Total Pageviews

November 07, 2011

MTA, Arts for Transit Commission, The Process...

Vast, Coming to Fruition...

This has been a three-year process. Mostly the time frame is due to the renovations being done on the station, the art is secondary.

To the left is called a cartoon. The glass fabricator creates this to indicate where the glass will be cut. After my original designs were accepted by the MTA, I then lay them out to fit the panels that will be installed at the station. The Fabricator takes it from there. First a sample is made from a design I send to the fabricator, which had elements from the three pieces.

On the top is one of the completed panels. There are five panels to each of the three artworks, making 15 panels in total. It is faceted glass embedded in epoxy, making it a very tough material, perfect for people height art.

I am hoping to have a platform party sometime in the end of November, but the platform is still under constrution (but still open), so the North side is not installed as of yet. I found a great bar down the road to warm up in afterwards, hope it's not mid-January!

October 22, 2011

MTA Arts for Transit Commission!

105th Beach Station in the Rockaways, is being transformed. Callie Art is moving in, after a three-year planning period. The station attendant today seemed quite happy with the new art.

I still remember the day I got the call telling me that I won the commission. They had brought in about 15 artists to present our work for five stations in the Rockaways. I had heard about the open call for art from the Rockaway Artist Alliance, which I have been a member over the years. My love for the sea brought me out to Fort Tilden initially. My friend wanted a car sticker to park there, so agreed to bring me to meetings. I was living in the city at that time, so it was quite a hike, but well worth it.

Fort Tilden is a quiet place, with a lot going on. They have a small theatre, fields for rugby and baseball, a garden, an art gallery and studio space. I digress, this story is about the commission, and so I will get back on track here! So a bunch of us were chosen out of hundreds of entries and we brought in design boards with our station concepts and the process was explained to us. Artists were chosen by neighborhood boards and the MTA. My work reflected the ocean and the creatures residing there. So I guess it was a good fit! It meant so much to me to taken on such a serious level as an artist. My day job manager has been trying to convince me that "IT" is my profession, that art was a hobby. I am trying very hard to prove her wrong. Many famous artists supported themselves and families for years by being insurance agents, accountants and other everyday professions until they made it, or died. I hope to support myself as an artist for at least a few years before leaving this world.

Back to the commission. After being given your station address and a huge contract to abide by, you have to choose a fabricator. I choose one that had done another station that I was impressed with. The MTA also decides the material in which your art will be created in for the station. Mine was to be in faceted-glass and epoxy; I had never worked with glass before. My fabricator told me that my artwork translated very well into this medium. I am, of course, thrilled.

So three final designs are sent to the fabricator who then translates them into "cartoons". He sends the life size cartoons to us (the MTA and me) for approval. We mark them up and send them back. Then I make the big trip, down to Baton Rouge to look at glass samples. Part of your payment from the MTA is used for this trip. I meet Erskin, who is a lovely and talented man, and then his wife, who is entertaining as all heck! I see where the work is to be created, tell him that I want glass with impurities in it. I want to imagine seaweed, eggs, and seawater in the glass. The piece is titled Vast, and it contains three panels, Egg Masses, Jellyfish, and Creature. I am not very good with titles. I am not afraid of words, but would much rather paint then write.

That said, here I am writing a blog that is way too long by now. Have I still got your attention? If so, I shall continue. So Erskin creates the panels, but this is all done only with the OK from the MTA about each step taken. Three years later the station is done with it's renovation, the thing that makes this all happen in the first place, and the panels are ready for shipping. They arrive while I am on vacation. It is not until three weeks later that I finally get out to visit the install. Two out of the three panels are up. I am thrilled and finally get to do my photo shoot!

OK, it all comes down to my love of photography. In this instance I got to be part of the creation in what I was shooting. The panels are brilliantly vibrant and the light coming through is amazing. I am so excited that they turned out so well. When you give up total control of a creation, you never are quite sure what you are going to get. This was a great ending to a three-year venture in the realm of artist collaboration, working with the MTA and having people believe in my art so much that it will be there for the next 100 years, hopefully.

Next up, planning their coming out party. I found the perfect pub for everyone to gather at after seeing the work. So I am good to go! Thank you for listening to my journey. Callie

September 02, 2011

Leaving your comfort zone!

Roger Manning, 1987, photo by Callie Hirsch

Get out of your comfort zone! Give up that which is cozy and warm. Take a chance on something you would love to do, but have been too afraid to try.

How can we learn new things if we do not put ourselves out there? I just finished reading Patti Smith’s book, titled “Just Kids”. It was about her starting out her life in NYC with the photographer Robert Mapplethorpe by her side. I read this book as slow as I possibly could, loving it the whole way through. We all need to feel not so all alone, hearing her story made me realize that everyone has the same fears, and we all have the means for survival.

I went to the places she spoke of, but so many years later. I came to New York City to attend college in 1983; she came to get an education from living life in the city. My night life consisted of Danceateria, the Limelight, and the Palladium. In 1985 the Palladium was converted into a nightclub by Steve Rubell and Ian Schrager of Studio 54 fame. My friend P. worked as a graphic designer for them, her office was in the basement. We used to go there at night, seeing Steve in the Michael Todd room in the back where Basquiat painted the wall behind the bar. Keith Haring painted the backdrop on the stage, and Kenny Scharf decorated the basement walkway to the bathrooms infur and neon. I was lucky enough to see Andy Warhol in person, judging some drag talent show there. They held the MTV awards there one year and I was standing on the balcony with Tina Turner while Grace Jones was on stage. It blew me away to be so close to so many people I respected and admired.

Today it is a residence hall for New York University, which is where I happen to work. Life can be funny that way, time certainly changes things. It makes you aware of the need to appreciate things in the moment.

August 09, 2011

Make your own artist residency.

Creating your own artist residency is necessary at times. It is not always easy to get into one, or take off the month or two required to attend, so why not create your own? We are artists, what we do is create, right? My manager denied me time off for a two month residency in Finland, so to keep my sanity I turned a trip to Mexico into a artist residency of my own.

With five friends along I had to carve out time for myself in which to paint. Inspired by an immense amount of wildlife and awed by the small village in walking distance, I had little trouble being creative. Staying out of the sun was my incentive to seek out a perfect shady spot to set up my studio.

You can view the work on my website: then just click on Trocones, Mexico 2011. It was a wonderful mix of play and work, and such a grand adventure. The architecture of the cabanas was such that whole walls were missing, no doors or locks. The shower had a door to the back yard, while the views from the bed were that of the sea. Nighttime skies were filled with dramatic lightening storms. It felt safe enough, but still, we were in Mexico and who hasn't heard the stories of kidnap for ransom murders? Not much sleep was attained, but the days were relaxing and the nights full of humorous story telling. Off the beaten path, saving money by vacationing in a hot spot during the summer, and finding good travel companions equals an experience outside the realm of normalcy. The day job was forgotten, dreams of becoming an artist full-time were entertained, and taking the city out of the equation was wonderful. A highly recommend getting away any way you can. Run...

June 21, 2011

In Memory of Cheryl B.

Diagnosed with Stage 2b Hodgkin’s lymphoma in November 2010...

Cheryl was a writer, a poet, but I might have first known her as a co-worker at NYU. She worked at the bookstore, I fixed the phones there. Turns out we both hung around with the same band, The Maul Girls. Hanging out turned into into volunteering with the monthly event around the Village called Bra Bar (The brain child of Jane Friedman, who was manager to Patti Smith back in the day). Jane was our mentor, she introduced us to the generation of performers before us, artists like Judy Nylon, Penny Arcade and Brenda Bergman and the Bodacious Ta Ta's. Bra Bar was home to the next generation of performance artists, broke and trying to survive in NYC in the 90's.

Cheryl was sexy, super intelligent and loved surrounding herself with artistic types. She demonstrated a wonderful sense of professionalism in everything she tackled. She was super sensitive, extremely caring, and deep down a really good person. She tackled battles in her lifetime, she was not fearful of change. Instead she wrote about them, and once on paper, was able to share many common themes others wrestled with as well. Her writing gave her strength to deal with her life, and in turn, empowered others.

Cheryl had cancer at a very tender age, she was just really starting to have her dreams realized and come to fruition. She was invited to take part in international performances, wrote a book, and started blogging about her life with cancer. = WTF Cancer Diaries, where she told stories about her illness, the way it weighed down on her, how it affected those loved ones surrounding her. Her honesty is painful, she showed such bravery and was not afraid to share her fears, desires, loves. She was well loved and will be greatly missed... ~ To view her work WTF Cancer Diaries
Cheryl B. ~ a writer, performance poet and literary series producer in NYC.

Contributing Writer/Editor at GO Magazine
Cheryl co-curated Sideshow: The Queer Literary Carnival
The Maul Girls! "Chunky Black Shoes" video

After shooting this video at CBGB's they showed up to my Master's Thesis art show at NYU, still in make-up. Good times....

May 26, 2011

Collaboration of Artists

Performing at ABC NoRio, singer-songwriter, Brenda Kahn, took part in a tribute to the celebration of the artist space. She performed her latest song, Salome, which she had just finished writing that night. The next day we spent several hours video taping the new song to put up on you-tube. It was taped at Callie Art Studio, and after numerous takes were entertained, the final video ended up very similiar to the one we started with. Sometimes a project works in a circular motion.

This blog is devoted to the importance of collaboration. It is challenging to work with others, but well worth the efforts. It takes you in directions outside of your comfort zone. As an artist you expand your knowledge base of what you are capable of doing. Several times I have worked this way in my career as an artist, and although not always fruitful in an obvious way, it takes you places.... ~ to see photos and video clips

April 24, 2011

Group show, opening in May in NYC!

National Association of Women Artists, Inc.
122nd Annual Exhibition

Closes May 31, 2011

* All Welcome!

Sylvia Wald and Po Kim Gallery

417 Lafayette Street 4th Floor
New York City (below Astor Place)


Callie Hirsch

Unrestricted Passion, 2011

Acrylic on stretched canvas

An exciting group show with over 230 pieces being shown. It is vital to be part of a artist collective to create connections, see how others are surviving as an artist, and to get feedback on the direction your artwork is taking. I belong to two such NYC based groups, NAWA and The Pen and Brush Club. Both are geared toward women artists. In a man's world a woman needs to find a place where her voice can be heard, or in this case, her art to be seen!

The Annual Exhibition is from May 3rd - May 31st, 2011, at the Sylvia Wald and Po Kim Gallery,
NYC. On a sad note, Sylvia Wald passed on earlier this year. She was a respected and brilliant artist.

With over 230 members exhibited there, it was a well attended opening reception. The show is worth exploring to see the experiences of these women and how it unfolds in their art. Art is visual story telling, and these women have an enormous amount to share.

March 20, 2011

The Home Design Show at Pier 94

The HomeDesign show in NYC this weekend was very impressive. I had never been before and was quite taken by how many artists were present, showing their art, and trying to get the attention of designers. A few of my fav's were James Kenndy and Jedeiah Morfit, shown below.

Jedediah Morfit
James Kennedy
They started a new venture this year, "the artist project", showing 130 artists which they put in a unique area above the ground floor. I spoke to one of the artists about what it took to get in, how much it cost, and what he hoped to get out of the show. It cost a lot of money for an artist, for a four day show. He was hoping to get noticed by design professionals. His collection of photographed, then painted flowers, would look great in any hotel lobby, large, colorful and glossy.

The show was fun, except that, like any fancy show with the best in everything, you wanted to make numerous purchases at outrageous prices. I stayed focused on observing presentation by artists, and what worked best. Surrounded by creativity and great talent, I wondered if I could ever partake in such a venue. It would consist of four days of continuous selling of yourself. Some artists are not cut out to sell their own work, but until you get yourself a sales team, this is one way to do it.

March 18, 2011

Callie Art ~ Wallet Designs...

I have been wanting to break into textile design for some time. I spent hours each evening playing in photoshop trying to reformulate my paintings into designs for clothing, notebook covers and cards. My first attempt at breaking into the business was puzzle makers. I did hear back from one company, athough they were impressed by my work, it did not suite there needs. I decided to work on product itself, see how one of a kinds go. Above is a sample of my wallet paintings.

Sale options are: I can post them on (a craft persons on-line flea market of sorts), or sell through a local store in Brooklyn that specializes in "one-of-a-kind items", but would have to pay a 50% commission vs handling the sales myself. I think the benefit of selling through a store is that you can build a following and really gauge how your work is received. But by selling on-line you reach a much larger audience, and keep the full selling price minus shipping and tax. The answer is, try both and see which one works! Callie

March 05, 2011

A.I.R Gallery 9th Biennial Exhibition

What a wonderful reception! The show is pretty visually exciting. You can see pictures from the reception on my website:

show dates: March 2 - March 27, 2011

Three paintings from my Tree Series have been chosen to be included in the show.

Curated by Alexandra Schwartz, MoMA

at: AIR Gallery / 111 Front Street, 228 / Brooklyn, NY 11201 / 212-255-6651 /

January 23, 2011

AIR Gallery, DUMBO, Brooklyn!

Reception: Thurs. March 3, 2011 / 6 - 8:30pm

Artist in Residence / A.I.R. Gallery
111 Front Street, 228
Brooklyn, NY 11201

The gallery is in Brooklyn's DUMBO. (Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass)
The New York Water Taxi company runs a water ferry from the Fulton Slip at Fulton Landing. New York City Subwaystations are located at York Street (F train) and High Street – Brooklyn Bridge (A C trains). A convenient staircase connects the Brooklyn Bridge walkway to Washington Street, one of DUMBO's main streets.

January 15, 2011

Art Scams...Artists Beware!

The past few days have been a whirlwind of what I thought was going to be a great art sale. It turned out to be a scam. Some sweet person e-mails you saying they love your work, picked two paintings they really want to purchase, inquirers about your inspiration for the artwork, and then arranges to purchase them from you. What tipped me off was the over-payment in the check, it should have been for $ 1,500, instead a check for $ 4,500 fell out of my Fed Ex envelope. My first thought - money laundering.

I searched on-line for any information, the buyer's name came up with nothing, but when I put in the address she was moving to, the scam was revealed in another artist's blog, with the exact verbiage used to lure me in. The artist had posted it as a warning. I am going to do the same here in hopes that other artists search out such information before falling into this deception.

She started out by saying that she was pregnant and at her twin sister's wedding in London... she wanted to purchase two paintings from me, and was rushing me because she was moving from NJ to South Africa and needed to arrange with her shippers to get my artwork for the move:

"Good to hear back from you. Yes, I will like to proceed with the purchase of both works. I think they are lovely works and I hope to give them a good home.

I am presently away in London for my twin sister's wedding even though it comes at a time when I was preparing for a big move and also expecting a baby, but it means so much to her. I should be back in few days.

Meanwhile, I will like you to forward your mailing address and phone number so I can inform my husband still shuttling between our home in New Jersey and Jo'burg, SA on where to forward the payment. He has just been transfer to head of the IT section of their head Office in Jo'burg.

I can also forward your contact info to the local cartage company that will be moving all our house decors so they can get in touch with you to arrange shipping details. They can arrange FedEx pick up of the artworks from your studio.

I will look forward to hearing from you so I can know how best to proceed. Cheers." Same e-mail as I got, but from another blogger's site!

then mine:

"From: Debby Barnes
Sent: Thu, January 13, 2011
To: Callie

Subject: Payment Sent..

Hi Callie,

Hope this message finds you well. Thanks so much for your patient regarding
the transaction. It has been a very difficult time with alot of things on my plate.

Anyway, I will like to inform you that the payment was sent to you by my
husband yesterday via FedEx ( tracking No 794311416237 ) and he was advise
that you will receive it today so try and be on the look out for it.

I will like you to have both our addresses, you can add it to your mailing
list. I will like to hear about your future works and art shows. Our address
in the states is...

743 Passaic Ave
Clifton, NJ 07012

While our new address in SA is....

12 Dennis Street
Nelson Mandela SQUARE,
4005 JB, South Africa.

Meanwhile, I forwarded your contact info to the moving agency that will be
handling the shipment of all our house decors and they promise to get in
touch with you. Try and make shipping arrangement with them and
keep me updated with details.

I will look forward to hearing from you soon as you receive this email so I
can be sure we are on the same page. Thanks for your patient.

Best Regards, Debby.

PS...Try and acknowledge this email asap."

This is the final stage, after over-payment is acknowledged:

"Good to hear you have received payment for the paintings. Thanks for your
update. I am very excited and can't wait to have them on my wall. I hope to
give them a very good home and enjoy the pieces for years.

Regarding the payment, my husband overpayed you because he didn't have full
details of the transaction since I was sick when he sent it.

Therefore, I would like you to get the ball rolling, I will like you to go
ahead and deposit the payment, as soon as it clears, you can then remove the
asking price for the two paintings and forward the difference back to him.

Meanwhile, I was able to get in touch with the movers and i was informed
they are presently on shipping tour and will like to come for the pick up as
soon as possible. Try and make shipping arrangement with them and keep me
posted with updates. Thanks.

Best Regards,
Debby Barnes

PS...I will like you to acknowledge this email as soon as possible."

The over-payment made me think of money laundering. Turns out that the check would have just bounced (totally fake from Marvel Comics, looked like an official paycheck), and then she would have tried to have rushed me into returning the rest of the money by Western Union, another artist stated. She would have walked off with my artwork and my money had I not thought to search on the address in South Africa and found the other artist's blog on this same scam.

Looking back there were a lot of signs that should have tipped me off, but the way she flattered me, the thought of an art sale and the rush she put on it made me move forward without thinking about possible scams.

Artists be wary! Use paypal or Western Union for sales.

January 04, 2011

Traveling Artist

Seeing art in foreign countries is intriguing as well as inspirational. The streets of Berlin, Madrid, London, are all filled with the most wonderful public art.

I am just back from a wonderful week in Madrid, and would enjoy nothing more then to share all the fun things I have experienced. But nothing can replace actually going abroad and feeling these things first hand. The different cultures, money and tastes of exotic foods is unbeatable.

Coming home I am all the more inspired to create my vision of these experiences. And share I will, but not in words....