Many years ago – 2009, 2010, 2012 to be more precise – my pictures couldn’t get a ribbon at the Altamont Fair. It was emotionally rough.
At the same time, my artworks were appearing at the New York State Fair’s photography competition with regularity.
It’s certainly a reversal now. While my Syracuse submissions have been returned three of the last four years (including the last two), my Altamont pictures have fared reasonably well. Last year, one of my Dream Windows – Dream Window 17: Friday Night Fish Fry – claimed a blue ribbon. Over at the sheep and goat barn, I’ve scored blue ribbons with pictures like The Jumbuck, Rutland the Goat and We Are Not Chickens. And I’ve also scored some silks in the Fine Art barn with pictures like Aerochrome Falls, The Lenten Meal and Star Trails of Brown Tract Pond. So the success is there, for sure.
I apologize for keeping this Dream Window from you for so long. I’m really, really sorry. I actually built this thing about twelve months ago, but I wanted to save showing it off in the blog until today.
And when you read this post, you will understand why I employed an information embargo on this Dream Window construct.
In August 2016, when I visited the Altamont Fair, I toured the various barns and buildings, looking for ideas for future creative exploits. And in the Arts and Crafts building, I found a competition that truly intrigued me.
It was a competition called “Recycle Your Ribbons.” The idea was to take your prize-winning silks and turn them into a new artwork – whether it was a purse or a pillow or a hand-crafted rosette.
And I’m thinking to myself … oh hell to the no, I’m not ruining my competition ribbons. Every one of my award-winning silks is special to me. I earned those stripes.
Yet I was still captivated by the whole concept of “Recycle Your Ribbons.”
I just heard from Historic Albany Foundation that my three submitted artworks have been accepted into the annual art auction and charity event, BUILT: Albany’s Architecture Through Artists’ Eyes. And this year, in partnership with the Breathing Lights art project, BUILT will feature artwork and imagery inspired by the architecture of Albany, as well as of Troy and Schenectady.
Of the three pieces I submitted to BUILT, two of them are of Capital District architectural structures that no longer exist today; and the third submission is of a Capital District architectural structure that might fall down as we speak. All three of my artworks, as well as the art of over a hundred different Capital Region artisans, are available for bid and/or purchase on November 5, 2016, from 7:00 to 10:00 p.m. at the New York State Museum.
And my three entries are:
I took this picture of the Schenectady appliance store / apartment building in 2015. It was already scheduled for demolition, and a few days after I captured this image, the landowners razed the building. I’m glad that BUILT expanded their “call for art” to include images taken in Schenectady, which allows me to submit this piece to the show.
THE PEW OF HOLY INNOCENTS
The only one of the three submissions in which the original structure still exists today, this was essentially one of the few times I mustered enough courage to sneak into a condemned building and take some pictures inside. I don’t dare go in the building today; one good sneeze and the while structure will collapse into rubble.
I’ve submitted several Dream Windows to BUILT, and I’m pleased that my electrified tribute to Bob & Ron’s Fish Fry sign, Dream Window 17: Friday Night Fish Fry, will have a chance to be sold at BUILT. This is way cool.
So yeah, I’m looking forward to seeing the great art that my fellow Capital District artists have created for BUILT, and I’m also hoping that these three pieces can find new homes.
For the third year in a row, I’ve submitted my Saratoga-themed artworks to a special charity auction and art show. The Saratoga Springs Preservation Society’s “TRASK Art Show and Sale” takes place on September 29 at the Canfield Casino, with the proceeds from each item sold earmarked for the preservation of Saratoga Springs’ buildings and history.
The artworks submitted must embody Saratoga Springs’ spirit and history, and must show something about the beauty and imagery of Saratoga County.
Last year, all three of my donated pieces found new homes. I’m hoping that this year, three more of my artworks will hang on new walls.
DREAM WINDOW 17: AN ADIRONDACK REFLECTION
Oh man, this was a fun Dream Window to build. It was my first attempt to use mirrored glass and combine it with water-transfer decals of my photographs. The Dream Window captures the reflective beauty of the Adirondacks, and I’m seriously hoping this finds a new home at the Trask. This artwork was previously displayed at the 2016 Times Union Home Expo Art Show.
Yes, it’s the thoroughbred track. Yes, I used infrared film. Yes, I entered this at the New York State Fair this year. And yes, I’m hoping that it wins – or at least places – or at least shows. 😀
Yep, it’s my image-changing lenticular art piece, one of only two Chuck Miller artworks to earn acceptance into the Capital District Photo Regionals. This piece – taken over a period of twelve months in Saratoga County – has a chance to find a new home with someone who appreciates magic-motion artwork.
The art show will take place this Thursday, September 29, at the Canfield Casino in Congress Park, Saratoga Springs. It’s definitely a show worth attending, and I know you’ll have a good time.
And you might see an artwork or six that you just can’t leave the show without buying.
Two of my Dream Windows, #17 and #18 to be precise, made it to the walls of the Albany Center Gallery satellite art show at the Times Union Home Expo. And the AAA batteries that I installed to power the red arow in the artwork of Dream Window 18: Friday Night Fish Fry ran out of juice.
Thankfully, I brought a spare pack of AAA batteries, and within minutes the sign was illuminated once more.
But was it too late? I knew that although this would be a location where people could purchase artwork, I also knew that it was a juried show, with a possible “Best in Show” awarded. Oh man, if those batteries were drained when the judge walked through…
What, you don’t think I worry about such things?
Anecdote. In 2011, I brought four pictures to the Altamont Fair for the art show. Mind you, this was during my “Altamont Curse” years, where I couldn’t get a ribbon close to any of my pieces. And as I brought in one of my artworks, Midnight at the Palace Theater, I noticed that the black lacquered wooden frame had a small nick in one corner. Maybe nobody would notice. But I could think of three who would – myself, God and the judge. And God’s not judging this show, but I have to treat the judge like God. Thankfully, I was able to find a Sharpie pen and, a few quick black scribbles later, even God wouldn’t have noticed the nick. You know … I still have the second place ribbon for that artwork. Yeah. I keep treasures like that.
But let’s get back to this weekend’s show. There were some absolutely amazing pieces in this show; and the Capital District’s artistic community never ceases to amaze in terms of creativity and vision.
By the way, if you get to the event this weekend, you must check out this show. And pay special attention to my friend Jennifer Jeffers’ two art pieces; she’s creating artwork with cyanotypes and photographs and I’m not even sure I’m describing it. Look for her “Yancy’s Dream” series. It’s amazing. Flat out.
And then, like a puff of smoke from Facebook’s Basilica, news came from the Albany Center Gallery.
Great day at the Times Union Home Expo. This year ACG focused on artists that reused, recycle, repurposed and reclaimed…
And there it is … one of the ten selected as the best of the show… bottom center… Dream Window 18: Friday Night Fish Fry!!
In the past four years, I’ve built nineteen Dream Windows. Several of them have sold privately; several others were donated for charitable auctions. Two of them were displayed at my 30th reunion at Hamilton College; one of my classmates bought a Dream Window, the College claimed the other for their art collection.
But now… after four years and nineteen constructs… Dream Window 18: Friday Night Fish Fry becomes my first-ever Dream Window to win an award in a juried competition.
Thirty-seven levels of wow.
And trust me, I’m humbled and awed by the amazing artworks in this show. There were at least twenty pieces that could have made the ten best list.
I guess the judge was okay with the batteries being drained on the Dream Window; I understood later that someone did explain that the arrow moves in an illuminated chase; so maybe that helped things out.
Oh, and one more thing.
Historic Albany Foundation hosted a little art show on Saturday, one where visitors could take salvaged materials and build their own art pieces. And right there… available for sale… was a nine-panel Queen Anne window. Don’t know where it came from. Don’t know which house it was salvaged from.
A few dollars later, that window is now on its way to becoming Dream Window 20: Whatever I Want It Call It or Want it To Be.
This feels amazing.
And somehow, among all this… I have a good feeling that there’s more to come for this little fish fry sign.
Maybe two more locations. Two more shows. Two more chances for this sign to shine.
Over the years, I’ve submitted my Dream Window art pieces in various competitions and charity events. Some of the pieces have sold to help raise money for animal rescue or for building restoration; for medical research or for other charitable functions.
And if you’d like to see two of the Dream Windows up close and personal…
Your chance is coming.
Dream Window 17: An Adirondack Reflection and Dream Window 18: Friday Night Fish Fry, two of my latest marriages of salvaged windows and imagination, will be on display at Albany Center Gallery’s “Re: Repurposed; Recycled; Reused; Reclaimed” show, as part of the Times Union Home Expo at the arena on February 19-21.
This is big for me. I’m extremely excited that, over the years, my Dream Window constructs have achieved as much love as they have. To take these old, forgotten windows and to turn them into new art… it’s a wonderful thing. It’s amazing, it feels absolutely fantastic. With these Dream Windows, I can pull the memories and imaginations out of the far reaches of my mind… and turn them into something tangible and tactile.
I am also looking forward to seeing the artworks of my fellow artists, including one artist in particular – Jennifer Jeffers. See, Jennifer Jeffers was a high school classmate of mine. Yep, she went to Street Academy High School, just like I did. And she’s been working with some amazing self-taught techniques for her art.
The gallery show runs from February 19-21 as part of the Times Union Home Expo.
With my latest Dream Window … man, look at this … I took an old window that contained half a diamond frame, replaced the old busted glass with new fresh mirror glass and a photo of the solitary tree atop the Helderberg Escarpment in Thacher Park.
Okay, I know you’re scratching your head about this. Something’s missing. Something’s not here. Where’s all the pre-construction dialogue? How come there aren’t any paragraphs about what it took to build this piece?
What gives? And why, in the name of William Randolph Hearst, did this window get named for a departed and withered TU blog whose authors treated me as if the world was better off if I didn’t exist in it?
Man, I gotta explain everything… okay.
In constructing this Dream Window, I realized that I’ve built enough of these little treasures that I didn’t need to have someone else cut the glass for me. Or install the glass. And especially considering that the center piece looks like a narrow home plate in a baseball stadium.
See, in past Dream Window constructs, I’ve talked about getting the glass cut to specific measurements by either Lowe’s or Hobby Lobby or someone else. I wasn’t comfortable enough to do it. I was afraid that I would either ruin the glass with an inaccurate cut, or slash my fingers with an inaccurate cut.
You know – like the first time you ride a bicycle. You fall down. You scrape something. But after a while, you understand your center of gravity and the gyroscopic nature of same. And your parents remove the training wheels from the back of the bike. And you’re off exploring in your brand new Schwinn or Huffy or whatever bike was your first.
And I think, as I’ve progressed on these Dream Window projects and other art projects, I’ve become more comfortable with cutting art glass and stained glass, to the point where I don’t have to schlep my pieces to someone else and ask them to do it.
Case in point – for the glass in Dream Window 19: On the Edge, I actually went to Lowe’s and bought – right off the racks – a big pane of glass. And just for good measure, I also bought a big pane of mirrored glass. A few cuts here and there, and installation was a breeze.
And the Thacher Park tree? Of course it looks great when you consider that I flipped the window 180° to get the better angle for the window itself.
I suppose that’s why I named the piece “On The Edge.” The tree is on the edge of the escarpment. And the creation process for this Dream Window brought me to the edge of my comfort zone, without completely tumbling over. It was an increase in confidence, in commitment, in determination. To never give up. To never settle for “just good enough.” To see a dream in your mind, and realize it as substance.
Plus, this is a functional Dream Window. You can use the mirrors to check yourself – not only as a grooming reflection, but also as a reflection on your own life. You are here in this moment. You have traveled a journey of miles and years, and the journey is not complete. But in that journey, you have taken a stand – like the tree on the cliff – and your existence in this world has been proven and is undisputed.
You are here. You are important. Let nobody tell you otherwise.