Thursday, April 10, 2008

Open Book

(Update: wasn't sure what to think of this quote outside of Aurora- smarmy? sarcastic? real? But it's taken from a Sylvie Fortin quote in an AJC article. Funny I ran into it on my way to check out some art. Thanks Eggtooth for the heads up)

Coffee shops have to be one of the purest venues for showing art. You get a crowd that is not necessarily there intending to see art but if it's good, they will look and respond. There is no pretension, no expectation, its a "what you see is what you get" deal, with a colored dot pricing system and baristas who look genuinely surprised if someone wants to buy something.

I went by Aurora Coffee in Little Five Points to see the showing of 99 drawings by Joe Tsambiras entitled "Make Room in the Life Raft."

The show is excellent and worth the three buck coffee for an excuse to linger. The 99 drawings are pages from Tsambiras's sketch books, each one a considered moment, a funny memory, a nagging fear, the world through someone else's eyes. Tsambiras said the sketchbook often became "his lifeboat."

The layout of the pages worked well within the space of Aurora and considering it was 99 solid drawings, none coming across as filler or unfinished, it was tricky to avoid overcrowding the work on the narrow walls. There is also something about the intimacy of sketch book pages that seems so right at home on display in an amiable coffee shop, the works read like an amusing conversation with a familiar stranger, drawing the viewer down the length of the wall.

The comforting nostalgic feel of the drawings reminds me of Ryan Lincicome and his lastest show at Young Blood except these drawings are less like snapshots and more meandering, envisaged daydreams and curious observations on life.

On her blog, Felicia Feaster made the great comment "Joe’s images have... a spirit of gentle observation and consideration for the wispy, fragile side of people’s lives and the difficulties of love and work more Daniel Clowes than R. Crumb."

And a dash of Edward Gorey.

A nice description of sketchbooks by Jay Conway was presented with the show: "The pages of a sketchbook evoke the body of the artist in its continual interaction with other bodies. The best of these encounters are comparable to alliances. The artist enters into an alliance with ink, coffee, music, and food. Poetry and protesters. Good friends. Why are these best? Because the emotions they elicit fuel action. Joy breeds creativity."

I think I know that guy.

This might be my favorite, I could see this drawing coming out of the sketchbook and into a much larger, finished, piece.

Or no, this one is my favorite, too. Yeah, the glove of ants is going home with me.

Priced between $15-$50 the drawings are a $teal - vamp up your art collection with one of these babies and a cup of joe to go. Show up through May 1st 2008.


Anonymous said...

Good lord these are wonderful!

Susannah said...

Yes. Went and made an addition to my meager art collection this morning.

Jonathan said...

If only I had money, I'd want the entire effing sketchbbok.

Allen Taylor said...

great drawings from a great man. I stare at these a lot.

Anonymous said...

that image at the top. the words "oh there a really big art scene in atlanta?" they are stuck to the side door of aurora. they reference a quote from sylvie fortin.
how we perceive ourselves is just as important as how we try to present ourselves. I'd say the previous finally needs to begin to be consciously solidified before the latter has any real effect. elaborating further requires thick skin and wader boots, but i would happily entertain the topic with artful discussion. or by discussing happy intents behind artful presentations. Jonathan,as you observe, the context of coffee shops, they are without pretense or if to imply they exist elsewhere in atlanta. within what greater context is that expectation relevant,if i may ask your do we perceive ourselves and to what extent does it spiral out? survive,expand,validate..for concept value or for commercial value?

the drawing's are very nice,by the way. i like the hand glove ants thing. they are very skillfully executed,very technically proficient illustrations. some def. stronger than others, some show a certain youthfulness.while some are honest genuine ideas.
miss darrow,bang up job on the show at eyedrum. i guess you heard somebody vandalized maxwell's install? not implicating anyone as responsible, it's just a sad thing.i'd like for his work to be returned to him if anyone knows anything about it. the blog,yr pics are always greater than you ever go to the blog allison rentz set up for all to use? it has a link from there to yrs does from here to there...which is great.
anyone can post on it,as you might know.
keep doing what you do, i love your reports of outings. they are almost realer than real.yr voice is strong

Susannah said...

eggtooth, i did hear about maxwell's piece. the fact that this keeps happening is getting to be exhausting. i don't know why it is that people can't respect the space, but it's unfortunate because a lot of people who would be excellent additions to the arts schedule won't show their work anymore because of the risk factor involved at this point. i am developping such an animoisty for the assholes who think that it is funny or acceptable to come in and mess with people's work. how can we be expected to put up great shows if we can't trust our visitors to respect what we are trying to get out? it's hard to find out who is responsible for this kind of thing, becuase half of the time i think that people who know those responsible and just don't want to be a rat. ugh.

thanks for saying that about the show though. i had a lot of fun putting it together.

jonathan, sorry to take out my frustrations on your blog.

Ben Grad said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ben Grad said...

I will check these out ASAP.

The "selling pieces of a sketch book" idea is great, though I feel like the pages are missing some marginalia. I suppose it's silly to hope that a sketchbook would also be used as a notebook.

eggtooth - I took your poster with me to Lenny's, left it on my seat for a minute, and when I came back one of the bartenders was pasting it to the door of the women's restroom. I would have asked for it back, but they had already put most of it in place. When I went back to Lenny's tonight, the poster was gone!

Anonymous said...

yo, fiff. word on the poster. i can always make another.
if any of you freaks has any banksy/ shephard bone in yr anatomy and wants to start stickin sht up in yr travels,lets casually toss phrases and pdf images/ideas and COME TOGETHER with(line/vector art) and we can slowly but surely eff with the atl landscape- along with the graffito boys/grls. kinda inna Haring/basquiat spirit i know, but's free and fun. so throw some ideas if you want and i can make and drop off stickers/posters somewherez.
wait. im not condoning vandalism, am i ? heck no. uuum,ahem, (clears throat/adjusts phantom tie)- "be sure to ask the property manager or leasee of said location you wish to "appropriate"(uh-pro-pree-8) before doing it." or...take it down after you took the picture of what you did. (thats what we had to do for some of the percent for arts work)
and as always,please respect government and public propery. they care about your art as much as you should care about it.
im tripping presumptuous here. hold up.
anyways.yeah. diggit. i can make stickers saying whatever you want.for nuthin. bee-otchez. im quite serious. but dont ask me to make sht Just For You,it has to be for some ambiguous artful thing..knowwhatimean?

miss darrow,
i want to go on record saying i'd personally feel comfortable leaving a show up at eyedrum. things have happened with the- really- what i consider minimal regularity i would anticipate at a place that has that much traffic and support and variety of folks. I'd like to say that the folks unwilling to show there for that reason are FAR fewer than those that would LOVE the opp. to show there. i just wanted to help put out the word for max, cuz it really hurt his feelings.i think this was prolly kind of an intimate job, i agree, somebody knows somebody- and in the spirit of ART, regardless of what you think of the art(or the artist), that action was lame. what i am saying is,in the end when its all added up, i dont think it should reflect on eyedrum. specifically,cuz thats the beauty of eyedrum,there is no specific's defined by us. lets keep it that way!
and yes jonathan,pardon the way tangential topic to the groovy fcking this the same person that did that political poster flyer of the girl with the megaphone and the prismatic spray behind her? i love how her eyes look in that one,all squinty and the raised's weird and its stuck in my mind.


Jonathan said...

eggtooth - thanks for the comments

"how do we perceive ourselves and to what extent does it spiral out? survive,expand,validate..for concept value or for commercial value?"

I would say Atlanta in general is fairly product driven - concepts taking a backseat to the quality of the framing and superiority of craft. Sales, over an ability to garner dialogue, are equated with success - but that is a blanket statement and often untrue.
Complaining about Atlanta is a waste of time, more action is needed and less words. I think Atlanta perceives itself as an underdog in comparison to artscenes in other larger cities, and much like a self fulfilling prophecy, until that attitude changes cities outside of the south will agree.
Only artists in Atlanta will be capable of creating a buzz about, and momentum within, the artscene here. But I feel strongly that is already happening.

And feel free to tangentasize all over the comment section (as long as its relevant to art anyway). This blog was started as a forum for conversation - I'm way bored with talking to myself.

Jonathan said...


I agree, it would have been interesting to see some scribbles of thought in the margins although I enjoy the mystery surrounding these works - viewing the show and trying to piece together an identity of the drawer - text may have hindered this?

Jonathan said...

Miss D-

What happened to Maxwell's installation?

Susannah said...


Someone took one of Maxwell's cut-out figures off of his installation.

Anonymous said...

"The 'selling pieces of a sketch book' idea is great, though I feel like the pages are missing some marginalia."

Hmmm. I understand, but actually, this is the way I treat my sketchbook. I most often write notes, grocery lists, and plans on other pieces of paper.

"is this the same person that did that political poster flyer of the girl with the megaphone and the prismatic spray behind her?"


"Complaining about Atlanta is a waste of time, more action is needed and less words."


Jonathan said...

"Someone took one of Maxwell's cut-out figures off of his installation."

That's rediculous - it'll end up in a stall of the men's bathroom

Ben Grad said...

Joe -

"actually, this is the way I treat my sketchbook. I most often write notes, grocery lists, and plans on other pieces of paper."

Ha - yeah, as I was writing that, I thought to myself, "what sort of person writes grocery lists on their own art?"

Anonymous said...

Everything preceding what you tagged at the end,categorized as a potentially blanket statement, is something i too have felt and also felt the need to backpedal and qualify as, after making the bold observation, a blanket statement. jeez did that make sense?
it ties in with the confusion between critique and complaining. words vs. action. Talk is necessary to inform action.but when does it stop or do they coexist? it ccurs in certain people. (this is why many "activist parties" will complain of having many members but no real activists).
One could make the observation that critique is about the work. It is my belief that observing the context in which the work is received in is also critique.Itis specific to atlanta,this careful need.To spoonfeed or veil this idea, it can be delivered "as art" i have illustrated to much confusion and anger.
At one point, I felt the ideal would be,one, to see more conceptual shows and fewer group/pin up lah tee dah we like art shows. but yet another step would be to create art as discourse. to react to one another with art. that is the highest form of dialogue,of critique even. to take what another has done and recognize it as good and not only "write about it on yr blog", but make art about their would be forming unity. tell this artist you have done it when you do it. se if it freaks them out!That's something that really grabs you by yr actions,when yr at home or in yr studio doing what you do...are you alone? or part of a community? and how does that community see itself..and so on and so forth. I know we do our art for ourselves,dont get me wrong. But showing it-showing it in the city has other implications.
i tried to consolidate all of this with a concept so conceptual it wasnt tangible or capable of being validated in any traditional form of some sort- and ..well, it didnt really work. not yet anyways. but thats me about me, the curious thing im wanting to work on is actually really getting really fucking excited about what others are doing.


Anonymous said...

uuum..i thought they were at least amusing observations anyways...
jonathan, i read one of yr things wrong..i thought you said max's piece DID turn up in the bathroom, instead you'd said "it will" as in "it'll"
and that doesnt make sense
i remeber dative case being annoying in german class,but you have a time machine? if so? cani go in a ride in it to 1987?

Mike Germon said...

Yep. And yes those drawings are great. Everyone should go see them while they are still up.