Items 1 to 5 of 11 total

Brent Leopold - Mail Art in a Field in PA

Brent Leopold loves the United States Postal Service. He says he has sent his artwork to every US state and even around the world as part of his “Human Artist Vending Machine” project, which he records in photos on his Flickr account, along with other painting and drawing projects he’s working on. Brent participates in mail art with friends and strangers “as a way to connect art world-wide, trade with other artists, and do something with [his] doodles and studies.” His art has appeared in three Greek newspapers and some of it resides in the Coke Company Headquarters after one mailing experiment. Brent says he has “mailed art to one random business in every US State. Just to see what happens.” 

It’s almost shocking that mail art is a still a thing in 2015—especially with the US Postal Service supposedly on its dying vestiges in the digital age. There is a collective called the International Union of Mail Artists, formed August 16, 1988. Their website was established in 2008 and is still quite active. Post Secret is probably the most well-known community mail art project in the United States, established by Frank Warren in 2005. Anyone can mail a secret, written or illustrated on a po...

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Comments | Posted in Artist Spotlight By K. McDermott

Artist Spotlight: Annie Strack

Oct 16, 2015 3:17:29 PM


Annie Strack is an amazing painter and an incredibly busy artist. She teaches everywhere, including occasionally at Plaza Art—catch her this weekend, October 17-18, 2015, at Hands on Creativity in Philadelphia! In the following interview, she highlights her varied experiences as an artist, teacher and lifelong learner—including painting for the Coast Guard, surviving many hurricanes, why teaching art rocks, and the woes of painting plein air in the dead of winter.

Annie has a phenomenal energy and positive attitude; she truly loves art and you can see her passion in all that she does. If you want to know how to step up your “social media game” as an artist and highlight your work online, look to her as a shining example of how online networking is done.

A big lesson I think we can all learn from Annie’s efforts is that, as a working artist, it’s good to diversify your services and work on more than one project or teaching opportunity at a time. Check the end of this post for links to all of Annie Strack’s work and websites!

boats-annie-stracksee that you are a classically trained artist, but is there anything special about how you became interested in making art—is there any particular reason you bec...

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Comments | Posted in Artist Spotlight By K. McDermott


"Honey," left, and "The Dinner Party," right. Mixed media.

One of the challenging aspects of being an artist is daily practice. For those of us who must work 9-5 but view our artwork as more than just a hobby, it can be hard to tap into creativity every day while taking care of other responsibilities. Life gets in the way of art unless you make art a way of life.

Adrian Harris is a young artist who is committed to maintaining a constant output of work, no matter how small. He is an associate at the Plaza Artist Materials store in Rockville, Maryland and he tries to spend as much time as possible practicing his craft.

Nadine, the manager at Rockville, says that he “draws constantly and on everything; boxes, transfers and scrap papers all over the store. He is so inspiring because his hand is always moving when he is not checking in shipments.”

Adrian says he enjoys taking a mixed-media approach and having a variety of materials at hand when creating a new piece. Studying abstract expressionism and impressionism has had a significant influence on his process: “I like to throw paint,” he says, but ultimately at the conclusion of a piece, “arrive at surrealism.” You can see this in many of...

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Comments | Posted in Artist Spotlight By K. McDermott

hand lettering society

Who handwrites letters anymore? Amina Ahmad and Christy Batta still do, literally—they practice the art of hand lettering—writing in different lettering styles, for fun. I met with them on Halloween at the Fenton Street Farmer’s Market to learn more about The Unofficial Hand Lettering Society of Silver Spring.

How the Society Started

The two became friends and founded the group after Batta completed design work for Ahmad’s small-batch candle company, Handmade Habitat in January 2015. While designing a logo for the company, they began talking about how interesting hand lettering is and decided to meet once a month to practice penmanship with likeminded letterers.

Both women are creative professionals as well as lettering enthusiasts. Christy Batta is a graphic designer for SW Creatives; Amina Ahmad owns Handmade Habitat and also does marketing and vendor relations for downtown Silver Spring’s weekly Fenton Street Market. Both Batta and Ahmad have a passion for lettering because it is a great way to exercise creativity and can even be therapeutic at times.

Being required to exercise lots of creativity at work can make it easy to neglect creative growth at home.  Like many professionals, ...

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Comments | Posted in Artist Spotlight By K. McDermott

Collages and Washes: Evan Parker

Feb 11, 2016 5:35:00 PM


I met artist Evan J. Parker III this past Friday during the opening reception of “Decadent,” the February exhibit at Artists & Makers Studios in Rockville, Maryland.

Artists and Makers is the vision of artist Judith Heartsong—it is a new Rockville art space that has experienced great success in only a year. The space has nearly doubled to an astounding 13,000 square feet of studio spaces, and there are now 70 resident artists. The Compass Atelier studio and individual resident artists offer art classes for the public. There are also exhibit openings and other events, including open studios once a month on first Fridays.

Evan’s mixed media work was featured in this recent opening. He incorporates collage, drawing and airbrush to create scenes featuring mysterious figures in fantastical landscapes. The exhibit mostly features his colorful collage work, but he is a master of pen and ink, pencil and airbrush drawings as well.

One thing that is so impressive about Evan’s work is how he maintains the same moody atmosphere throughout all of his pieces and how both his marker drawings and collages achieve the same cohesive consistency. His collages are so painstakingly cut and pasted together...

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Comments | Posted in Artist Spotlight By K. McDermott
Items 1 to 5 of 11 total