Shameless self-promotion

Steven Specht here...
If anyone is planning on being in the greater Harrisburg/Hershey area between now and August first, I would encourage you to visit The Black Gryphon restaurant in Elizabethtown, PA. The owner and chef is Anthony Morgan - a former student and good friend of mine. He specializes in fresh food procured from local farmers. He also is an avid arts supporter - featuring a different artist every quarter. He allows artists to sell their displayed works with no commission (a rarity!). From now until August 1st, my collage work is featured. In the back dining room he is featuring my "older" watercolor works (now mostly in private collections). Enjoy!

Meeting up with Melissa McCobb Hubbell

Don't you hate it when you go somewhere, and a LOT of cool stuff happens, and then you get home and want to blog about it and it's just TOO MUCH! That's where I am at today. How and where do I start!
I was gone the past week visiting my family on Long Island. During my stay, I met up with Melissa McCobb Hubbell, of AEZine and Erraticus zine fame, and we rekindled our old friendship and also attended the FLUXUS event at Printed Matter on Friday, April 16th. I want to give some details on all of this and I am thinking this will end up being a couple of blog posts!

Melissa McCobb Hubbell....I met Melissa maybe 10 years ago thru the Art Erratica list on Yahoo. She was the list owner and creator. There were a lot of people in that group that were interesting and offbeat and I knew instantly upon joining this group that I had found a new home. Melissa's work spoke to me immediately and so did work of others'. One day Melissa posted about starting a zine. I was looking for a project to delve into and I also had special privileges that would come in handy for zine production such a free access to a color laser printer! Amy Peacock, an Art Erratica member hailing from Snohomish, WA also joined up and for a few years, the 3 of us produced AEZine. Amy's life got kinda hectic and we were all 3 of us breathing at the seams trying to print this zine and making no profit from it. We regrouped and renamed the zine. For a little while longer, Melissa and I did Erraticus Zine, and then finally I dropped out and I believe Melissa continued on for another year or maybe 2 by herself before closing it out. She also found a lack of activity on the Art Erratica list and she closed this list. It was the end of a long era.
I know our personal lives sometimes get gnarly, and our art obligations and interests sometimes have to take a back seat while we just plain old LIVE! And so we did.
It's been a few years since Melissa and I have collaborated on anything and we both went in opposing directions. She went on to work with Somerset Magazine, began to craft collage kits that she could sell to arty types, and we didn't lost contact, but we didn't make contact either. I went in some kind of fine arts tailspin, and did my best to remove anything related to "craft" from my work. I wanted to be taken seriously, and being that Somerset is a craft magazine I was quite biased and avoided that crowd and that audience. (It is interesting to note that now I am attempting to remove my self imposed moratorium against craft! I get silly notions sometimes that are detrimental to my personal growth.)
So life goes on. And now both of us are in an entirely different place. I have gotten divorced. Found my personal freedom and art voice. Started this very blog. Found a new love. Had a successful solo shows. Been published. Been in a movie.
And so did hers. She also was published in books, got involved with different groups of people, starting selling kits, and found her personal life also coming to a head. She's currently working towards splitting up with her husband and gaining living independence, looking towards creative ways to make money, and struggling to find a way thru this adventure we call life... It was time for us to meet up again.
And meet up we did. We met in NYC last Friday at Tinsel Trading Co. It was a cool place to meet. I had heard of it before thru none other than Somerset magazine.

Walls of trim tantalized me

This wall of vintage millinery was outstanding. I stood there gaping for quite awhile...

A cool display--I love black and white anything
It's a special thing to have an artist as a friend. I can't tell you how inspiring it is to hear about things that others are doing, or how nice it is to be able to talk to someone who actually understands your creative side. I really appreciate my friendship with Melissa, and I am glad that we could meet up again this past week. I am hoping to con her into collaborating with me again, on SOMETHING! I don't know what yet. That seems to still be percolating!
You can read Melissa's blog here. You can shop for her collage kits here.
Amy's gallery for Art Erratica is still here.
AEZ links still online on my website:
3Queens Productions
The head game


Mailart from Planet Susannia

How amazing is the gift of art?
I am super humbled over the mailart that I received from Planet Susannia. Maybe it's because I am from the most commercial country in the world and the idea of giving seems to be something of the past. I never expect to get gifts from someone that I don't know. I guess this is the premise of mailart. How awesome is that?

So one day a week ago, I got this really beautiful gift of art from someone across the pond who I probably may never meet. I was truly touched by this sweetness.
Inside a really cool decorated envelope were precious pieces of art, ATC, and a full plate of her special "The Planet of the Collagists 2009" mailart stamp set!

I am honored. What else can I do but reciprocate with an equally interesting package?
Thanks so much, Susanna.


Moles Not Molar: Predictions in Philadelphia, April 2, 2010

The Wooden Shoe bookstore in Philadelphia,PA

It was with great anticipation that I greeted this weekend at last. I had been working on animations of my collage work for the Predictions book for a steady month and a half. It had consumed all of my private time and even spilled over into some extra mental overtime. The project was ripe.

My sister (who took these pics for us...thanks sis!) was an astute observer to catch this wooden shoe on the shelf

It was a lousy night for traffic that night, with it being both Good Friday night, and also a most beautiful sunny and warm day for this time of the year. Lots of people were in town for the Easter holiday and the weather brought the populace out in droves.
I was nervous--of course--and the fact that we got stuck on the highway behind 2 accidents helped feed my mental anxiety. There was no need for stress, however, since the performance ended up starting at 8:00. We had plenty of time to set up.

Yours truly, glancing backwards...with (L-R) Jason and David Zuzga working the DVD player

I didn't think that the venue would be this informal. I was ready for anything, tho, and the first thing to be tackled was the hardware. There were some initial issues with the DVD player/projector combo. I felt sorry for David Zuzga, as his black and white illustrations were to be viewed in psychedelic purple! These technicalities did not deter from the performance. The show must go on.
It was funny to meet fellow NYer Cara Benson down in Philly! Finally, after a couple of years of correspondence and collaboration we had a chance to talk in person.

Vivacious, powerful, driven, focused, intelligent, inspiring...it was good to meet Cara at last!

The performance began with a reading and my animations were sprinkled in like little commercials between the readings. I apologize for not getting the names of the 2 individuals who read along with Cara--me bad blogger! This was an animated reading and I liked the drama of having 3 people reading the work. A subject as serious as our future environment was treated with respect by creative visionaries...I was glad to be involved.

Cara making her point!

Jason Zuzga, a PhD student and prolific writer/book contributor, shared various books that contained the common theme of life built around water, such as The Water Babies. I loved this segment, since I am studying childrens' lit privately. Now I have some new selections to consider.
David Zuzga, genetecist and also a book contributor, gave a most interesting talk about his gill hypothesis. I really enjoyed his speech and found myself feeling proud to be in company with such knowledgeable folks.
I was also lucky to have both my sister and father accompany me to the event. My sis came all the way from Boston and drove down with me...and my father lives in North Wales, outside of Philly, so he was on board, too. My only stress in this event involved the fact that the event took place in an anarchist bookstore, and my father is a staunch Catholic! I was worried he would cop an attitude or be offended, but instead he was supportive and attentive. I appreciate that so much!
All in all, it was quite the event! I was happy to be a part of it.

My supportive dad, Otto Ziemann, in attendance at the performance

___A place to find all kinds of information about collage.