my experience last year at Artscape Toronto – Gibraltar Point. That residency was much more of an artist retreat, where I could spend time in the studio and sharing my work with the others in residence. This one simply gives me a cabin in the Rocky Mountains for 2 weeks. I will be giving 2 short artist talks at the visitor center and after my time there I will be giving them some of my  work to help promote the park and the AIR program. Other than that, the time is completely mine. I am free to hike, explore and collect resources for my art to my hearts content. I’m so excited, but I’ve been so busy I haven’t had time to dedicate to thinking about or planning much yet. But now that the semester is almost done, I can start laying plans and figuring out what my goals should really be there.

The cabin I will be staying at…. yay!

So that is all for now, at least all that I feel like writing down at the moment. I’ve had some great opportunities this semester and I’m excited about my upcoming ones. It’s proving to be a wild year.

New Year Restart: Short and Sweet

I’ve been insanely busy over the past few months, but in a good way. I unfortunately don’t have enough time to share everything that has been going on right now, but I wanted to at least do a kick-off post for 2015 with some good news I just got in the mail. It was a contract from Rutgers University, hiring me as a part time lecturer for the department of fine art. Specifically I will be developing an online photography course over the next month or so and then will teach it starting in the summer! There is of course a lot more that has been going on around here and a lot more I could talk about with this opportunity, but that will all have to wait until my next post.

Residency Final Installation

A few of the students checking out their work during installation.

The “My Dream, My Future” project is now officially complete. Earlier today I went into the school and installed the photo quilt in the main hallway of the school. The teachers I worked with, some of the students that were available during that period, as well as two of the organizers from the Rutgers-Camden Center for the Arts were all there, ooo-ing and aaahh-ing at the finished piece and picking out their favorites of the squares. I’m proud of what the students and I were able to accomplish together, and I look forward to doing another project in the future.