Fudge's End of the Year Art Review - 2010 Was BIG

If I were to try to sum up 2010 in one word, it would be BIG. There were a lot of big firsts for me this year and many of them really made me feel like a BIG deal (or at least 'semi-famous').

To start the year off, six of my paintings were on display at the BIGGEST gallery space on South Main. The 409 Gallery is located in the old Jay Etkin's space. There was a great crowd there on that trolley art night and i felt really honored to be included.

I really didn't do a whole lot of shows this year. In many ways, I took a step back but I did have my work shown at the 409 Gallery, Downtown Presbyterian, Starbucks at Trinity, and the Germantown Community Theatre. The nice thing was that they all called me which was pretty cool. It's nice to be asked to come hang your work instead of going around like a door to door salesmans to find a place that will display your artwork.

Biggest painting:

From May to August, I was working on two 4ft x 6ft canvases for a whopping 48 square feet. Not only was it the biggest painting I've ever done, it was also my first corporate commission. It feels like a big deal and a great honor to be included in the area's first hospice house, the Baptist Trinity Hospice House & Kemmons Wilson Family Center for Good Grief.

Also falling into the biggest painting category is my biggest live painting. For The Stirring's Christmas service, I completed a 3.5ft by 5ft canvas. That night was the first time The Stirring was held in Hope's big sanctuary (seats over 5,000) and it was our biggest attendance at over 2,200. (okay, now I'm regretting theming this as BIG and having to use big and biggest all the time. Hopefully this wont be that a big post).

A great BIG roadtrip:

In 11 days, I drove over 2,000 miles through eight states. It was wonderful experience. I can't wait to do something like it again or at least return for an extended stay at one of my favorite stops. Hopefully, 2011 will be the year of the Great American Artsy Rail Trip - aka GAART 2011 - with a train ride to Chicago. Or at the very least a return to Asheville for a 4-5 day trip ( could i still call it GAART... Great Asheville Artsy Return Trip?) I only stayed one night there and had such a great time. Asheville was like the beautiful girl you spend the evening flirting with, you get her number with a promise of a date, and then lose the number never to see her again... Oh what might have been!

You make me feel like a big deal.

I don't want to sound like I've gotten a big head, but I had some moments this past year that were very touching and exciting. And i just wanted to say thanks. Falling into the "Aw, shucks." category I feel like i had art groupies. Or at least Chester did.  

You'll recall that journal project I had going. I've made a lot of connections with artists all over the country. One of those was Robyn. She loves Chester and lived in Texas at the time. I never expected to meet her in person. But one day i get a phone call, "Hey Fudge, my friend Paula and I are driving through Memphis and would like to meet you." It was very surprising and a lot of fun. She picked up the drawing she had ordered from me, got a tour of my art studio, and generally made me feel like i was a big deal. If a painter can have groupies, Robyn is the President of the Fudge fan club.

And if Robyn is fan club president than Susan Isaacs is head of marketing. She has three Chester paintings in her collection and she is Chester's most famous fan. Susan got the word out about my art like no one has before by tweeting about it and even included it in a video she made. Heck, she seemed just as excited about my work being published in Anne Jackson's book as I was. 

And to be honest, there were many people this year who were supportive and encouraging of me and my work. I can't begin to mention you all. So a BIGGGGGG THANK YOU to everyone who purchased a painting or drawing, let me crash on your couch while on my roadtrip, expressed how much they liked a painting, shared how a painting touched them, asked me to show my artwork at your space, attended my art openings, etc. I love you guys. You helped me have most exciting year for my art so far. 


Have yourself a Merry Stirring Chirstmas

First of all, these are not my photos. I borrowed them from a few friends on Facebook.
I hope they dont mind.

For the first time, the Stirring was held in the main HUGE sanctuary in Hope. I think it can seat like over 5,000.  To give you some scale, The Stirring has been averaging about 450 in attendance and our normal meeting space maxes out at around 1,000. Look how massive the stage is! We had to have 2 artists and both of us had to paint on XXL canvases. Chris Reed worked on a 6ft x 5 1/2 ft one and I worked on a 3 1/2 ft x 5 ft canvas. Chris did a fair amount of prep before hand, but I just started from a blank canvas. 

Last year, we held two services in the South Hall and had to turn people away from the first service. Since we didnt want that to happen again, we moved to the big sanctuary. It felt like moving from the kids' table to the grown-ups' table. And it was a good thing too because we had over 2,200 in total attendance. 

Okay, so they put me on a riser nearly center stage. Take a look at the depth of the platform. It was maybe 4 ft deep and the easel took up 2 ft. I was every concerned that I'd take a step too far back and... I dont even want to think about it. Thankfully neither i nor the easel fell off. In addition to this being the largest service that I've ever painted during, it was also the largest canvas I've ever attempted to paint from blank to finished (mostly). If you were wondering what i was thinking during the service it was probably one of these concerns: "Don't fall. Don't bend over too much and flash the audience. I hope I brought enough this color paint. I hope i can finish this." etc. repeat.

Here's a shot of both Chris and I painting. I'll have to post a photo of each of our "finished" paintings. I dont think either of us actually finished our pieces but they looked finished enough. 

All and all, it was huge. Huge amount of work, volunteers, staff, art, music, venue, attendance, etc. I can't believe we pulled it off.

And here's a photo of my finished painting "Silent Night"


Creative Christmas Gift Ideas #5: Memphis Music

First of all, I will state that I am by no means a local music expert or historian. I just love the local music scene and probably attend 3-4 shows a month. So this is just a list of bands that I listen to regularly either on my iTunes and/or attended a live show recently. Im sure that there are some other local blogs that do a much better job of covering and eloquently writing about local Memphis music. But here's my current top 10. But honesty there's just too much good music in this town for one blog post. Anyway, check some of this out and buy someone on your list a CD or take them to a show. I love going to shows so I tried to include tour dates for the bands that have shows coming up.

Also, I recommend that you go to Otherland's Coffee Bar to catch some shows. With only a $5 cover, it's an incredible deal and it's where I go to hear many of my favorite bands and find new favorites. They're very selective and I think on average you could show up any night, not know who's playing, and still have a good time. Also, even though it's know as a coffee bar, you can order beer and you can for a small fee bring your own bottle of wine or booze. I tend to enjoy the show with my friend Mr. Beam.

Grace Askew
If Grace is playing in town, I'm there. Seriously, I can be a bit of a groupie. But I dont have a crush, I just love her music. The old soul sound of her voice, the  imagery and storytelling in her writing, the faces she makes when she sings, and the little intros about the songs... it all comes together for incredible Memphis Blues. When I'm painting, you can bet that I have Grace Askew on the playlist. Looks like her next show is Thu, Dec 9th at The Brooks 5-7pm.


Two words for you: "Blue Dress." Play that song, dim the lights, and pull your girl close to you (or guy as your case might be). At the end of the song, you should have a new appreciation for this band. I'd characterize most of their music as that rock/alt country style. Their live shows are killer and you can even catch a free one from time to time at Swanky's. They usually do a packed out Christmas show every year with lots of local musicians that pop in for a song or two. So find them on Facebook and be on the lookout for that. 

Another indie/folk singer/songwriter girl that I love. She's on tour a lot so she's getting harder and harder to catch in Memphis. In 2009, I had the chance to book her at one of my art openings

Holly Cole and the Memphis Dawls (or the Dawls, the Heathens, the whatever-we're-calling-the-rest-of-the-band-today)  As my old favorites are getting harder to find playing in town, I'm having to find new favorites. I'm becoming a regular at Holly Cole's shows.

I just want to say that I was there in the audience for this Ardent Sessions recording. In fact, watch the clip. The shot of someone tapping their foot to the music, yeah those are my TOM's shoes. Still one of the coolest shows I've ever attended because it you're inside Ardent Studios and being a part of a live recording. You should definitely try to go to one of the sessions if you get the chance. Anyway, they are another local band that I've seen so many times that I've jokingly been accused of stalking them. 


Lucero was one of the first local bands that I feel in love with and started following. Although they play 150-200 live shows a year according to their website, they don't play in Memphis often. Like maybe twice a year. So you better catch them whenever you can. Looks like they are playing at Minglewood Hall on Dec 23rd.

Although their shows are few and far in between, it's not because they're out touring. They live and work here in Memphis at jobs that wouldnt permit taking off for tours. I think the music is an excuse to buy cool toys. So add them on Facebook and you should be able to catch them. Also, you can download 20 tracks from their bampcamp site for free and enjoy their sound anytime.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zqb7Jwi6Bq8 Funny, i think this video too was shot at a show I attended.

Jump Back Jake
I haven't seen these guys play yet but I want to. I hear it's a great show. You can get some free tracks from their bampcamp site. My iTunes tells me that I've played their "King of Romance" single 33 times.

Blair Combest
I've seen Mr Combest play but only a few songs when he hosts a Girls Night Out (aka Blair and the Women night) at Otherlands. It's a sweet gig. Even though I can't sing, I can't help but be jealous. He gets to plays host to some of the best local singer/songwriter girls and does a duet with each of them. The next one is Nov 26 at 8pm.

Ryan Peel
I've only seen Ryan Peel play once, but he's frequently playing around town and often for free. He's very good so you better catch him soon before he gets big and stops playing in Memphis. Because he will. It's just a matter of time. He's a little to pop for me, but the girls get big goo-goo eyes for him. So take the girlfriend to this one even if it's not really your style. Ryan will be your wingman for the evening.

And for your Christmas CD collection you should buy BB King's A Christmas Celebration of Hope if only for the track "Back Door Santa."

Check out some creative and quirky local music videos:

Other links:


Creative Christmas Gift Ideas #4: Deeann Rieves

It can be difficult finding good quality, artsy gifts. So I thought that I would share with you some of my favorite artists. Hopeful it will help you quickly find a special and unique gift.

Deeann Rieves:
Deeann is one of my favorite artists. She graduated from the Memphis College of Art and now lives in Atlanta. I just love the way she works with figures, texture, and type. We've featured her art at The Stirring numerous times. I've even hosted one of her collage workshops in my backyard.

COMMISSIONS- approximate prices according to size*:

12" X 12"- $50
11" X 14"- $50 SPECIAL $10 OFF ***
10" X 18"- $70
14" X 18"- $80
11" X 24"- $90
16" X 20"- $100 SPECIAL $25 OFF***
18" X 24"- $125 SPECIAL $25 OFF***

*I pulled these prices from Deeann's website at the time I wrote this post, but they may have changed. Email her at deeannrieves@gmail.com if you have any questions.

Check out more of her work at:


Creative Christmas Gift Ideas #3: For Artists

What do you get for the artsy person on your Christmas list? Here are my recommendations:

Buy them the best canvas ever made!
When I started to do large paintings, the price of the canvas really held me back. Stores like Hobby Lobby and Michael's didn't carry many sizes and even with a 40% off coupon it was just too expensive. The Art Center had plenty of sizes but catching them on sale was difficult. Even then I felt it was too much. I dont have the time or the tools to start making my own canvas. Then I found out about David Comstock. He makes the best canvases that I've ever used. I even now call him to order smaller sized canvas. I'm that hooked. He does custom wood panels too.

Great Custom Canvas
by local Memphis artist, David Comstock
2" deep gallery wrapped, thick, un-primed canvas
36" x 36" = $30
36" x 48" = $35
48" x 48" = $45
48" x 60" = $55
All sizes available. Call him at 901-605-7096.

Buy them a gift card to Memphis's best art store:
In Memphis, the best place to buy supplies is the Art Center on Union. Their staff is extremely knowledgeable and the prices are very good. One day I went to the Art Center to buy some illustration supplies. I wanted to make the switch from pen and ink to brush and ink. I had been to an art opening where i'd been inspired by Derrick Dent's work. So who happened to be working behind the counter that day? Yeah, Derrick himself. When he asked me if he could help me find something, I jokingly replied "Yes, I'd like the Derrick Dent starter kit." He led me around the store and helped me pick out supplies. 

Buy them a gift certificate to the best online art store:
Another gift card suggestion? Really, Richard? Yes, artists are typically broke and you do not want to try to pick out art supplies for them. It's like trying to buy clothes for that one member of your family who always takes everything back to the store for an exchange. Cheap Joes is so amazing that on my great big roadtrip this summer I HAD to stop at one of their few stores, buy something there, and get my photo taken in front of it. Their online catalog is huge. So I was surprised to find that their actual store was no larger than the Art Center in Memphis. I was hoping for something big like a cavernous place of wonder and art supplies about the size of a Sam's Club or Ikea. It's probably best that it wasn't or i would not have had enough money left to continue my roadtrip. Anyway, buy the artist on your list a gift certificate. You'll be a hero. 


Creative Christmas Gift Ideas #2: Arian Armstrong

It can be difficult finding good quality, artsy gifts. So I thought that I would share with you some of my favorite artists. Hopeful it will help you quickly find a special and unique gift. 

I can't say enough nice things about the Armstrongs. I hosted Arian and Daniel last year when Arian was featured in The Stirring's art gallery, and they hosted me this past summer when I was on my artsy roadtrip. Arian has some wonderfully creative and adorable prints for sale at her Etsy store. I own 3 myself and have them proudly on display on my mantel. 

Here are a couple of my favorite prints of hers:

From now until 2:00pm EST on November 23rd, Arian is holding an online Facebook art auction! You can bid on original paintings and single run prints from her Owl City/Sky Sailing music videos! 

online auction: http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=35692&id=100250070026524

Find more prints @:


Creative Christmas Gift Ideas: Local pottery

It can be difficult finding good quality, artsy gifts. So I thought that I would share with you some of my favorite artists and other creative gift ideas. Hopeful it will help you quickly find a special and unique gift. Please feel free to send some of your suggestions my way too.

First up: Bridgman Pottery
I have a small collection of Bridgman pottery that I highly treasure and enjoy. Every morning, I have my coffee in my favorite bridgman mug. I have a small soup bowl that I use all the time that is more precious to me than any of the ones in my china cabinet. Best of all, all her pottery is functional and food-safe, as well as safe to use in the oven, microwave, and dishwasher. Melissa is having a pre-holiday sale at her home in midtown and I strongly suggest that you go.

Bridgman Pottery Pre-Holiday Pottery Sale
Friday, November 12 at 5:30p to 9 pm
Saturday, November 13 at 10a to 4pm
719 Dickinson St., Memphis, TN

This is my favorite mug. It has a button fern detail. 
If there was a house fire, l'm grabbing this mug.

Find it @:
The Trolley Stop Market - 704 Madison Avenue, Memphis, TN 38103


Are you thinking about ordering some Fudge for Christmas?

I know. It's only the first week of November. You've just calmed down from your Halloween sugar high. Christmas still seems like a long ways off. Heck, there's Thanksgiving to worry about. But if you're thinking about ordering an original Fudge painting for yourself or a loved one, you should probably get that order in now. I'm not trying to drive up sales here. I'm just being honest. Painting isn't my full time job so the 7 weeks between now and Christmas really isnt much time for me to finish a bunch of new paintings. So if you want that commissioned painting for Christmas and not the New Year. You should email this professional procrastinator artist real soon.



Fudge Freebie

Chester Cards Sets - now available
4"x5.5" folded cards, blank inside, envelopes included
set of 5 = $8. set of ten cards = $15. set of 20 = $30. shipping is extra.

That's right. I'm offering a free 5 pack of Chester Cards - picture of your choice. To enter, leave a comment on this blog post with your favorite of the 8 designs pictured above. The winner will be randomly selected on Monday.

Here are the title's from left to right:

Top row
1. Blown Away
2. Instructions Not Included
3. Crossroads
4. Waiting for a Reply
Bottom row
5. Letting It Out
6. Ready to Go
7. Release
8. Proper Postage

Union University to have their first Arts, Culture & Theology Conference

Just saw this posted on Continuum's website and thought i would repost it here. Looks really interesting:

Union University’s First Arts, Culture & Theology Conference
April 8th & 9th, 2011,
The tentative cost is $80 for the two day event. 

Friday April 8th
1:00 – Welcome/ Introduction to the Conference: Artists and Union University Art Professors Haelim Allen & Melinda Eckley
1:15 – Introductory Addresses: Dr. David Dockery, Union University President and author or editor of more than thirty books; & Dr. Steve Halla, Artist, Writer and Union University Assistant Professor of Art
2:00 – Worship through the arts: Michael Card, Contemporary Christian Musician
2:30 – First Plenary Speaker: Nigel Goodwin, Executive Director of Genesis Arts Trust- London, UK
3:15 – Worship through the arts: Ballet Rejoice Dance Troupe
4:00 – Dinner Break (on your own)
6:00 – Second Plenary Speaker: Dr. Dan Siedell, Art Historian, Curator, Writer, Speaker, and Assistant Professor of Art History – University of Nebraska
7:20 – Worship through the arts: Union University Music Department presentation
8:00 – Art Event & Gallery Opening: Wayne Adams, Artist

Saturday April 9th
8:50 – Opening Comments: Dr. Carla Sanderson, Union Provost
9:00 – Morning Devotion: Michael Card
9:30 – 15 Minute Vignettes:

  • Dr. David Taylor, Arts Pastor, Hope Chapel Artistic Advisor, and Resident Fellow Hill Country Institute for Contemporary Christianity, Austin, TX
  • Dr. Paul Shockley, Associate Professor of Bible and Theology at the College of Biblical Studies-Houston
  • Michael Winter, Gallery Director, The 930 Art Center Gallery, Louisville, KY
  • Dr. Taylor Worley, Union University Assistant Professor of Christian Thought & Tradition
10:40 – Worship through Art: Union University Theater Department
11:00 – Panel Discussion (all speakers) with Q & A
11:30 – Third Plenary Speaker: Mary McCleary, Artist & Regent’s Professor of Art Emeritus – Stephen F. Austin State University
12:30 – Lunch (we provide)
1:30 – Worship Service
2:00 – Closing Comments: Dr Gene Fant, Union University VP for Academic Services and Author of “God as Author: Toward a Christian Approach to Narrative”


Fudge on display at Kemmons Wilson Family Center for Good Grief (finally!)

It's so good to finally see my painting "Not Alone" hanging up at the Baptist Trinity Hospice House & Kemmons Wilson Family Center for Good Grief. At a whopping 8ft tall and 9ft wide, it's the largest painting that I've ever done and the first corporate commissioned piece. 

The sketch i did back in May for this project. (Above) It took me over 3 months to complete the 2 panels. And then I had to wait on the construction to be completed so that it could be installed. It's very cool to finally see it set together (Below). I don't have a wall tall enough in my house to hang them stacked together. 

You can see it for yourself by attending the open house this Saturday. Details below.

Open house: 
Baptist Trinity Hospice House & Kemmons Wilson Family Center for Good Grief
Saturday, Oct. 30 from 10 a.m.-2 p.m.
1520 W. Poplar Ave., Collierville, TN 38017
located on the campus of Baptist Memorial Hospital -Colllierville

Baptist is celebrating the upcoming opening of our residential hospice house with a community event this Saturday. You'll be able to tour the new house, which will be the first of its kind in the area: http://bit.ly/clUdu6


Chester makes a cameo appearance in Susan's video

Thank You From Susan Isaacs from Save Blue Like Jazz on Vimeo.

That's right! Incredible, funny actress/author Susan Isaacs has 3 of my paintings and you can see them all in the background of this video she made. How cool is that!

In case you're wondering more about Save Blue Like Jazz (the movie) and would like to donate to it (there is still time!), here's a link.


Live painting at The Stirring's 9th Anniversary Service

So this past Sunday this little thing we call The Stirring celebrated 9 years. Here are some photos of me painting live during the service. 

Rudy Howard and Ephie Johnson joined The Stirring Band to bring us some Memphis soul music. When those two are singing, I would really like to be doing some big painting where i can get into the groove and start slinging paint some paint. But alas, I think that would be too much of a mess. As it was, I still somehow managed to get paint on my hat (thankfully it washed out).

Adding Chester to the painting. 

Like Eli said, The Stirring has been on quite the journey, but it's been a privilege to walk it with all those who love and support The Stirring.

Not exactly sure what the title will be for this one. It's based on this doodle that I called "Ready to Go" and at the time the image was about wanting to get back to the mountains, a place i love and feel at peace. But recently, the image came back to mind and I saw it differently. Now, I see Chester picking up the pieces of his broken heart and moving on. He's determined to get out of this dark valley and back to mountain tops.  

"Ready to Move On." 2010 © Richard Fudge

30"x40" canvas. acrylic medium. 


The Stirring’s 9th Anniversary, Sunday, September 26, 5:30 PM, in the South Hall

Enjoy some hometown music as Rudy Howard and Ephie Johnson join The Stirring Band. Experience the journey of prayerful art from around the country during a message from Eli Morris.  Eat with friends following the service while checking out The Gallery and special music.

See below for more information about the journey of the current art series displayed in The Stirring Art Gallery.

“To Send a Prayer: a Collaborative Journal Project”
at The Stirring Art Gallery

Exhibit description:
Last year, Richard Fudge was planning “To Send a Prayer,” an exhibit that explored the visual metaphor of a prayer being akin to a letter. During the planning, Fudge shared the concept and some of his sketches with a fellow artist in Texas. Inspired by the concept of mailing letters to heaven, Fudge began a collaborative journal project. Artists across the country were invited to participate by signing up to receive a journal and add their own visual expressions of prayer through painting, drawing, and photography. The journals began traveling across the country with artists participating from coast to coast.

Over the past year, the four journals have traveled over 25,000 miles, visited 23 cities and over 40 artists have contributed to the project. For the exhibit, 20 selected pages were enlarged and printed for display.

Featured Artists:
Richard Fudge – Memphis, TN
Deeann C. Rieves – Atlanta, GA
Alberto Cabrera – Memphis, TN
Jennifer Harvey – Germantown, TN
Suzan R. Wallace – Cape Carteret, NC
Mike Carter – Fort Mill, SC
Mary DeCroce – Southington, CT
Chad Michael Irwin – Memphis, TN
Arian Armstrong – Newport, KY
Gail Wilkins – Memphis, TN
Amelia Whaley – Mt. Pleasant, SC
Anneli Anderson – Portland, OR
Charlie Forrester – Memphis, TN
Kathy MacDonald – Memphis, TN
Graeme Parsons – Bartlett, TN

Opening Reception:
Sunday, September 26
5:15 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.

Viewers are invited to attend The Stirring worship experience which begins at 5:30 pm. During this special service, Richard Fudge will create original artwork live on stage. Following the service at 6:30 pm, guests can view the exhibit, enjoy refreshments, and enjoy live music.

“To Send a Prayer: a Collaborative Journal Project” will be on display from September 26th to November 7th. The gallery is open 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Sundays. The Stirring Art Gallery also can be viewed during Hope Church’s regular office hours.

The Stirring Art Gallery in Hope Church
(located upstairs inside Entrance 1)
8500 Walnut Grove Rd., Cordova, Tennessee 38018
www.hopepres.com • www.thestirring.net • 901-755-7721

Background on The Stirring Art Gallery:
Various works by local artists are currently on display at The Stirring Art Gallery, located inside Hope Church. Many of the paintings were created live on stage during The Stirring service. Each month, a different local artist volunteers to paint during the service. The completed painting(s) and several other selected works by the artist are then displayed in the gallery and available for purchase by contacting the artist.

The Stirring meets every Sunday at 5:30 p.m. at Hope Church at 8500 Walnut Grove Rd. in Cordova, Tennessee. For more information, visit www.thestirring.net.


Come see me paint at The Stirring

Every Sunday night in September from 5:30-6:30p, you can watch me paint something live on-stage at the Stirring. Last Sunday, I started this painting. It's two 24"x18" canvases clamped together that I'll separate once it's complete. I've also got quite a few paintings on display up stairs in the Stirring art gallery.

This past weekend was so nice that I finally got started on three To Send a Prayer paintings. It took forever for the canvas and supplies that i ordered to arrive. I hope to make more headway this weekend and complete them in time for a special art show at the end of the month (more on that later). Yep. At the Fudge art studio, we're shifting into high gear.


Opening for Chad Irwin: Patchwork Junk Drawer

Chad is a friend of mine and I thought I'd spread the word about his upcoming art show. Here are the details from the press release:

Patchwork Junk Drawer @ Gallery 210, 1015 S Cooper St.

The other day I was at a friend’s house. He was looking for a corkscrew and couldn’t find it. Fumbling through one drawer he asked another friend to take a look in the junk drawer—pointing to one just down from where he was rummaging. “Junk drawer? That’s an intimate thing!” said the one to the other. Filled with things too precious to discard but neither valued, neither useful nor useless—in some sense like the treasures tucked away by a child in a shoe box and shoved under the bed or buried by a tree in the back yard. They are like souvenirs taken from sojourns as though they were the deepening of childhood memories: sluggishly past traumas, whizzing by the mundane, dawdling in the company of the cherished and monumental, or just pebbles in shoes. Intimate perhaps because we often feel as though we are those junk drawers: cobbled together with miscellany that doesn’t quite seem to fit together, point to anything larger or say anything—anything; just a discarded mess of unattended to questions. Baubles.

Chad Irwin’s "Patchwork Junk Drawer" deals in these baubles. His is the amalgam of dust and detritus all too often discard into drawers like these or tossed to the side of the road or passed by without any thought. There he pauses and contemplates, sifts through the confusion and re-envisions it into art. A bottle cap, denim patch, button and bone become "Coelacanth". The discarded becomes the “discarded, found and re-integrated” just like the prehistoric fish once thought extinct but now rediscovered and highly sought after by museums and collectors.

His medium is just junk: frayed pieces of yarn, buttons, broken shells, rusted nails and cast off on canvases and in frames which look equally regal. It’s a hard sell to a culture so enamored by the pristine, and who already threw this stuff away once before. But where most see irrelevance, Irwin finds a challenge. May be its out of his own brokenness (or may be its in response to the shattered he’s encountered) mingling with an out-and-out dissatisfaction with the status quo that necessitates his humble attempt at mending. That’s why he collects, catalogs and assembles as if he were an archeologist, or anthropologist, but instead of deciphering and piecing back together what was, he attempts to study the discard in order to re-shape it into what could be. His is not about answers rather possibilities. And that is most what a junk drawer represents: the perpetual hope for purpose, usefulness and meaning, but always teetering with apprehension—flirting with irrelevance. That is the challenge in each of his pieces for us. First a confrontation with the garbage, then a reconciliation, or at least, the prospect of one. He obliges his viewer to reconsider value both their own and in general.

"Patchwork Junk Drawer" will be on display at Gallery 210 from September 17th until October 16th 2010. It will feature more than 20 works by local artist and Pennsylvania transplant, Chad M. Irwin. There will be an opening reception Friday, September 17, 6:00-8:00 PM. The exhibit and reception are free and open to the public. General gallery hours are from 9:00 a.m. – Noon, Monday thru Friday and 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Sundays.


New Series: Fight to Stay Awake

You fight to stay awake, your dreams will likely drive you mad. But only cause you're living like one shot was all you had. - 12"x12" mixed media

And that makes a nice little set of three. I've given titles to all of the pieces but I've yet to think of a title for the series. I've started a large 3ft by 4ft canvas in this style. It's definitely more challenging than these small ones. I've used up all of the sowing pattern tissue i had. So if you have some sowing patterns that are just collecting dust... hint, hint... you could donate them to an art project. At any rate, I foresee a humorous trip to the craft store in my near future. I expect at some point to receive a "What the heck are you doing buying those sowing patterns?" look.

Recommended listening: "You'll Get Through It" by Ellery;  "Head Full Of Doubt, Road Full Of Promise" by the Avett Brothers


Daily Doodle #34

I make Love stay out on the porch. It's not allowed inside anymore.
Not after the mess it made.  

I've taken a break from the the daily doodles to create some new work, but yesterday this idea of making love stay out on the porch like a bad dog came to me. It made me laugh. I just had to try to capture the notion before it faded. It'll probably make it into one of the new paintings.  

Recommended listening: "Citidel" by Anna Nalick; "Paronia in B Major" by The Avett Brothers


Photo of Anne Jackson, Susan Issacs, and I hanging out

Okay so I'm just there in spirit.  How stinking cool is this picture!  Susan put it best in her tweet: "Richard Fudge on the wall, Anne Jackson in the room, Richard Fudge in Anne Jackson's book. Wack!"  And that's all happening IN Susan Issacs' house.  That just gives me the biggest smile. I may have squealed like teenage girl when i first saw this photo, but it was first thing this morning. I blame the lack of coffee on the high pitch.


New series

I no longer have nightmares, but the lack of dreams is equally disturbing. Where is my joy?

It’s a practiced smile that’s on my face. In an effort to numb the pain, I numbed my joy.
Unexpected side effects. Get better soon.

I've yet to come up with some witty or profound name for this series. So that new collage series will have to do for now.  Last evening I started another 12"x12" panel and read a chapter of The Ragamuffin Gospel. I hope to have a good set of these finished in time for the Stirring's anniversary service in Sept.

Recommended listening: "Novacaine" by Amber Rubarth; "If Not for Love" by Kris Delmhorst


OMG! I'm published....

About a year ago, I was working on my To Send a Prayer series when I emailed author Ann Jackson one of my doodles for a book she was working on: Permission to Speak Freely: Essays and Art on Fear, Confession, and Grace. I didn't have any expectations. I liked her blog and her question "What is one thing you feel you can’t say in church?" really connected with me. I never really heard if she was going to use it for certain or even when the book might get published.

A spread from her book.  My drawing is on the right. 

So today I'm checking the blogs and twitter accounts that i follow when I see that Susan Issacs (another author who loves my work) has tweeted about the book release. So much has happened in my life in the last 12 months that I'd totally forgotten about Ann's book. I'm thinking to myself, "I wonder if my doodle made the book? Wouldn't that be cool." I do a little searching around Ann's website and had pretty much decided that I probably hadn't made the cut or I'd have to order a book to find out for sure when I stubble across the above image. I couldn't sit still for 15 minutes. I'm emailing friends in ALL CAPS, i post a link on facebook, and just about run up and down the halls at the office screaming "I'M IN THE BOOK." Soon I'll be able to walk into a bookstore, pick a book off the shelve, open it to this page, and state "Isn't that cool. I'm published." In all honesty, this probably isn't that big a deal, but to me... today... it's HUGE. 

2010. Best. Year. For. My. Art. So. Far. 


New work in the works

Although I've taken a break from the daily doodle entries, that doesn't mean I've stopped making any art. In fact, I started 2 new pieces this weekend based on recent journal doodles. Above is a 12"x12" painting that I started this weekend. It's not yet finished, but it's far enough along to share with you. I've got a second one that's about half way complete. I'm hoping to have them both complete in time for my art opening/open house event this Saturday. I'm not sure of the titles yet or if this is the start of a new series, but I'm enjoying doing something different from my other work.

I'm not sure where I got the quote from, but it really hit home. These unintended consequences. In an effort to stop having nightmares, you stop having any dreams. Or in an effort numb the pain heartbreak, you numb your heart so entirely that you stop feeling joy or love.

Recommended listening: "Novacaine" by Amber Rubarth