new collaborative culture project portraits completed

Sorry for the long delayed update! I have been so busy painting and working on proposals, that I have long neglected site updates. So you asked for them, here they are. I have completed four new pieces in the collaborative culture portrait project (high res versions can be found in my painting gallery for greater detail)

Karen , BAM Opera House,  30”x40”, Acrylic and Varnish on   Canvas, 2012

Karen, BAM Opera House, 30”x40”, Acrylic and Varnish on Canvas, 2012

KAREN BROOKS HOPKINS, President, Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM). 

I owe Karen for everything that I know about fundraising for the arts. Karen eats, breaths, and sleeps fundraising, Brooklyn, and BAM...when I first met her, frankly, she terrified me- I had never encountered anyone so passionate about an institution and its mission... her intensity was overwhelming...luckily the terror did not last for very long...I soon got her, and I absolutely adored and admired this amazing woman, and still do. Under KBH’s direction and mentorship, I learned a very simple concept- the real key to successful fundraising is simply sincerely caring about your mission and cause...if you do not, you should just pack your bags and get out of the way...a team that doesn’t wholly care is a much bigger obstacles to fundraising than a weak economic climate for sure! 

I painted Karen in BAM’s Howard Gilman Opera House- an incredibly beautiful space that fills many of my fondest memories of my BAM tenure--to paint Karen in the Opera House was an incredible thrill and wild challenge, and the completed piece really captures a significant era in my life with loving brushstrokes.  Thank you KBH!

To support Karen’s efforts and BAM, please GO HERE NOW

Barbaralee ,  30”x40”, Acrylic and Varnish on  Canvas, 2012

Barbaralee, 30”x40”, Acrylic and Varnish onCanvas, 2012

BARBARALEE DIAMONSTEIN-SPIELVOGEL, Art/Design/Architecture Advocate, Vice Chair of NYSCA, Landmark Preservation Pioneer/Champion, Author...the list goes on and on...but to me, Barbaralee has served as one of my strongest advocates from student scholarship benefits that I produced for Pratt Institute to fully encouraging my artistic vision, talents, and pursuits when choosing to leave Pratt to paint full-time and beyond. Thank you BLD-S! And thank you for the opportunity to reinterpret the work of many artists that I absolutely adore from your private collection in this piece--many tributes paid in this piece.

To view an incredible archive of Barbaralee’s 70’s/80’s interviews of art, design and architecture-world visionaries, including Edward Albee, Leo Castelli, and Frank Gehry GO HERE NOW

Marjorie ,  30”x40”, Acrylic and Varnish on  Canvas, 2012

Marjorie, 30”x40”, Acrylic and Varnish onCanvas, 2012

MARJORIE KUHN, Arts Advocate, Philanthropist, Fundraising Student, and Partner-in-Shenanigans

Where do I start with MK? First of all, Marjorie supports everything I do, sometimes enthusiastically and sometimes begrudgingly...but always supports me and makes time for me. And vice versa- I will always be there for MK and help her when she needs me. Marjorie is a beautiful soul- she is kind, caring, thoughtful, and sincere. Over the years I have met many NYC arts supporters...but Marjorie was the first and the last that I have met that also happened to be enrolled in professional fundraising/development courses at Columbia...wha?! Who does this?! And the answer is someone that cares sooo much that simply giving financial support is not enough (anyone with means can do that). Marjorie wanted to know more. She wanted to know the full machine--from what her role was and how she could grow and further help, what exactly I did and why I did it, and so on and so on. It’s like deciding to raise and nurture your own apple tree---garnering utmost appreciation and satisfaction from the fruit that it yields, even though it would be a lot easier to simply pick up an apple on the corner and never think twice about it. Marjorie is an incredible friend, a respected colleague, parent, and a lover of classic rock...enough said--she is amazing. For this piece it was incredibly important to me that I capture her inner and outer beauty along with a striking ethereal portrait of her grandmother/namesake looking over her in the background. I can only hope that my sincere admiration is visible in each brushstroke.

Marjorie- thank you for being Marjorie!

We might always debate the artistic merits of Steely Dan, but as this is her favorite band, in honor of Marjorie, I will admit for the first time here that I secretly really love this SD song- mp3 player below. Enjoy!

Karen, Knoll Showroom ,  30”x40”, Acrylic and Varnish on   Canvas, 2012

Karen, Knoll Showroom, 30”x40”, Acrylic and Varnish on Canvas, 2012

KAREN STONE, Design Director, Knoll Inc.; Adjunct Associate Professor of Industrial Design, Pratt Institute, and Hilarious Friend

One thing that I really regret during my tenure at Pratt Institute is that my opportunity to collaborate on projects with faculty and students was quite limited...not enough hours in the day, and sometimes too much of a disconnect between paths. Despite this, I was very fortunate to make Karen Stone’s acquaintance and forge a creative team to be reckoned with for years, and a friendship for life. In addition to Karen working and traveling full-time as design director for Knoll, one of the most incredible furniture design companies in the world, but as a dedicated Pratt alumna, she also found time to not only come back and teach a course each semester, but also volunteer her time to help me mentor a top industrial design student to create a unique, sculptural award for the honorees at the annual Pratt Legends event that I produced. Each year the students and the final pieces were incredible--and the experience for the students was a professional development and artistic highlight of their academic careers--in fact I’ve continued to stay in touch with many of the students and have been thrilled to offer letters of recommendation as they continue to grow and excel in their lives. Absolute magic. I couldn’t have achieved this without Karen, and her sleepless efforts and unwavering support, all handled with grace and humor, left a great impression on me. Karen you’re amazing, and I’m confident that our collaborative partnership has only just begun. For this piece I wanted to capture: Karen’s infectious smile; her “favorite color” which changes minute to minute depending on emotion and depending on the specific “thing” we’re talking about; and her biggest fear of not being able to see colors. I felt that capturing Karen in front of a full color spectrum wall of textile samples at the Knoll Showroom--lovingly hand-mixing each individual and unique hue/texture--was the perfect way to immortalize Karen forever surrounded in favorite colors.

Thank you Karen!

To see Karen in action, GO HERE NOW!