Category Archives: Magnet

Free Artist Residency for Progressive Social Change

Seeking a location for the  Free Artist Residency for Progressive Social Change.

I prepared an offer for the house in Hedley and posted it on FB yesterday, as I am wont to do. Someone asked me about a few things I hadn’t really considered – one of them being whether or not the house was on a flood plain. Kind of a weird idea (to me) considering how close it is to the mountains, but, lo and behold, there was an evacuation order pending in May that included “my” address! The river is right there, with a bridge over a narrow gully, but I guess with the spring run off and higher water levels everywhere, they anticipated it coming up and over the banks after which there isn’t much of a grade to prevent it from coming up towards town.

Also, there was an evacuation order pending due to the fires this past summer. It’s a bit scary right there because it’s a feeling of getting trapped if the road washes out or if there’s only the one road out if there’s fire.

Somewhat disappointing, but mostly relief that I didn’t make a mistake here. I’m glad Marcus took an interest and looked into it! Thanks! Thanks to Scott too, who, when I made the video from Hedley (above) and stated that one could build whatever they wanted on their property, he posted a comment that evidently, that’s not the case. I didn’t see the comment because I accidentally posted the video about 10 times and quickly deleted them, but Dave mentioned it. Thank you – and to everyone else taking an interest. Please chime in!

I learned so much during this whirlwind! I feel so much better equipped to follow through on future locations, whereas it was all daunting before.

I’m back to the drawing board in more ways than one. I haven’t painted for a week with all this going on. I gotta get back to work and I’ll keep looking for property. If I keep painting and try not to stress out over the for sale sign in front of my building, I’ll be adding to funds and have more choices. It’s a great feeling to know that I could have gone forward with that place and maybe I’ve energized or intrigued my FB community to take an interest. We’ll see! I don’t want to panic and take a serious misstep.

Overall, I feel more myself after becoming way too involved in my parents’ plights. I’ve created much needed distance there by putting my mind on a big project – where it should be! I actually got outta town and that was fantastic!

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IndieGogo campaign

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August 23rd I launched a 30-day IndieGogo crowdfunding campaign for $20K to go towards the outright purchase of a facility for the Free Artist Residency for Progressive Social Change where writers, painters and musicians will focus on projects that intend to change the world. The property will be bequeathed to a cultural activist group for use in perpetuity.

Accommodation for guest residents
Art studio
Rehearsal space (soundproof)
Writer’s cabin
Presentation area for workshops and collaboration

I was offering my paintings as $100 USD perks, encouraging my FB followers to buy directly from me to save the campaign fee. All the money from painting sales (almost $3000 USD) during the campaign go towards opening the Free Artist Residency.

While the campaign failed to inspire the donations (painting sales, basically) I’d hoped for, it did bring the project into the light of day. I came close to putting in an offer on a small miner’s house in an historic town 3.5 hours east of Vancouver, but, in the final analysis, it wasn’t quite right. I’ll continue to look for a place to set up. Have a look at what the campaign outlines – the video etc.

Testimonials

“Hey all, the incredibly cool and inspiring Jean Smith is finishing an indie go go campaign to fund an artist retreat AND if you buy a painting to support the fund YOU GET AN AMAZING PAINTING!!! She’s already sold 23 in the last 23 days. Below she explains the concept and what’s she’s been doing. Take a sec to look at her beautiful paintings at the link at the bottom of her pitch either way. They are very much worth viewing.” – Jenny Toomey

“Hey, I don’t know if you know this revolution that is Jean Smith from Mecca Normal, but she is raising funds to create an artist residency in the Northwest / British Columbia. Jean has more integrity than most of the free world. Take a moment and read what she has planned and support her huge effort. Seriously she is running the show, get on board.” – KH, music composer

“My comrade in sounds Jean Smith of Mecca Normal has a practical vision to establish a permanent Artist Residency for Progressive Social Change. $100 donors to this mission may select one of her amazing paintings as a bonus for contributing. Please learn more and contribute.” – Rich Jensen

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Videos

I made two new Mecca Normal videos today using my paintings. They’ll be linked to upcoming Normal History columns for Magnet Magazine.

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Video: paintings currently available

When you buy a $100 USD painting (11 x 14″) as a gift it can be a GIFT CERTIFICATE allowing the recipient to choose, or I can send the painting directly to the recipient.

  • GIFT WRAPPED
  • handmade CARD (by me) with your note inside
  • TRACKING NUMBER
  • $100 CAD INSURANCE
  • BUY NOW to be mailed early December

PAINTINGS CURRENTLY AVAILABLE  FaceBook and WordPress
Email me: meccanormal@hotmail.com to check availability
payment via PayPal $100 USD plus $10 USD shipping
TOTAL $110 USD

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FaceBook Memories

My FaceBook page memories says I painted “No Hat #90” on this day’s date last year. It’s one of many I’ve done from a photo of transgender model Andreja Pejic, who I first painted in May of 2016 with “No Hat #21”.

No Hat #90 800

“No Hat #90” (acrylic on canvas board 11 x 14”) September 6, 2016.
$100 USD plus shipping.

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Andreja Pejic

No Hat #21 800“No Hat #21″ (acrylic on canvas board, 11 x 14”) May 12, 2016. SOLD

No Hat #94 800

“No Hat #94″ (acrylic on canvas board, 11 x 14”) SOLD

No Hat #79 800

“No Hat #79″ (acrylic on canvas board, 11 x 14”) SOLD

I return periodically to work from the photo of Andreja for various reasons. It’s soothing and stabilizing to paint the familiar — and it’s a barometer of my technical evolution in the ongoing series. I may consciously apply newly honed skills to it, aware of higher levels of brain-eye-hand activity that doesn’t always mean a better painting in the end. It’s still mostly about knowing when to stop. Each painting has thousands of micro-expressions (in the mouth and eyes in particular) that are in constant motion until I find a point where they hold a pronounced amount of personhood and attitude. It seems to be about inventing a fully fledged character that has obligations to me (and to you) — and possibly beyond that in terms of social philosophies and a history yet to unfurl.

Andreja Pejic is not just a well-lit face with lovely bone structure. Her story of personal and public evolution — and her professional understanding of what her face reveals — inform how I paint. I’m not overly-interested in making paintings that look like her. Obviously, as a very vocal feminist, I’m not using sex to sell art. I’m not subjugating women, but I think about these things. I worry about these things. What if I wasn’t a known feminist? Would my paintings of women be suspect?

Because I’m not beholden to the subject, I am free to change eye and hair color which are often based on other colours in the work, but I admit I am wary of painting too many blue-eyed blondes and what people will think when I paint African Americans. It was a truly strange week in my mind when I painted “The Party” without yet knowing of the uproar surrounding Dana Schutz’s painting “Open Casket” at the Whitney Biennial. Internally, I evaluated my motives and felt uneasy about how my painting might be interpreted, but it also gave me cause to realize nobody actually cares what I’m doing in any big way because I’m not in the “Art World” — I’m just some random painter who perhaps thinks her work is more important than it actually is. Having a history of being regarded as important in music has not translated to importance in writing and painting (yet).

People who see my work more or less know (and hopefully trust) my intentions, but is that good? I don’t essentially want to rely on that understanding. Anyway, it was a weird week.

The Party 800

“The Party” (acrylic on canvas board, 11 x 14″) March 20, 2017.
$100 USD plus shipping.

While I’m painting, I’m physically advocating for a strong personality to evolve in spite of — and because of — how things are (in my life, in your life, in the world at large). Yet, there are paintings with unmasked vulnerability, sadness, pain too. And paintings that are all mask — whether its paint, make-up, a lack figurative clarity or part of a traditional costume (the Kabuki series… which are men wearing white make-up portraying women).

Kabuki #1 by Jean Smith

“Kabuki #1″ (acrylic on canvas board, 11 x 14”) March 1, 2016.
$100 USD at John Doe Records Hudson, NY.

In many ways painting is like playing music or writing for me. I allow myself to be influenced by excellence, to connect my work to history without being thwarted by all that can be known, I infuse work with idiosyncratic stances — some of which have been in place from the beginning, other facets of which are just turning up now.

That Mecca Normal and my great creative partnership with David Lester are running concurrently makes this a nearly collaborative endeavour. Dave’s encouragement and understanding of me as both an artist and a human fuel my resolve to work, building my confidence and tenacity. I admire his discipline (work on a graphic novel about Emma Goldman), motivation and generosity. When his book is published, we’ll likely do some Mecca Normal-based events that will also include what I’m doing with the painting project. As with much of or work, there will be over-lapping themes and exciting ways to collaborate.

from FB

Drawing by David Lester – Graphic Novelist for his graphic novel about Emma Goldman.

I must admit, it suits my personality to be able to show people my paintings as soon as their finished. It’s integral, of course, the overall project. Books and records, tours and events all take so much time to complete and set in motion. It’s a great luxury to have an audience for my work here on FaceBook.

Thank-you for paying attention and for buying my paintings. This is the most exciting time of my life, but it would not be so without all the other incredibly exciting things that have happened (that I thought were the most exciting times).

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Late July into August

It’s typical for me to switch things up near the end of the month when sales slow due to rent and bills. During this time I break away from painting faces and gravitate towards animals, land or seascapes, and now city streets.

This post is linked to Vol. 443 of Normal History (September 16, 2017) in Magnet Magazine.
Amidst the Waves 800
Amidst the Waves″ (after Ivan Aivazovsky) (11 x 14″ acrylic on canvas panel) July 30, 2017. SOLD

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Sandhill Cranes″ (11 x 14″ acrylic on canvas panel) July 31, 2017. SOLD

Amidst the Waves #2 800
Amidst the Waves #2″ (after Ivan Aivazovsky) (11 x 14″ acrylic on canvas panel) August 2, 2017. SOLD

Amidst the Waves #3 800
Amidst the Waves #3″ (after Ivan Aivazovsky) (11 x 14″ acrylic on canvas panel) August 2, 2017. SOLD

Amidst the Waves #4 800

Amidst the Waves #4″ (after Ivan Aivazovsky) (11 x 14″ acrylic on canvas panel) August 2, 2017. SOLD

Amidst the Waves #5 800
Amidst the Waves #5″ (after Ivan Aivazovsky) (11 x 14″ acrylic on canvas panel) August 6, 2017. $100 USD plus shipping.

Amidst the Waves #6 800
Amidst the Waves #6″ (after Ivan Aivazovsky) (11 x 14″ acrylic on canvas panel) August 6, 2017. $100 USD plus shipping.

Amidst the Waves #7 800
Amidst the Waves #7″ (after Ivan Aivazovsky) (11 x 14″ acrylic on canvas panel) August 6, 2017. $100 USD plus shipping.

Amidst the Waves #8 800
Amidst the Waves #8″ (after Ivan Aivazovsky) (11 x 14″ acrylic on canvas panel) August 6, 2017. $100 USD plus shipping.

Rain 800
“Rain” (11 x 14″ acrylic on canvas panel) August 7, 2017. $100 USD plus shipping.

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“Is that the one I want?”

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David Briker on deck (literally) waiting for Beth and Bob to make their final selection. Photo: Bob Hanham

No Hat #124 800

“No Hat #124” (acrylic on canvas panel, 11 x 14”) SOLD

 

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Girls Dominated the Landlines aka The Phone

No Hat 138 800

“No Hat #138″ (acrylic on canvas panel 11 x 14”) SOLD

 

The Phone 800

“Girls Dominated the Landlines aka The Phone” (acrylic on canvas panel 11 x 14″) SOLD

Both sold to Tom Anselmi, former singer in Slow.

 

 

 

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Girls Dominated the Landlines

The Phone 800

“The Phone” (11 x 14″ acrylic on canvas panel) is one of a handful of anomalies in my ongoing series of $100 USD paintings.

A recently created slide show of paintings currently available represents the two main themes in the series: “The Hat” and “No Hat”. Other anomalies include a handful of animals and a few landscapes.

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Discovering Utopia, 2010

20 Questions: Calvin Johnson of K Records, Verbicide Magazine, October, 2016

Verbicide: What song really hits you in the feels and makes you cry?

Calvin: “Malachi” by Mecca Normal.

One painting in the series “Discovering Utopia” (cover art for the Mecca Normal 7″) is still available.

The 7″ cover was included in an exhibit about Malachi Ritscher in the 2014 Whitney Biennial.

 

 

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“Malachi” 7″ on K Records


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“Discovering Utopia #3″ by Jean Smith (12 x 16” acrylic on canvas) 2010. SOLD

jean-smith-discovering-utopia-4-600

“Discovering Utopia #4″ by Jean Smith (12 x 16” acrylic on canvas) 2010. SOLD

jean-smith-discovering-utopia-5-600

“Discovering Utopia #5″ by Jean Smith (12 x 16” acrylic on canvas) 2010. SOLD

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“Discovering Utopia #6″ by Jean Smith (12 x 16” acrylic on canvas) 2010. $250 USD plus shipping.

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