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Samantha French

Samantha French, who sells her delicately detailed oil paintings and prints on Etsy,  graduated from the Minneapolis College of Art and Design in 2005. Her paintings show a strong connection to her Minnesota lifestyle and memories. Her canvases are startlingly realistic – seemingly a collage between childhood photographs and fictional details. She is a full time painter and keeps a studio in NYC.

Samantha French, Refresh: 16x20" Archival Print - Signed

Refresh: 16x20" Archival Print - Signed

“My current body of work is focused on swimmers underwater and above. Using vague yet consuming memories from my childhood summers spent immersed in the tepid lakes of northern Minnesota, I attempt to recreate the quiet tranquility of water and nature; of days spent sinking and floating, still and peaceful. These paintings are a link to my home and continual search for the feeling of the sun on my face and warm summer days at the lake. At the same time, I am drawn to an idealistic time before my own, where swim caps and wool swimsuits were commonplace. This combination of memory, observation and photography (old and new) has allowed me to preserve the transitory qualities of water and remembrance.”

Samantha French, Slow breathing: 16x20" Archival Print - Signed

Slow breathing: 16×20″ Archival Print – Signed

Samantha French, Dark Waters, 16x20" Archival Print - Signed

Dark Waters: 16x20" Archival Print - Signed

Remember when summers meant the glistening of sun against cool water and the slow drying of chlorine on your skin? Can you recall the hazy memory of arid heat usurped by a quick and cool relief of a dive into a pool? Oh to be young and carefree in the summertime! 

Inspired by Samantha French

1 // 2 // 3 (waterproof) // 4 // 5 // 6 // 7 

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Curious Curator George

A curator is one who manages or oversees such  as the administrative director of a museum collection or a library. One can be a curator of other place as well, such as a home! a shop! the storage closet at work! Wherever your jurisdiction and little kingdom of creativity might be, the best way to spruce up an empty space is by decorating naked walls.

No matter how keen your eye might be, buying original art as a gift for someone else can be perplexing business. Giving art can be one of the most unique and personal items that elucidates knowledge of one’s aesthetics, desires, decor and overall lifestyle. Because art comes in a variety of media, from a bevy of different artists, on a variety of surfaces – canvas, paper, masonite, wood – it also runs the spectrum of pricing! Art can be affordable! So, surveying my own friends as test subjects, I give you a buying guide for categories much more specific than just MOM, DAD, BOSS, HUSBAND, WIFE, et. al.

UGallery X TheWalkup Coupon Code

Because I also love my followers so much UGallery and I have teamed up to give you 15% off any item, that’s right 15% off just for readers of The Walkup! Use the coupon code: thewalkup15 anytime between now and December 21. Spread the word to spread the cheer!

Test Subject #1 – Danielle Long King – Program Manager, Public Programs at Lower Manhattan Cultural Council. Danielle speaks for all of your theater-going, performance art visiting, foodie, non-fiction reading, NPR-listening friends. She is intelligent and quirky yet tinged with a southern charm leftover from her New Orleans childhood – this might also explain her uncharacteristic obsession with the New Orleans Saints.  Have a friend like that? Get them this:

In Motion x The Walkup

In Motion by Savina Gost, photography on paper. Available in several sizes at UGallery HERE.

Test Subject #2 – Mike Ballaban – Reporter at Mergermarket, Financial Times Group. Mike is a Brooklyn based political and finance junkie. He loves old-timey things like banjos, nautical terms, gimlets and steam engines. He also loves a good deli sandwich with brisket, pastrami or corned beef. He even has his own irreverent news blog HERE. Have a friend like that? Get them this:

Around The Bend by JOHN HUERTA JR.

Around the Bend by John Huerta Jr., oil painting on canvas board. Note: painted on location in Midway Utah by the Provo River. Original painting available at UGallery HERE.

Test Subject #3 – Nora Bugescu – Associate Marketing Manager at Barnes & Noble.com. Nora is an effortlessly fashionable and well-traveled LA to NYC transplant. She favors indie-rock listening but also digs a good classic rock vinyl. She is the queen of inane internet trends, Game of Thrones humor and anything featured on BuzzFeed. Have a friend like that? Get them this:

Cold by Meredith O'Neal x The Walkup

Cold by Meredith O’Neal, oil painting on stretched canvas. Original painting available at UGallery HERE.

Test Subject #4 – Max Stettner – Senior Development Coordinator at Birthright Israel Foundation. Max dresses so sharply that you could hurt your eyes looking at his peacoat. He also has impeccably groomed sideburns and facial hair. He listens to stellar remixes, little-known DJ’s and club music. Above all, his first passion is basketball (playing, watching, all forms). Have a friend like that? Get them this:
Listen to Me by Philip Mckay
Listen to Me by Philip Mckay. Available in several sizes at UGallery HERE.
Test Subject #5 – Adam Heller – Explosive Ordnance Disposal Team Leader, US Army. Adam is currently stationed in Germany. He loves The Shins, Belle & Sebastian,  Deathcab for Cutie, Mumford & Sons and The Decemberists. He also has an amazing ability to remember facts from Douglad Coupland novels. He knows cars, computers and  DSLR photography. He will come to your next LAN party. Have a friend like that? Get them this:
The Standard Hotel by ADAM GARELICK
The Standard Hotel, 2011 by Adam Garelick, photography on paper. Available in several sizes at UGallery HERE.

Happy Holiday shopping and don’t forget to use the special coupon code – thewalkup15 – to receive a whopping 15% off ANYTHING on the UGallery website!
(which happens to be where all the images above can be purchased)
Cover your naked walls! Support a community of independent artists.
Give the gift of artwork. 
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The Affordable Art Fair

Shaking up the dusty model of art as an elite pastime, the Affordable Art Fair showcases new artists, galleries, and programming! Yesterday I was even treated to a Robert Blackburn printmaking station and workshop, free local beers from Heartland Brewery, cocktails by St. Germain, and knit wall installations (Renee Prisble, Orange Jelly, 2012, sweaters, polyfill, zip ties). Many wonderfully dressed individuals also descended onto 7 West 34th Street, 11th Floor and their sartorial whimsies were just as enjoyable as the art hanging.  The fair attempts to introduce the young or newbie collector with a series of tips from not-so-stuffy community. Some of these include:

  • Speak up! Don’t be afraid to ask questions! Exhibitors are happy to talk and this is a great way to get firsthand knowledge about the work and/or artist. When you are considering an artwork, ask about the artist, where they are from, how long they have been with the gallery, if their work is included in any major collections, or if the artist has won any public art prizes.
  • Budget! Budget! Budget! Know what you are willing to (and what you can) spend and stick to it!   If the piece that has caught your eye is out of your budget, ask if there are any other works by the same artist especially in a different medium. Original prints, such as screen prints and etchings, are a great entry-level option as they can be lower in price than a painting.
  • Look again-take your time-and follow your heart! Take some time out to have a drink or a snack  and think through your choices.
  • Come ready! Take time to think about what will work best in your space.  Do you need a large or small piece, something vertical or horizontal, will the work be exposed to a lot of sun, what colors will work best, who will be seeing the work (are you putting it in a bedroom or living room)?
  • And, most importantly HAVE FUN!!! ART IS FUN!! 
Oh hello! That’s me, rocking UGallery tote swag. 

UGallery.com, one of the many exhibitors, is a funky tech start-up based in San Francisco that works in both original art and more affordable prints (via their Paperwork moniker). The gallery was nice enough to invite me (and a ‘plus’ +1) to the Private Preview. Because I am a modern woman, my plus one does not always strictly mean my boyfriend. Yesterday, my plus one was my wonderful friend Rishi. Rishi and I went to undergrad together where we both fell in love with Edward Said’s Orientalism and a shared sociology (AND American Studies AND International Affairs) professor, Melani McAllister. We have both relocated from Washington, DC to New York, NY. OK, rambling aside, Rishi was the perfect choice because we both enjoy free alcohol and the power of creation (art)! I knew he was the right choice when I realized that he hand needlepointed the belt he chose to wear to the event.

Clockwise from Top Left: Rishi rocking an Affordable Art Fair Tote, A detail from ‘Daniel John Gadd’s, Creature Fear II, 2011, oil and string on panel’, snapshots from the open artist studio, Mike Chavez’s ROTFLMAO, screenprint and acrylic on canvas, AND a phenomenal fascinator and matching earring set on a fellow visitor. 

 This is Engine Gallery’s booth displaying work by Raymond Waters. That Haute Couture is made with filmstrips from Citizen Kane (there was also a dress done with porn stills).

Dinah Dufton’s Child’s Play series from Will’s Art Warehouse.

Andrew Boder, Wolf 1-6, Acrylic on Paper on Panel, 2012 from Blunt Collective.

Eric Mistretta, When You Were This Big, 2011, Candles and House Paint on Panel

A whole new meaning in “dog collars”.

Christian Dorey’s take on Andy Warhol, Cool Hand Luke, Hunter S. Thompson, etc. Originally from Vancouver, Christian Dorey has been living in Montréal since 2001. Inspired by pop art, expressionism movement, music and cinema, intuition and political engagement well describe his work. He is represented by Arteria.

Clockwise from Top Left: Laura Murray, Inheritance, from Visual Arts Gallery/SVA, A general snapshot of the fair, Artist Pure Evil’s signature, Clinton Demenez‘s small scene shadowboxes are futuristic and apocalyptic, Ivar Theorin, Untitled (Ram), 2012, paper over armature.

Do not feed the artwork! Cecile Plaisance’s Barbie 1, 2012 from Envie D’Art Galerie.

Photorealism! Daryl Zang, Bliss, 2011, 32 x 48.

A detail of Rebecca Cole’s Comics 01 which is made using recycled comics, etymology pins, and hand cut butterfly silhouettes.

Vanessa Smith, Floor, Acrylic on Canvas from the Mark Jason Gallery.

Rachel Denny, Gazelle, 17″ x 9″ x 11″ from Portland Fine Art.

Three fashionable Affordable Art Fair goers, including Jean and Valerie from the fashion blog that “sets a bad example for older women”, Idiosyncratic Fashionistas.

What piece of art would YOU purchase? Most of the items were under $1,000 for originals, with the most expensive pieces just under the $10,000 mark.