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December 04, 2009

Seductive Surfaces

Seductive Surfaces

Callie Hirsch’s works on paper are succulent in nature, vibrant in colors and tell of richly hidden tales of naught. They create a sensation of lusting after a fruit in all its ripeness, nectar dripping in color, indeed tempting to touch. Found to be both alluring and intriguing, the viewer is meant to be inspired.

Since the early 1990’s, Hirsch has been primarily focused on creating sea life and has, in addition, created an extensive series of tree paintings which combine the earth and sea, the natural and the emotional, the harmonic and the dissonant, with a high degree of controlled randomness. Her intentions are purely amorphous in nature. No preliminary sketches or plans are made; the painting is created in a purely unconscious manner, made up of all that captivated the artist in her lifetime.

Hirsch is deeply devoted to the physical act of painting: that creative period when she focuses exclusively on the subtle interaction of brush, hand, paint, and paper. In planning and executing Seductive Surfaces, Hirsch first selects her palette and devises a color range in which to navigate through. She focuses intensely on mark making, depicting pathways and untold journeys of a wanderer. Her love of nature and plant life is then transcribed through the intricate web of dots encountered on each painting.

By allowing her mood, induced by music, to control the wanderings, each painting has a unique message and journey to it. The process also introduces a degree of chance and the unexpected into her works. Her musical influences include works of Tom Waits, Spoon, amongst a host of other funky tunes. When she was in her late teens, Hirsch would paint in her basement listening to such music as the soundtrack to Hair and Black Magic Woman by Santana, on a cassette player. Her surroundings consisted of taxidermy animals her uncle sent the family and found animals stored in formaldehyde jars.

The tradition of dot making in painting is indelibly linked to the Aboriginal artists of Australia. They used this technique to create story telling of their dreams, maps to find watering holes, and life stories. Callie is deeply thankful for exposure to their work as well as being influenced by such notable painters as Klee, Miro, Kidinsky, and the painter and architect, Hundertwasser. He was thought of as Austria's only hippie. Both admiring and wanting to take their ideas in a new direction, she uses this inspiration in following her own pathways and journeys.

Hirsch’s love of iridescence and working on such a deeply rich surface as black paper have taken her down new roads from her previous work in oil on canvas. She favors imperfect lines produced when painting free hand, rejects the use of rulers and tape, and has no studio assistants.

Born in North Carolina on an air force base in 1964, Hirsch graduated from Parsons School of Design for photography and received her MA from New York University, while working there full-time in the Telecommunications department. She lives and works in New York City.

November 21, 2009

Visit to Glass Fabricator!

MTA Arts for Transit Panel Production

My trip to visit to Baton Rouge!

I headed off to Baton Rouge to begin my adventure in picking out glass colors for my MTA Arts for Transit panels, and meet my fabricator, Erskin Mitchell.

Erskin’s glass shop was located in the garden district of Baton Rouge. I had chosen him as my fabricator because of the truly fantastical work he did on another MTA artists work, Jung Hyang Kim, in the same medium, faceted glass. A one-inch glass, the whole panel is fused together using epoxy. I will have three large panels at the station with the ocean as the backdrop.

Erskin greeted me at the door of his house in the garden district of Baton Rouge. It was not at all the warehouse I had been envisioning. I had googled him the night before to see if I could find a photo of him, and I did, it was a wonderful article about the piece he did for another MTA artist. He welcomed me into his art filled house and introduced me to his wife. She is a film producer and just recently returned from a two-month shoot, a film about American soldiers during WWII and their French wives. Later, when they took me out for a true Louisiana dinner, she told me how the wives were stationed at camps named after cigarettes. At these camps they watched movies which was suppose to help them in understanding and become adjusted to American culture. The film then follows three of these women’s lives as they move to America with their new husbands.

Erskin’s wife also works at a rape crisis center, is a very powerful advocate against political corruption in New Orleans, and the couple takes in stray animals and children who need much love and care. This couple was such the dynamic duo! To Erskin’s calm and quiet nature, his wife was jolting with electrical output, having gone through all three of her jobs, one after another in the past week. Oh, but the stories…the animal stories were my favorites. About the pekingese they took in, whose eyes fall out.

Back to the glass studio. Erskin had my “cartoons” laid out on the table, these are life size drawings of the panels in black and white. I put out my colored images of the panels and we set about finding color schemes that would work. I was most interested in glass with imperfections, streaks going through that would resemble the ocean and the life teaming through it! I found a lot of really wonderful pieces in his collection, having told him beforehand that my interest lay there. The glass companies that make these pieces put them off as cast offs and are gotten for much less then their perfectly colored counterparts.

I felt like he understood the direction I wanted to take with the color, creating depth, using the darker colors to recede, light greens and blues along the surface to show the sunlight on the water. Then we dove into the colors to be used for the jellyfish, creature and egg masses. I left feeling that I was in wonderful hands and am excited to see how he brings my vision to life!

October 23, 2009

My Berlin Adventure...

20 years earlier, the Berlin wall was brought down, today the city is a wonderful place to explore and learn of its history (my great grandparents were German citizens). Wandering the streets, you come across public art everywhere! They are very into their graffiti artists, whole sides or backs of buildings can be found with art ranging from self expression to the political. The DZ Bank, by The Brandenburg Gate, has a wonderful Frank Gehry design, which can be seen from the lobby. All this can be seen on my website:

You can purchase a weeklong transit card at the airport and then start by taking a bus from the airport to the city. They have many choices for public transport, as well as being a wonderful walking city! Everyday we mapped out a different area to visit and did a walking tour of the sights to be seen. In between the sites, we discovered interesting places to eat and experience as well. East Berlin still has enough older buildings to give you the feel of what went down during the time of the wall being up. Two rather long sections of the wall still stand, one is being painted on from artists around the world, and the other is left, as it was when the people started chipping through it in 1989. We were also told about some cold war towers that still stood in the woods of Teufelsberg.

Hiking to an abandoned Cold War listening station was one of the scarier things we ventured to do. A friend of ours said it was not to be missed, and gave us detailed instructions on what train to take, and then how to hike there. She did not tell us about sneaking in.... It is situated in the Grunewald forest and built from rubble after WWII. In 1972, the hill was "naturalized" and 1 million trees were planted around the site, making it almost invisible until you are actually upon it. The US National Security Agency (NSA) built this huge listening station, which includes five domes and office buildings, now all in a state of crumble. Buried underneath it is a Nazi-military-technical college designed by Albert Speer in the 1940s, which was destroyed by the Allies. What scared me most was that it had three fences around it with only two openings cut out, and the sound of crashing bottles told me something about who inhabited the towers at the moment. We did not venture in, had we; we would have experienced the incredible panorama of the city. Apparently, you can climb up one tower and the sounds and views are just incredible. Artists also have begun trying to create a future for the towers, making it a place of creative conversations. A flashlight is also suggested, since their are no windows inside. A staircase on the outside brings you to the second floor, and then you need to use the inside, windowless staircase to go to the top. The sound experience from the dome is said to be incredible. Even the tiniest sounds are echoed throughout the dome. I am not sure if you need to have the musicians with you, or you can hear them from afar...

It certainly was a trip of adventure and intrigue with many art sightings thrown in! I am sure that my work will be inspired by this fascinating journey. Callie

July 05, 2009

I-Park Artist Enclave 2009

Wow, this is the most wonderful artist residency!  They take such great care of the artists and I met such creative people from around the world.  The environmental artists make the 300 acre walk chock full of wonder and amazement.  I was given my own studio to create in and it had a gas fireplace and a/c unit.  All creature comforts were afforded us, as well as the creatures themselves filling the night air with a full chorus of calls.  Close to the Long Island Sound and to a nearby waterfall, this place was magical in so many aspects.  My favorite part was the artists I met.  Sharing a house, meals and our art was a really beautiful experience.

The work I created there can be viewed on my website:
I ended up selling two of my new creations, one to a fellow artist from the Netherlands, the other to a "friend of I-Park".  I can not speak enough about what a simply fantastic time I had during my two week stay.  I will truly miss my new friends!  

April 24, 2009

Get noticed!

Association of Women Artists, Invited Member, Inducted 2007

I always belong to one artist group or another. It is a way of meeting like-minded people, and getting into shows consistently. Association of Women Artists is a wonderful organization, if you are a woman. They have four or five shows a year, at different locations, with a juried application process. Every town probably has a group similar to this. The need for showing art is everywhere, so it makes sense that their is a venue to support this need. I also belong to the Rockaway Artist Alliance based in Fort Tilden, Queens. It is right on the water, on Government property, and is a fun get away for any Brooklynite. It is through this group that I heard of the open call from the MTA, Arts for Transit commission. I also belong to New York University's Administrative Management Council's art committee. We are in our 11th year of showing and sharing, the artwork of NYU administrators.

You can not underestimate the value of networking and should pursue opportunities that give your work public exposure, because being seen is half the battle. Selling is a whole other story....

April 01, 2009

Explore the world of

Selling on line is a mystery. Buyers have to trust that you will deliver the goods, and that the goods will be top quality. If you are one who desires to purchase one of a kind, quite unique artwork at an affordable price point, then this is the place for you.

Displayed in this store are many things of interest. The objects that most catch my eye is jewlery made out of wool. This seems to be a new fad, also made out of wool are cuddely little animals. I put in the word octopus and find everything from wall decals to earings made from molds of real octopi legs. Slightly disturbing, all extremely facinating. It is a great way to buy unique items from all over the world, with set pricing. Happy searching! callie

March 15, 2009

Tough times, easy measures..

I am told it is a tough time to make money on artwork, ok, then it stands to reason that it is not a good time to spend money on advertising my art either.  So how do I get my work out there to be seen?  Find free publicity to showcase your artwork!   

I have had several people find work on my site and ask to use an image on a book and magazine covers.  It provides great exposure, at no cost to anyone.  I also contribute to a monthly zine called  I enjoy waiting on the new theme annoucement each month and being part of a collective.  During the winter holidays I sent out postcards with my work on it to a list of magazine art editors.  From that I received interest from a new magazine, LX magazine. They are doing an article about my work to be published in May!  I found the magazine in my gift bag from an art auction fund raiser I donated a painting to.  To sum up, reach out and offer the world your work, and enjoy the wonderful responses!

A writer friend who I met at a artist colony in Costa Rica, just came out with a book about the "In -N- Out Burger" food chain.  It is all about the history as well as the family behind the first burger joint to invent the drive-thru and two way speaker box.  This friend needed publicity shots to be taken for her book tour.  I did two photo shoots in barter for her networking abilities.  She also a writer for Business Week and included me in an article on artist survival techniques.  Barter, barter, barter, is my mantra.

February 08, 2009

Art Licensing, how to begin...

Wow, the idea of "renting out my images", for a year or so and never losing the original, certainly is an enticing venture worth trying. What I have going for me is that my iridescent acrylic on black etch paper work is really unique. To think that no one in the world works quite the way makes me want to share more of it, not hide it away in my flat files at home....

At the moment I have work for sale in the flat files at Metaphor Contemporary Art, and Pierogi 2000 Gallery, both in Brooklyn. But to be able to mass produce and sell my favorite images at affordable prices would be ideal.

I got the book "Licensing Art 101" on Amazon and am starting to take in all the options of how to get my work out there. Recently I went to a gift show in NYC and watched as people tried to sell their shiny new products to buyers from all over the world. It was wonderful to see how sellers created different ways to package, capture and entice buyers to their booths. It is a very costly endeavor for artists to undertake on their own, $3,000 to get a share in a booth, if you can find a company to let you in on their turf. I can not even begin to tell you how much work goes into these booths and how exhausting selling for three days straight can be, but many do it and find it very worthwhile.

Which brings me back to the idea of licensing my art. My day job pretty much keeps me strapped to a desk five days a week, eight hours a day, so little time is left to create art, much less sell it. So licensing seems a good alternative to the cold sales approach. First I need to find my niche of product, should it be notebook covers, greeting cards, or textiles? The options are actually endless, like my images could be used on puzzles, or made into wall hangings to name just a few options out there. So the next step is to find a company that sells "like work", where my visuals would fit in. Then approach that company with 10-12 samples so that they understand your body of work. If they are interested, you should have a body of work that is about 24 pieces for them to choose from.

Now it is contract time, and I can not even begin to advise you except - hire a "intellectual property lawyer" to assist you. Your contract should include a royalty fee, many companies try to just pay a fee upfront to use your work for a certain period of time. You could lose out on some big money if they do a second and third run of your work and your contracted was a one time fee to use your work for a period of time. Be smart, hire a professional in helping you to understand how this all works.

I will end here, for this is where I am about to begin. Happy painting! Callie

January 06, 2009

2009 is here to stay...

A new year, yay!  It has been a good start so far.  I was interviewed for LX magazine,   
It is a new magazine out of South Dakota.  Funny because they appear to be pretty ultra hip, says this New Yorker.  Their first issue was in my Glaad auction goodie bag. Impressed with the quality of the magazine, I sent most everyone on staff my holiday postcard. They all looked at my site and loved it enough to put me in their next issue.  

If you are in Brooklyn, NY, please stop by Metaphor Contemporary Arts on Atlantic Ave before Jan. 29th.  I have three pieces up in the group show, mine are behind the reception desk.  They make that wall pop....

Now I am waiting on Sweetriot candy tins to come out with three of my paintings on them. They will be for sale at such stores as Balducci's, Fairway, Zabars, Whole Foods, and Gourmet Garage.   Can not wait to see how they turn out.

And lastly, but just as important, is that my oil painting "Fertility Goddess" is on the cover of a new Anthology out.   

(M)othering the Nation Constructing and Resisting Natl. Allegories through the Maternal Body.  
I know you can purchase it on, but it is like the price of a college text book.  Women from around the world submitted papers.  I look forward to getting my copy and become enlightened.

I hope everyone else is enjoying the thrills of starting over again in the new year.  Be good to yourself and others will follow.  (what the ...?)