Thursday, May 10, 2012

Sweet Darkness

I've been neglecting this blog lately, but that's because I've been very busy over the last few weeks. But now I'm ready to start blogging again and I have a lot to report. Just over a week ago on April 30th, Christine and I had the opening reception for our show Sweet Darkness. This show took four months to conceive and towards the end, tensions were rising to get everything done on time and on occasions, both of us would end up getting very tired and pissed off at times. It was all worth it though. I think the show was successful and it got a lot of positive responses.

Like I said, the idea for Sweet Darkness came about late last year. At Harford Community College, we have an art gallery in the art building that is run by the Student Art Gallery Association (or SAGA as we like to be called) and I currently serve as the organization's president. I have also had shows there in the past. Christine was interested in having a show but felt she wasn't ready to have her own solo show yet, so she asked me to join her. I agreed to do so and from the beginning, it was apparent that since our art was very different, that would serve as the overall theme of the show.

Octo Bath: An example of the type of artwork Christine is known for.
She Wants Blood: An example of the type of artwork I'm known for.
As anyone could see, Christine's artwork is cute and adorable whereas my artwork is more dark and serious. In order to help the artwork fit together, we decided to do a collaborative piece.That collaborative piece would become Dark Lily. During Dark Lily's development, Christine had another idea for a piece that would be shaped like a heart. This would become Love You To Death. 

Dark Lily: I did the frame work while Christine painted the Lily.

Love You To Death to the left of Dark Lily. Again, I did the frame work while Christine painted the hand holding the heart and the roses.
Personally, I loved working on these collaborative projects because it allowed me to start something from scratch for the first time in a long time (most of my artwork is made from combining unfinished projects that have been building up over the years), which helped me refine my techniques. It also allowed Christine to have a feel for working on one of my mixed media pieces. She personally got to see the ins and outs of what it was like to construct on of these pieces and I received a lot of hugs from her as a result. Also, since we started on Love You To Death after we started on Dark Lily, I was able to drastically improve my techniques between the two projects.

After we had gotten the show date set up, we were sitting around one day and we were thinking of names for the show. It was very early when we came up with the name. If I recall correctly, I don't think Dark Lily was very far along in it's development and the concept of Love You To Death didn't even exist yet. She wanted a name right away since she wanted to make a Facebook event in plenty of time to promote the show. Sweet Darkness was one of those names that she came up with early on and we both quickly agreed on it. Ironically enough, as quickly as we thought of the name and as quickly as the Facebook event was made, the flyers weren't made and finalized until less than two weeks before the start of the show (that was my fault). The three flyers I would make were entirely my idea, with Christine's approval of course. I wanted to further cement the concept of the show into the minds of everyone who would see the flyer, so I came up with the idea of having a dark background with a beautiful picture of our hands joining together. I wore one of my more noticeable wristbands in order to help bring out the idea that two different artists were coming together for a single event. The font that was used is called Chaos Times, a font that would also be used for the name listing and number labels for our show. The SAGA logo was inserted in the bottom corner since I almost always include it in my flyers. I thought of the basic concept for the flyer in no time. The placement and the size of the font took me hours to arrange.

Flyer #1

Flyer #2
Flyer #3
Personally, I feel they are the best flyers I have ever made for any event. The only consequence is that not everyone got the idea and thought Christine was my girlfriend. I wasn't disappointed though. I could understand why people got that idea. Ironically, it was also not the first time people had mistaken Christine for my girlfriend.

We installed most of the show the day before the reception. Love You to Death wasn't ready yet and neither were the number labels. The lighting would also be readjusted the next day. When installing the show, there was a lot of improvisation. Christine was good at that. She had more artwork with her than I did and we had to eliminate some of the artwork from the show. Since the gallery was small, we had to find creative ways to put up some of the artwork. Christine was also nice enough to include curtains that helped block out unnecessary sunlight. In the end, everything was finished on the day of the opening reception roughly 30 minutes before the start of the reception. I never plan things that way when I have shows, but it always turns out that way. 

The front of the gallery where most of the artwork is located
From left to right are our collaborative pieces Love You To Death and Dark Lily. Then on the far right, we have my newest piece She Wants Blood.

Christine's beautiful photographs got a lot of positive responses.

All the black and white pictures are mine. the colored pictures and course the Octopuses belong to Christine.

An example where  Christine and I had to improvise. Originally, we weren't going to use this window area for anything other than keeping it blocked out by the curtain.

Christine's book of beautiful photographs

Christine & myself. I think we put together a good show. I think there are many others who would have a much harder time working together. Despite the differences with our art, we found quite easy to work with one another.
Overall, it was a very good night and I think everyone had a wonderful time. The last few days of getting everything ready was quite stressful, but it was all worth it. As I said before, I had no intentions of doing another show yet and that being said, I'd like to thank Christine for asking me to work with her. I'd also like to thank everyone who came to the reception and everyone who supported the show in some way or another. 


  1. Oh this show was nice my friend it really was, did i make you feel special by commenting?

    1. Yeah, you did actually. It took me forever to make this. Everything from choosing and editing the photos as well as the typing I did literally took days, and you commented on it. I feel very special. Whenever I think of the proper words, I will comment on your lovely photographs.

  2. I know it's late in the game to comment, but I wanted to make sure I let you know -- your art is awesome, Jon-Erich! The fact that you develop these pieces with their own innate frames is such a creative touch. I think you two put together what appears to have been a kick-ass show, and it's good to see someone as talented as you get the recognition you deserve!

    1. Thanks. Ever see my piece Sparky? It's based on the short Tim Burton film Frankenweenie. That was in a group show in the gallery in late 2010. Some people from Harford Magazine took some photos of that gallery. That gallery was selected as the best art gallery in Harford County for 2011. They had a picture of the group showing in the main article. However, in the preview section of the magazine, they had a beautiful picture of Sparky all by itself. So yeah, I'm aware of the reactions people have to my art. It's not something that happened overnight either. It took years for my art to evolve into something like that.

      My only regret is that there wasn't another art gallery in all of Harford county that got more attention than ours. I mean, I'm not downplaying what we can do, but does Harford suck that much that a student run gallery beats the hell out of anything else, even in the art center that is Havre de Grace?