DANIEL MAIDMAN: What type or types of art do you like to collect, and who are a few artists you're particularly proud to have in your collection?
RANDEL SHADID: I collect all types of art (oil, watercolor and pastel), landscape, seascape, figurative, wildlife, still life, abstract, sculpture, and pueblo pottery). I am proud to have all the artists I own in my collection. Who an artist is in the pecking order of fame is relevant but I never buy a piece I do not love and want to live with till the end of my time on earth. But you asked for a few names so here goes. Kenny McKenna, Dick and Susan Evans, Kyle Polzin, Dan Gerhartz, Dan Sprick, Mian Situ, David Leffel, Poteet Victory, David Pearson, Albert Handel, Andre Kohn, George Hallmark, Jim Vogel, Bruce Cody, Pamela Wilson, Sara Bienvenue, Laura Robb, Markey Robinson, Keli Folsom, Katherine Stone, Quang Ho, Greg Reiche, Tony Hochstetler and Kevin Box. I could go on as I not only love the artist’s work but know many of them personally as friends.
DM: Can you tell me a bit about how your involvement with art began? Was it an encounter with art in childhood, or through family or school?
RS: My involvement in art came later in life. I always had an appreciation for beauty but had never acquired original art until I was in my late 40’s (I am 69 going on 39). My wife Dana convinced me to spend a long weekend in Santa Fe. I was not excited as I was not interested in purely “cowboy and Indian” subject matter. Dumb statement. Discovered all kinds and styles of art. Wound up spending $15,000 on paintings for a historic building I was rehabbing for a law office. The rest as they say is history as my obsessive personality took over. Dana and I have acquired several hundred works of art since then. I subscribed to several art publications, visited with gallery owners whose works appealed to me and visited more museums to enhance what little I knew about art in order to gain a better appreciation.
DM: Describe a little bit the role that art plays in your life. I say "a little bit" because I suspect that for any real art lover, the answer can never be completed. So just a few thoughts on how art influences who you are and the life you live.
RS: Art has a great influence in and on my life. Art is the first thing I see in the morning and the last thing I see at night. Each piece has a story and each piece in its own way makes me feel happy and more alive. Over the years as we have been blessed to travel we look for art that is affordable but representative of the areas we visit. The artwork always reminds us of a great day. We also try to support artists, particularly young ones trying to support themselves through their talent. I learned a long time ago that I did not get the gift my artist friends have. But if they are going to succeed someone has to acquire their wonderful works. Guess I was lucky to get that gift. I tell my friends I will never be able to retire because all my retirement is hanging on the walls or sitting on a pedestal. As long as I have my eyesight I will be a happy boy.
With others, I also helped start a public art program in Edmond, OK. We have around 190 works in the public collection. I am a former Mayor and Council member. When I retired from political life, establishing a public program became my mission. The success of the program through the support of our city council and citizens has raised both the aesthetic and the civility of our community. Selfishly I get to enjoy all those public pieces as I walk around our community. I also take great satisfaction in watching mothers and grandmothers with children and tourists reacting with public art and having a Kodak moment. Makes me proud of our citizens and happy we supported so many different artists.
DM: This is a fascinating range of answers, and it captures for me a lot of the complexity of having a relationship with art: you describe it in terms of an aesthetic appreciation of beauty, and as a series of sign-posts marking the road of your own personal history, and as a means of civic betterment. Are there any other major virtues you see in art? And could you choose a piece in your collection that has both extraordinary aesthetic and personal importance for you, and share its "case history"? I think our readers can be trusted to take it that you might have chosen any number of works, and that this one stands, for the sake of brevity, for all.
RS: Other virtues I see in art: I was recently visiting with Steve and Elizabeth Harris of Insight Gallery and Steve reminded me of something I told him a few years ago. We were discussing why we collect art and I said “After a long difficult day at work I can sit in any room of my home look at wonderful art and it relaxes me. It takes me away either to the place depicted in the painting or a special moment when we purchased the piece and got to know the artist or the gallery staff. Always evokes pleasant thoughts or memories. Blood pressure drops 20 points.
A single piece of art: It is tough to pick a single piece that has extraordinary aesthetic and personal importance because they all do. The one I will discuss is an abstract landscape (at least that is what I think it is) by Dick Evans of Santa Fe. I purchased the painting nearly 20 years ago before I knew Dick. His gallery rep Joyce Robins offered to take Dana and me and 3 other Edmond, OK couples to Dick and Susan Evans’s home and studio. We expected to be there 30 minutes, have a glass of wine and leave. Two or three hours later we were in Dick’s studio participating in a buying frenzy. Next thing we knew Dick was cooking us dinner. I am drawn to landscapes but at that time was not a fan of abstract work. But this painting grabbed me. The palate and form were beautiful and took my mind to another place. We subsequently became great friends with Dick and Susan. Several years ago they were at our home. We were sipping wine and Dick leaned over and said, “Randel, I am going to make you an offer you can’t refuse. If you will let me have that painting back you can come to the studio and pick any painting any size in its place”. I smiled, leaned over and said, “Dick, I love you, but you are not getting that painting back.” We are still friends. The painting is a joy to view but the story is an affirmation of beauty on a panel or canvas and beginning of a meaningful relationship that resulted in a lifelong friendship. I have placed several of Dick’s paintings and Susan’s sculptures in our public art collection in Edmond, OK. I see the art every day and it always reminds me of a great time with my friends sharing a meal, talking about art and embellishing tales.
Daniel Maidman is best known for his vivid depiction of the figure. Maidman’s drawings and paintings are included in the permanent collections of the Library of Congress, the New Britain Museum of American Art, and the Long Beach Museum of Art. His art and writing on art have been featured in PoetsArtists, ARTnews, Forbes, W, Juxtapoz, Hyperallergic, American Art Collector, and Manifest. He writes art criticism for The Huffington Post, art instruction for International Artist, and is a repeat guest critic at the New York Academy of Art. His first book of drawings, Daniel Maidman: Nudes, is available from Griffith Moon Publishing. He is represented by Jenn Singer Gallery in New York. He lives and paints in Brooklyn, New York.
Let’s face it. Faces fascinate us.
And Artists, they fascinate us too.
Given the supreme importance of understanding and interpreting faces in our social life, our brains are hard wired with an amazing capacity to recognize and read faces. Two-day-old infants can discern and mimic simple facial movements, a five-year-old child is perfectly able to interpret the emotional content encoded within facial expressions, and as adults most of us process the information automatically in an incredibly efficient manner.
Even when there’s just a slight hint of a possible facial structure the brain automatically interprets it as a face. This explains why we sometimes see faces in inanimate objects, a phenomenon called facial pareidolia (pronounced parr-i-doh-lee-ə) involving a psychological stimulus in which the mind perceives a familiar pattern where none exists. To a certain degree, this phenomenon also occurs when we look at a very vague painterly interpretation of a portrait, where a minimum of well-placed brush strokes form a clear image.
Through the neurological mechanism of face perception, we interpret the human face in order to identify not only emotions, but a wealth of other information, such as age, origin, gender, and health. Looking at faces is essential for our social interactions in which emotions play such a large role. In fact, most of us relate to facial expressions on such a deep level that looking at others elicits enhanced sympathetic arousal.
Early attempts at portraiture started in prehistoric times, but few of these works survive today. Our enduring fascination with the human face is especially apparent in our attraction to portraits, in which the static representation of a subject gives us the opportunity to scrutinize, study, and stare without awkwardness. The artist’s interpretation—whether they paint themselves or someone else—gives a fascinating insight into the artist’s vision and intentions. The choice of pose, state of dress or undress, setting, medium, style, and color palette influence the overall mood of a portrait and reinforce the underlying message or narrative.
While the typical intent of a portrait is to faithfully capture the likeness and personality of a person, portraits can deviate into idealized, abstracted, fetishized, or even purposely flawed artistic expressions depending on the vision and objectives of the artist. Whatever medium, style, or method, a portrait is a form of celebration—in some cases perhaps even a memento mori.
This PoetsArtists Portrait Issue presents a visually striking and conceptually diverse range of portraits cataloging artists’ representations of themselves and other artists. In essence I believe a portrait is always autobiographical, to a certain extent, especially when it comes to depicting a person one is connected to on a deep level. One might even infer that there’s a collaborative quality to an artist’s portrait of another artist.
This superb survey of portraits show a strong sense of kin, amity, respect, and recognition. The poignant capture of their mutual influences, struggles, admiration, rivalry, empathy, is a shared understanding of living a creative life. This fascinating collection of portraits expose the artists and their fellow creative—friends, mentors, peers, heroes—in an intimate yet revealing light, and invite the viewer to discover and unravel the compelling bond between artists.
Devon Rodriguez portrays artist friend Irvin Rodriguez in a pensive, relaxed pose set against an abstracted background. While the painterly expression is classical—reminiscent of Diego Velázquez—the subject is firmly planted in today’s world through dress and a few skillfully rendered objects. Rodriguez seeks to touch the viewer by capturing his subject’s candid, warmhearted simplicity in an intimate study of character and emotion. This painting celebrates a fellow artist and hero, someone whom Devon greatly admires and feels deep affinity with. More than merely rendering physical characteristics, Rodriguez seeks to honor his subject by adding lavish, intangible layers of affection—only visible by those who understand the joys of creative connectedness.
Erin Anderson’s striking self-portrait, exquisitely rendered in a detailed yet subtle manner, leans heavily on a classical representational approach. The luscious sheen of the copper support is an integral part of her work, and gives it a distinctive, contemporary look, perfectly juxtaposing contemporary abstraction with an ageless time-honored expression. Through experimental chemical oxidization Anderson achieves unpredictable and visually interesting patterns suggesting an ancient, ethereal environment while still maintaining the metal’s inherent luster. Her tranquil motionless figure exudes a sense of wellbeing tinged with melancholia—she seems to be in perfect equilibrium, beautifully surrounded by the elegant background with its abstracted jumble of chaotic, random branches that, as a whole, come together in graceful harmony.
Gary Justis captures light projections using LED, incandescent, refracted, and reflected light to create virtual life forms. Hovering between complete abstraction and nearly-recognizable imagery, these portraits set themselves apart in an imaginative and highly original way, inviting the viewer to instinctively connect with them on an emotional and spiritual level. Justis expertly validates the viewer’s desire to seek symbolic substance in ethereal imagery and our innate need to assign meaning to conceptualized shapes and unexpected colors. Each of his portraits is inspired by the envisioned persona of an artist friend, in which he seeks to capture the subject’s unique and enigmatic characteristics.
Daniel Maidman’s portrait of Los Angeles-based soprano Delaram Kamareh has a Victorian quality to it, reminiscent of the great paintings of strikingly beautiful women by the Aesthetic Movement. While the subject’s pose is serene, her eyes are watchful and alert, conveying Maidman’s fascination with Kamareh’s overpoweringly vivid presence during her performances. Whilst Maidman is especially captivated by physical beauty, he always seeks to convey a sense of specificity and uniqueness to each individual in his artworks. It is hardly possible to capture the soprano’s spectacular voice and powerful onstage charisma in a motionless portrait, yet Maidman’s skillful rendition invites the viewer to share his admiration of her elegant splendor which, inexplicably, also seems to convey her talents.
Written by Lorena Kloosterboer, realist artist & author © Antwerp, April 2017
This week's selections include a work of art which was also chosen last week. Since we are working from a pool of artwork with the hashtag #heydidi from Instagram, selecting the same work more than once by different collectors is possible. There are over 640 images on Instagram with the #heydidi tag and from those many are not finished works or not art related posts. Our collectors scour through the works each week and yes some will stand out more than others and be chosen by more than one collector because the work is very good. Remember that our stream and brand is mostly figurative although you may find an occasional golden lemon. See last week's selections.
We have a new collector to the list this week; #5. A power couple.
Since everyone is intrigued with the artwork by Dianne Gall (see previous Collector's Corner), I asked the artist about titling her work "Everybody Knows" and others.
I never title my paintings until they are completely finished. I have a concept and a message behind my work, so I go looking through my bookshelf, music collection, do some internet searches on poetry etc go for a walk, write some notes, eventually the right one makes itself known. I try not to be literal with the titles, I want people to make up their own minds about the work, not be dictated by what I have called it. There has to be a relate with the image but not a dictate. - Dianne Gall
I asked the community how important is finding the right title for an artwork. Here are some responses.
Trust me I can tell you a bad title will or can kill a sale of a painting. This has happened a number of times over the years. If a title has an unfortunate connotation that I feel will hurt it's salability I always tell the artist and give them the chance to consider. Usually the artists go with their instincts. But from years of experience I can tell you I have been presenting a painting to a interested customer and have had certain titles kill the sale. Also I have seen works that have been titled "untitled " have an adverse effect on buyers. Clever titles, ambiguous titles, titles with references in it, poetic titles, all these add a bit more to the work add another layer to it. if you hit something that neither adds or detracts you can play it safe as for how it is received, but you must consider if you add a title that is willfully problematic. In all the various guises that problematic may be, if it is willfully problematic you are hurting your chances of both connecting with your audience and making sales. - Tim Smith, Sirona Fine Art
The title of an artwork is a impacting as the title of as a work of literature. Titles frame the theme, the focus, the subject-- all the particulars causing the artist / writer to create in the first place. For me, that holds true for any creative work - including all forms of art, writing, music, film... - Sam Rasnake
I've seen paintings with good titles that make paintings excellent. A lot of paintings are really good but don't hit home for me, but a title would hint in on a subtle concept, which is something I can admire no matter the quality of the painting. - Victorious Faith McLeod
It is very important to me for my work, though the meaning is often inaccessible to viewers unless they know something about the genesis of the works. I tend to write a paragraph or two about each piece that may help make connections.- Jan Nelson
I love the rare moment when you stand in front of a piece that's new to you; mesmerized, connecting, lavishing in the work, emotional and then you read the title and it brings you to tears or to your knees. Sometimes the work conveys the feeling/sensation but then the title runs it home like a dagger. - Victoria Selbach
"Everybody knows" 2017 Oil on linen 153x168cms The finished image, slightly cropped for Instagram, headed for @metro_gallery Melbourne #contemporaryrealism #figurativeart #australiancontemporaryart #creativeuprising #artoftheday #painting #oilpainting #artcollector #heydidi #figurativepainting #femmenoir #heytate #fineart #beautifulbizarre #sophielollipop
Video of Everybody Knows
Interviewed by Daena Title
Technically, art collector Robert Shiell lives by himself in his Los Angeles English country cottage style house, but you couldn’t say he lives alone. His walls are alive with figurative paintings, chock-a-block with both Subjects and the Spirit of the artists who made them.
Over 140 works crowd the walls of Shiell’s two homes, (Shiellhas also renovated a mid century modern 50’s house in Palm Springs). More work overflows onto the floor of his living room waiting its turn to be unpacked and enjoyed. Though Shiell has sporadically collected paintings over the years, and inherited others, it’s only been eight years since he began his deep dive into the world of emerging figurative artists. Already his collection has outgrown the walls of his homes. So much so, that on the advice of a friend, Shiell recently converted his LA garage into an “Art Room”: Shiell’s own white box gallery and entertainment space. “If I had one room between the two houses,” says Shiell. “It would be this one that means the most to me. I am happy with every piece in this room. I like every painting on every square inch here and I wish I had triple the space”.
In the past Shiell has collected American ceramics and mid-century furniture as well as vintage Disney collectibles, but his present passion, is paintings. His figurative art collection throws a wide net. Paintings range from the “technical brilliance” of realists like Brian Drury and Ain Cocke to expressionistic rule breakers like Andrew Salgado, to the even more abstract Sojourner Truth Parsons. Many works compress the picture plane, or slyly promise a traditional composition and then discombobulate instead. Still others hew to the more traditional approach. Shiell connects equally to his four paintings by male artist Jason Yarmosky as he does to the two pieces he owns by female artist Hope Gangloff. He collects Americans and Europeans. He collects the young such as Anja Salonen, still in undergraduate school at the time of Shiell’s purchase, and the old, 75 year old Katherine Bradford and Margot Bergman whom Shiell tells me is ”only getting her due at 83”. What connects them all is that each piece must “resonate” with Shiell. “I am not in this for the investment”.
On a recent tour of his collection, Shiell ‘s descriptions radiated warmth, passion and his connection to each purchase. His heart is open to all facets of the work: either reveling in the color, “I just love, love, love orange”, or the beauty and technique of the works themselves, or in the sometimes serpentine road to acquisition, or the stories behind the subjects depicted, “This one is head of the Kabalah. It hasn’t been confirmed if it’s a wig or not,” as well as in the artists themselves as individuals: artist Gangloff, for example “turns music on in her studio and she’ll dance in the studio and go back and forth from one thing to another in this rhythm and dance from painting to painting”. One artist from whom he’s purchased, died too young. Another painting’s Subject was in the middle of a break up. Every painting has its stories and Shiell loves them all.
What follows are edited excerpts of our recent conversation at his LA home.
DT: You seem to enjoy getting to know these artists personally.
RS: My relationship to the work is enriched by my friendship with the artists. And I’m delighted if my purchases can help support them in their careers
DT: Do you ever buy art on line?
RS: Yes, but only after knowing the artist’s work and having seen other works.
DT: You’ve mentioned during the tour that one of the artists has been “getting a lot of buzz” or that another ”has been making some waves. That Roberta Smith gave him a real positive review”. Do you ever buy anything on impulse that you haven’t heard about previously, but just see it and love it?
RS: I have to viscerally respond to the work, but I don’t buy on impulse. I deliberate before buying anything. I have to know something about the artist. Which is something I’m hearing about on blogs or this and that. I’ll follow an artist on line and do research. There’s so much art out there that might appeal to me visually, I do consciously try to filter that out by doing some homework and just not going with my instincts. Every piece in here I did research on. Read something about. And each painting resonates with me in a different way.
I’m not looking at it as an investment or thinking it’ll go up in value, but with some other young painters it is nice to get something where they’re considered very promising. I like the idea of being supportive of a younger artist’s career, mid-career artists, too. But it’s sort of nice, being right . And of course, it’s much more affordable.
DT: Do you use Instagram?
RS: I have a lot of art and artists I follow on Instagram, but to be honest with you, I check it less frequently than I would like. Because I feel that I’m overwhelmed with the emails, with my art emails and the blogs. I can’t be on both. Facebook, I dropped off. I just don’t have the time to find art on Instagram.
DT: The art market has gone through some big changes even within the relatively short time that you’ve been collecting.
RS: I get a little concerned about the new platforms for art. I like buying on line because I can’t physically get to every gallery and I can have a relationship with a gallery that I might not be able to visit. I’m a little concerned that physical galleries are dying. That really disturbs me. And I think it’s a trend that might continue to happen. Because a lot of younger people are relying on on-line art. That sends less foot traffic to the galleries, so it’s cyclical. Not all galleries know how to pull in a younger crowd and you need to not just have older people there.
DT: And Art Fairs?
RS: Galleries just have to do Art Fairs now. You just have to. It’s very difficult not to.
I like Art Fairs. This will be my fifth year at Art Basel in Miami. It’s a fun thing. But what’s disturbing about the Art Fairs-- I feel there’s a lot more pressure on certain quote marketable artists to produce commercially. There’s this constant pressure for them to produce for the Fairs.
I hear this first hand from the Galleries I know—Oh this artist, they’re going to give me a couple of pieces for this Fair, or the Armory or Basel, China, the Summer show, the Spring Show. I think as an artist, you just need time, to take your time to paint, over the course of a year or so. But this idea of having deadlines. If you’re having to be that prolific, you’re not spending as much time with the paintings. Your quality goes down if you’re constantly on a deadline.
DT: What will you do when all your walls are full?
RS: I have already run out of wall space. I just got rid of my beautiful mid-century lamps in two of my bedrooms in Palm Springs in order to increase my wall space.
I just acquired eight new artworks while in New York (last week) attending the Armory Art Fair, NADA Art Fair and Independent Art Fair, although I am out of wall space.
I will have to get storage space and rotate my art… and maybe down the line buy a different house with significantly more wall space.
DT: You have such a passionate connection to all of these paintings. Is there one that stands out for you?
RS: I don’t like to say I have a favorite. But the painting behind me is of my father who died two years ago in 2015 April. When he was 90 I asked the artist Jason Yarmosky, who is incredibly skilled at rendering elderly people, to paint my father. I paid for him to come down to San Diego and spend a day with my father. And they had a great day together.
My father wasn’t happy with the painting because he felt it made him look old. He wasn’t able to look at it and realize this is what he looked like today. Even though Jason captured him perfectly. His eyes. His neck… I love the feel.
My father kept the painting at his place. I wanted him to have it.
So when my father did die, I had it hung here in my house and it really helped me during that grieving process. This room is where I sit all the time at my desk. That’s where I sit more than any place and spend the most amount of time. And I really felt that it helped me having it. The grieving process takes different stages and it made it easier for me. I don’t know what the process of healing would have been without that painting behind me. I love having it.
Interviewed by Daena Title | March 2017
Photographs by Daena Title and Claire Matic
Video by Daena Title | Produced by Didi Menendez
About Daena Title
Feminist painter Daena Title's colorist, expressionist work centers on the seductive force of modern female icons. Her work, which reflects the on-going love/hate relationship between women, societal standards, and self-esteem, has been shown in gallery and museum spaces since 1998, including recent group exhibitions at The Oceanside Museum, the Riverside Museum, the Torrance Art Museum and the LA Art Fair. Title is proud that her work has been showcased in several PoetsArtists publications and shows, is included in the Brooklyn Museum Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art Online Feminist Art base and the Tullman Collection of Chicago. www.daenatitle.com