Saturday, September 23, 2023


“If at first you don’t succeed, failure may be your style.”

-Quentin Crisp, The Naked Civil Servant

I mean, failure is really a big part of life, don’t you think? We celebrate our successes, in part because they are inherently joyful and worth celebrating, but also, when we are really honest, do we not celebrate them because they are rare relative to their more negative kin? Maybe we don’t fail on a daily basis, at least not in the big ways, but life is full to the brim with setbacks, large and small. And you know what? That’s OK. If you’ve heard it once, you’ve heard it 1,000 times (more!). Failure is how we learn and grow. Nothing is gained from a life lived free of friction. Nothing.

Sara Garden Armstrong chatted with us about her show, Layered Scapes, which ran from February 11 to March 11 as the final exhibition of the ONWARD series presented by Steffany Martz. One thing to note about the works is that they are not exactly paintings. Armstrong uses banana fiber and acrylic, staining and pouring on the fibers, letting them dry – which yields different colors every time, peeling off some and putting fibers back in. She achieves what she refers to as “ghost layers” to create each work. To hear more, listen to the complete interview.

Kathy Osborn spoke to us about Posturing, her recent two-person show at Susan Eley Fine Art which exhibited her works on paper mounted on board. For the work, she takes about 75 to 100 photos of a set-up doll house and selects one as the reference for the painting. The scenes then depict the interior of the dollhouse with usually a few “people” standing a little bit apart (showing that they aren’t getting along) while out the window are scenes that are difficult to make out. To learn more about this interesting practice, listen to the complete interview.

A few words to keep in your pocket

Go on, fail.

Interviews are available on iTunes as podcasts, and for Android, please click here. All weekly essay pieces in a shareable format are here. The full archive of interviews is here.

Books to Read

What are you reading? Add your titles to our reading list here. When we spoke to Kathy Osborn, she had just started Made in America by Bill Bryson.


In their own words: “The Hopper Prize is a grant-making institution and digital archiving platform offering a series of individual artist grants on a bi-annual basis totaling $22,000.00 USD.
We provide unrestricted cash grants in the amount of $3,500 and $1,000 to artists around the globe.

For more information and to apply, visit the website. International deadline is May 16.

Brainard Carey is an author, artist and educator. He is the director of Praxis for Aesthetics. He has written six books for artists, most recently Making it in the Art World.

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  1. Would you consider including the coming week’s schedule in your weekly email and here? I may be the only irregular FB bisitor here, but I’d appreciate it as I plan my week. Tx


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