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Borsheim Art Newsletter:

by Kelly Borsheim copyright 11 January 2012

  1. Gymnast - Marble Carving
  2. What else is new
  3. Captiva Island with Artists Darryl Pottorf and Robert Rauschenberg
  4. Give a Book Review
  5. Blog Highlights
  6. Subscription Info.

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[Darryl Pottorf art geese goose wheel bike]

Three panel artwork of birds and bikes
by Darryl Pottorf

Dear Art Lover,
Well, welcome into the year 2012! This month marks my twelfth anniversary of creating art full-time. So, I wanted to tell you some highlights from the last two months:
  • With the gracious assistance of gallerist David Sackmary, I held a successful solo exhibit at Quattro Gallery in Austin, Texas, for several weeks ending in mid-November. Many thanks to David for squeezing my work into his agenda!
  • Philip Hoggatt and John Borsheim helped me load up my marble sculptures "Gymnast," "Stargazer," and the limestone piece "Pink Angel" on November 13. They are on exhibit now with Philip and Michelle Hoggatt in their sculpture garden at Carved Stone in Dripping Springs, Texas (just southwest of Austin). Look for their public event "Sculpture Challenge" on Saturday, March 3, 2012. Carved Stone's Sculpture Page

    On my Web site, you may see how I carved the "Gymnast"; how the drought in central Texas affected this project; why I named my assistant as I did; really? a four-headed turtle? and later, how we moved this athletic woman. Check out the page here: www.borsheimarts.com/sculpture/2011/gymnast-marble.htm

  • Shortly after leaving Texas and spending the Thanksgiving holiday with loved ones, I secured my first university exhibit! It will happen in early 2013. I am really excited about this event, especially because I asked if I could also show the work of my friend and mentor Vasily Fedorouk. More about this wonderful happening will be shared closer to the fall as details get pinned down.

  • I also traveled to Florida and visited Tommy and Maciel's Gallery XO, near Ft. Lauderdale. I left them with some bronze male figures which are already causing interest in that community.

  • Art Basel Miami Beach was part of the schedule… I thought to write to you about that. However, while I really enjoyed several works of art there, I was overall not impressed by the lack of thought or creativity in too many of the pieces. Still, I may post something on my blog at some point, at least showing some of the more impressive or interesting artworks.

  • For the first time ever, a friend and I rented a Harley Davidson FatBoy Motorcycle and saw the Florida Keys! What a fun 25-hour day that was!

  • A week on Captiva Island was spent in the beach house of Robert Rauschenberg! The story on how that could happen to this simple girl is the feature article of this newsletter. Keep on reading!

[book street painting florence italy]
"Gymnast" marble sculpture by Kelly Borsheim

(Click on the image to see more and get more information.)

Captiva Island with Artists Darryl Pottorf and Robert Rauschenberg:

By now, you may know that I have a rather bawdy sense of humor. I chalk that up to being raised around fighter pilots and having three very adventurous brothers. When I found myself wondering this December how I could have possibly wound up spending a week in a fabulous beach house owned by famous artists and getting spoiled rotten, all I could come up with was, "All this because I worked on my knees in the streets of Florence."

Of course I am referring to my work as a street painter in Florence, Italy. (Have you bought my book on that yet?) Because I chose to try my hand (and body) in this centuries-old art form, my colleagues Johnny McGrogan, Simon Steele, and I met the artist Darryl Pottorf and his partner Mark Pace in June 2010. Darryl is a very successful and creative artist, as well as the former collaborating partner of Robert Rauschenberg for over 25 years [Bob died in May 2008]. In Florence, Darryl stopped in his tracks to look at a Raphael copy as he walked down Via Calimala around midnight. He tipped well (as he often does) and stopped to talk. The five of us clicked immediately and spent almost every evening together during their stay in Florence.

I must say that while Darryl openly admits to enjoying name-dropping, he is very down-to-earth and easy to talk to. One night the group of us was sitting outside the Pop Café enjoying drinks and aperitivo. I mentioned to Darryl that I had written to Ampersand (makers of art panels) to ask if they would make a pastel board that had the rough and "random" texture of Via Calimala, where I recreate famous paintings and frescoes in pastel and chalk on the street. [I was told that the only way to do this would be to place a huge custom order…] Anyway, Darryl actually grabbed some paper that he had just bought and got down on his hands and knees in Piazza Santo Spirito and began to make a rubbing of the surface! He later took another sheet and began a drawing of the nearby namesake church. It was a wonderful night and ours has grown into a warm friendship.

I missed seeing the guys in Italy when they went last summer because my divorce had started and I needed to stay in Texas to attend to my life there. Mark invited me to come out to Captiva Island, Florida, in August and get pampered at their beach house. But I was not ready to get there until December. It was absolutely beautiful. Time went fast even while I felt the stress of the year melting away. Johnny was not able to join us, but Simon flew over from Europe and we found ourselves in the exciting position of being able to create a piece of art with Darryl in his own studio! Here is what we made . . .

Our first day in the studio was spent with Darryl's employees, mainly his assistant Andrew Corke. Andrew gave us a tour and then Simon Steele and I each selected some digital files of our own artworks. Andrew not only made our images print-ready, he actually expanded the idea of one of Simon's drawings titled, "Crying Out Loud." The drawing is of a screaming face that is in the shape of a teardrop. Andrew took this image, duplicated it many times in a variety of smaller sizes and arranged the images into raindrops with a backdrop of textured water colors. It was pretty cool!

[Darryl Pottorf Art Studio]
Above: Kelly chooses images of her art while Andrew converts the digital files into a print-ready status. Photo by Simon Steele
Below right: Simon watches one of his images coming off of the printer, basically ink on a mylar type of material (with the image reversed).

[Darryl Pottorf Art Studio] [Darryl Pottorf Art Studio]

[Darryl Pottorf Art Studio] [Andrew Corke, artist and assistant]

[Darryl Pottorf Art Studio] [Kelly Borsheim + Simon Steele's art in ink]

The next day Darryl Pottorf came downstairs to his studio to see what we had selected and to get started on the art making. He told us that he felt bad about not getting to do more work with us because of the extreme back pain he has been experiencing lately. His medications had given him the horrible side effect of bloating and he just was not feeling energetic or good at all. While everyone around him worries about him and loves him, I must say that in addition to that, I was flattered that he would make the effort to play with us when I suspected that he just wanted to lie down.

The first step was to organize our materials to see what we had to work with.

[Darryl Pottorf Art Studio] [Darryl Pottorf looking at art options]

We started off with Simon's raining "Crying Out Loud" and then in the upper corner squeegied on an image of my original pastel drawing titled (as luck would have it) "Raindrops on Shell Ginger." I cut the image to control how much of my original composition transferred to this new artwork. Simon and Andrew peeled away the sheet to see how well the ink was pressed into the paper. Then Darryl showed us how to lose the edges by taking a wet brush and pushing things around until happiness results. Next, we added a reversed tonal image of Simon's interpretation of Michelangelo's "Pietà" (a detail of the face of Jesus).

[Darryl Pottorf Art Studio] [Darryl Pottorf looking at art options]

[Darryl Pottorf Art Studio] [Darryl Pottorf looking at art options]

Below, Andrew (in orange) looks on as Darryl and I prepared to print Simon's horse onto the lower right corner of our large "canvas." At this point, I was starting to really enjoy what we were doing. I had never done collage before, really, and as we added more layers to our collective image, I began to feel very sentimental. Each image had a personal story behind it. For example, my "Raindrops on Shell Ginger" image was originally created while I was a college student on a trip to Brownsville, Texas, with my father. It was one of our fun father-daughter adventures. I created that image while he was taking some pilot exam for the military. [We popped over into Mexico after that for some fun time.]

And the red horse? Well, Simon was inspired by a fountain that I had showed him in Bologna, Italy. [I also had created an artwork from this sculpture: see Parco della Montagnola, Bologna.] He created a very large drawing in white pastel on black paper (mounted on wood) of part of this horse. He asked Andrew to do his computer magic and turn it red since Simon's Chinese Zodiac sign is the Fire Horse.

I liked the idea of friends putting our individual and sometimes overlapping artful stories together.

[Collage Art with Darryl Pottorf]

Really, for a quality of art (and life), one must be open to new observations and experiences. These next two images show you some shapes that "happened" with the combination of how the transfer medium was brushed onto the paper and then how Simon's raindrops were applied over it. Do you see the dolphin (below)? He looks as if there is water splashing off his back...

Now, look at the image on the right... same section, only viewing more of the collage. Ignore the dolphin. Do you now see the face in the white spaces (the negative shapes touching the dolphin's back)? Once I noticed it, I was instantly reminded of one of the distinctive faces in Rodin's brilliant sculpture "The Burghers of Calais" and I told the guys such. So, Andrew and I went over to his computer and found an image of the face online. Later, we added Rodin's corresponding art image to our work that also had references to Michelangelo. This really was fun combining loves!

[Collage Art with August Rodin]

[Rodin Burghers of Calais Collage Art]

[Collage Art with Rodin Burghers of Calais] [Collage Art with Rodin Burghers of Calais]

The creation of our collage continued. "Billy the Butler" (as Darryl calls him, a real sweetheart) had been looking at my portfolio and suggested that we use an image of my painting titled "The Triumph of Icarus". We all agreed it was a good idea and I think that Billy was chuffed to have been a part of our fun. Darryl and Simon laid it out; Simon and I did the squeegie-ing. On the second row: Simon shares his compositional ideas. Darryl softens edges and prepares the surface for the next printing.

[Collage Art with Darryl Pottorf] [Collage Art with artist Darryl Pottorf]

[Collage Art with Darryl Pottorf] [Collage Art with artist Darryl Pottorf]

It was time to prop up our five-foot square creation and step back to take a look. Distance is really important to see the "big picture" and the vertical positioning gave us a fresh view of our work. We all decided that something was definitely needed in the lower left corner, as well as something smaller in the upper left corner. I had to laugh when Darryl announced, "A circle fixes everything!" as I thought of my own fascination with triangles.

After our evaluation, Darryl asked Simon and me to sign the work. Simon Steele put his graceful "SS" design down first and I signed my name with the date to the right of his mark. Then Darryl invited us to put our golden thumbprints in the lower left corner, in the same way that he signs his own art. My, this was fun! And all in time for a wonderful dinner cooked by Mark! Man, were Simon and I getting spoiled!

[Art Critique with Darryl Pottorf] [Artist Signature]

[Simon Steele Thumb Print] [Kelly Borsheim Thumbprint]

While Simon went upstairs to help Mark with the dinner setting, I helped Darryl attach his circle ... a bicycle wheel, in case you are not already familiar with his artwork.

After a lively conversation with a combination of laughter and serious talk at the dinner table, Darryl disappeared for a bit. The rest of us just assumed that he had gone to bed, as he did on occasion just to take the stress off of his hurting back. But later we discovered that he had gone back into the studio to pop our artwork in a large metal frame. He also told Simon that he put his own thumbprint into the lower right corner of our collaborative piece. He added that he used some of Bob's ashes mixed into his thumbprint! That moved us since it has been clear since we met Darryl and Mark that Bob (Robert Rauschenberg) was loved. [See the photo with Simon's blue tennis shoe for Darryl's mark.]

Mark had told us that one difference between the art of Darryl and the art of Bob, was that Bob felt it important for the artist to AVOID putting his personal self into the art. Darryl feels just the opposite, as I do. So much of Darryl's work (his visual language, as well as his written words) that we saw had very specific connections to those he loves and memories he has with them. One of my favorite pieces Darryl created hangs in Bob's former bedroom (where I slept in the beach house). It is a dark piece, with a spider over the figure's head. He created it one time when he was really angry with Mark. All the staff chuckles when I have remarked about how much I like this piece. They apparently remember the incident quite well, too!

[Darryl Pottorf bicycle wheel in art] [Thumbprint with Robert Rauschenberg's ashes]

Below is an image of our almost-finished collaborative collage creation that night. The next morning, we added a red circle over the gold one in the top left. Mark told us that they would send us a better image once they get a hi-res scan of the artwork. [These tasks are often batched together for efficiency in time and money. Please pardon my poorly exposed (and lit) snapshot here.]

[Collaborative Collage Art with Darryl Pottorf]

By this time it was around midnight. Darryl and Mark went to go crash, but invited us to keep working as we liked, using whatever materials we wanted to play with. Simon transfered an image of my drawing of him "Hellcat at the Pitti" onto some paper. I include the new image here, as well as a link to my original "Hellcat..." drawing because this ink transfer process gives an entirely different feel from both the original charcoal drawing and the giclée made from the charcoal.

Simon went back to the beach house to crash around 2 a.m. I was also tired, but feeling pumped at the same time. I stayed alone in Darryl's studio working in a bit of a daze, with few actual ideas, until around five in the morning. I think that given more time and sleep, I would have come up with a lot more ideas and could have utilized so many more of my images! This was fun and a seriously wonderful experience and an interesting process to boot!

[Hellcat Pitti ink transfer process] [Kelly's art as ink transfer proces]

Simon took the image on the right of me working with the ink version of my drawing "Nightwatch" before he bid adieu for the night. I combined my image with a pair of red tulips from Darryl's image file cabinet.

[Nightwatch + tulips ink transfer process] [Kelly's art as ink transfer proces]

Do not ask me why I added a red exclamation mark to my "Guardian of Firenze" image . . . even as I did it, all I could think was, "It needs red. I am tired. I might be done soon." That said, I actually like the image on the right in which I combined my "Il Dono" with one of Darryl's thistle images in his "library." I could not think of a title though. Do you have one to suggest?

[lion sculpture and red exclamation mark ink transfer process] [Kelly's figure art with Darryl's floral art in ink transfer proces]

The next morning, Simon's and my last in this warm paradise we enjoyed for a week after Art Basel Miami Beach, Darryl put some finishing touches on the "Nightwatch with Tulips" ink transfer that I had created in his studio. I left it with him since he seemed to like it so much. He had cut the paper around the image and even decided he liked the potential in the other part that I had put some faint designs onto. We also left all of the inked images that we did not use at all. The other artworks I created in the night left with me. One found a home in southeast Florida; the other two are with my mother.

Before we left the island, Simon and I drove back over to Robert Rauschenberg's studio, very much alive it is! Mark had wanted us to see the technical brilliance of one of Bob's sculptures of "wooden" chairs. They are actually bronze. The detailing of the patina was quite impressive! I drove Simon to the airport so he could return to Europe and then I headed north to spend some time with my family.

I am now also back in Europe, in my beloved Firenze, Italia. And freezing my bum off. Quite a difference from the warm and clear days we experienced in south Florida! Still, the new phase of my life has begun and I keep feeling so much gratitude for the loved ones and opportunities in my life. Thank you for sharing this all with me.

[Darryl Pottorf in his studio Florida]

Give a Book Review:

Thank you for your interest and support in the book I wrote this past summer about being a street artist in Italy. I was thrilled to receive such glowing feedback about how I had shared not only the art and the artists, but also something of the political environment regarding street art, interaction with the public and other street performers (my favorite chapter is the one in which I have invited children to join me on the pavement), as well as images of the Renaissance City herself.

The book is titled "My Life as a Street Painter in Florence, Italy." If you have read the book and would like to help in the promotion of it, perhaps you would consider writing up a short review for Amazon.com (or even send me a testimonial for my own site). Your review does not have to be fancy. The intention is to help other people get a better idea about what is inside and whether or not they may enjoy the read.

Just click here. Scroll down to the section on Customer Reviews. Click on the button to the right that says, "Create your own review" Sign in and follow their guide.

If you have not gotten your copy of the book, you may order directly from my site:

or from Amazon.com:

I have about 20 copies here with me in Italy, so if you are also here, just write me and we will organize the rest…

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I wish you a wonderful new year and thank you for sharing my journey with me. By all means, forward this newsletter to anyone you think would enjoy it.

Pace (peace),
Kelly Borsheim
11 January 2012

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