The Unstated, The Expressed Intent, and The Driving Inspiration - 10 Questions with Writer Valarie Esguerra
Valarie Esguerra is an accomplished writer, educator, and creative consultant who is native to Jacksonville. She grew up writing, directing, and producing plays for her church, having felt that the available productions were not entirely reflective of her community. Esguerra continued to cultivate her talent for getting to the heart of the matter through her involvement with the local community theatre circuit. She participated in Atlantic Beach Experimental Theatre's inaugural season 26 years ago and founder Carson Merry Baillie served as Esguerra's mentor.
Esguerra is one of four Jacksonville artists to participate in the pilot year of Lift Every Student, a collaborative arts integration program between Any Given Child Jacksonville, the Cultural Council of Greater Jacksonville, and Duval County Public Schools. Esguerra and musician Lucy Chen and visual artists Sarah Crooks Flaire and Erin Kendrick are working as teaching artists in residence in Duval County's newly appointed arts integration schools during the 2017-18 academic year. The program was funded with the support of PNC through their Arts Alive grant program and private donor and sculptor David Engdahl.
Every year the Florida Museum of Natural History in Gainesville hosts an event called Collectors Day. The day is designed to bring together collectors and provide them with the opportunity to exhibit and discuss their collections with others. This year was the 39th year that the museum has organized and hosted the event.
"Collecting pens or spatulas isn’t much different than collecting fossils or plant specimens. Having a collection allows your scientific mind to analyze a lot of very similar objects, and you begin to see even subtle similarities and differences.
Training your scientific mind to collect, analyze, catalog, and preserve is at the root of where many of our own scientists began. Looking closely, and asking questions. And we think that’s a wonderful thing to celebrate!"
Perfection is a Tired Story - 10 Questions with Writer Hurley Winkler and Visual Artist Aysha Miskin, Creators of Nickname Zine
A zine is most commonly a small-circulation, self-published work that is made using an analog process of cutting out original or appropriated texts and images and then arranging them on a page using tape and paste. Issues are then typically produced using a photocopier, which often results in a grainy, raw publication. Because zines traditionally have low production costs, writers and illustrators are free to take risks and create whatever it is they wish to see in the world.
Zines are the product of either a single person or a collective group. There are a number of zine makers in Jacksonville, including writer Hurley Winkler and visual artist Aysha Miskin who collaboratively create Nickname. Through the zine, Winkler's words are accompanied by Miskin's illustrations to create an independent publication that combats life's woes with humor. Within its pages, readers will find poems, illustrations, letters, journal entries, and collages.
The Short Box is Jacksonville's weekly comic book and pop culture podcast. Badr, one of the podcast's co-creators and hosts, invited me to be a guest on this week's episode. We discussed Big Picture: Creative Discourse Through Film and Literature, the Cultural Council's role in the community, and the importance of diversity, inclusion, and representation in the arts. Listen to episode 189 HERE.
Writer Hurley Winkler conducted an interview with me in December. This interview was used to write an article for EU Jacksonville. It is featured in January's issue and online. Click HERE to learn more about me and the work I do at the Cultural Council of Greater Jacksonville.
All New Trends and Ideas are Born in the Cultural Underground - 10 Questions with Noli Novak, Senior Hedcut Illustrator for the Wall Street Journal
Visual artist Noli Novak has illustrated hedcuts since 1987 when she first began her career as a Staff Illustrator at the Wall Street Journal. The term hedcut comes from a newsroom abbreviation for "headline cut." They are hand-drawn, pen and ink illustrations. The technique resembles old style engravings and it gives the Journal its iconic look.
Novak recently celebrated 30 years at the Journal. Between her daily assignments and commissioned jobs, she has amassed a portfolio of work that includes tens-of-thousands of hedcuts that have been featured in international publications, corporate brochures, advertising, product and website illustration, and social media avatars. Her client roster includes Jim Beam, Nike, MTV Networks, and Infiniti, just to name a few.
Originally from Croatia, Novak began her career as an artist in New York City. There she met her now husband, Serigrapher George Cornwell, in 1986 and the two bonded over a shared passion for the visual arts and music. Soon after, they formed the band Gluegun, which featured Novak as vocalist, Cornwell on guitar, Jeff Sćios on bass, and Paddy Mike on drums. The group released their first album, Itch, in 1993 on Snob Hill Records. In 1996, they released the B-sides to Itch as a self-released 7" record.
An article I penned for Folio Weekly recently posted to their blog. The article is a recap of Gabe Darling's EP release show. You can read it HERE.
Being Suspended Somewhere Between Cultures - 10 Questions with Multi Discipline Artist and Model Elena Øhlander
Elena Øhlander was born in Minnesota but was raised in Florida. She is a Jacksonville based model and artist who explores several mediums, including photography, illustration, and painting. Øhlander's work will be on exhibit in 1st Things 1st, which opens on Friday, January 12 at the Karpeles Manuscript Library Museum in Springfield. This group show features artwork by 30 different First Coast artists and serves as a commentary on the freedoms outlined within the United States of America's First Amendment. Øhlander will also be one of four artists included in the upcoming exhibition Sum + Substance, which opens at The Space Gallery on Friday, February 16. Her work will be featured alongside artists Christie Chandler, Dustin Harewood, and Hiromi Moneyhun.
In connection with the Sum + Substance, Arts Evolution will host a ticketed event on Thursday, February 15 and invites individuals interested in starting or growing their personal and corporate art collections to meet with the artists during an intimately curated experience. The evening will feature artist discussions and a presentation on contemporary art led by Curator and Art Advisor Aaron Levi Garvey. A selection of boutique wines and culinary delectables will be paired with the work of each artist to more fully engage the audience's senses. To maintain intimacy, capacity will be limited to 50 attendees.
I redesigned Phase Eight Theater Company's website. Check it out and learn more about what the regional theater company has in store for Northeast Florida throughout its 2018 season. VISIT SITE.
Noli Novak is the senior staff illustrator for the Wall Street Journal. She has worked for the Journal since 1987 and her hedcut designs help give the publication its iconic look. Her client list also includes international companies such as Nike, Jim Beam, MTV Networks, and Nutro Pet Foods. As an artist, her skills are utilized to effectively assist clients with corporate identity and commercial branding.
I just finished building a new site for Novak, which can be seen HERE.