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Saturday
Feb122011

Kate Melton

Kate captured this shot at Charlotte beach at Ontario Beach Park in Rochester.A good story. Great light. Soulful eyes.

Those are the simple, powerful building blocks of this Rochester photographer's work.

“Behind every person's eyes is a story to be told,” Kate says. “And it's my job to tell it.”

A photographer who emerged just as the Digital Age was first shaking the world of imaging, Kate has lived through all the change first hand—from her education at Syracuse University's Newhouse School, to a yearlong stint in Los Angeles, to the Messenger-Post Newspapers that serve suburban Rochester. And later at Kodak as an Information Center Digital Specialist.

 

This shot of the unmistakable Stonehenge is from Kate's fine art collection.A corporate downsizing eventually catapulted her into the world of full-time self-employment.

“At the time, the digital transformation was just really taking off,” she says.

Since then, Kate has embraced the revolution freelanced for the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle while continuing to build the commercial side of her profession.

She serves a client roster that includes ad agencies and direct relationships with companies.

“The key to commercial photography is in capturing the personal. Every product has a personality,” she says.

Erik Sveden of Sennett, NY, portrays Sheriff Enoch Puddiphatt during the 2007 Dickens Christmas celebration in Skaneateles, NY.“Every company has a culture. And every business person has a story to tell.”

While her photojournalism background has clearly served her well, Kate freely admits being uncomfortable as the subject of a photo herself. But she's found a way to use that insecurity to be a better photographer.

“In an effort to understand my subjects—to make them feel more at ease—I'll take self portraits every couple of years,” she says.

“It gives me a chance to experience what they experience, in terms of being in the spotlight. The exercise lets me feel all the feelings of vulnerability, insecurity, and in some cases, vanity.”

Hey, the camera doesn't lie.

 

KateSee more: www.katemelton.com, on Facebook and on LinkedIn

Say hi: kate@katemelton.com

 

 


Bobs Lake, Ontario, Canada.

Rochester artist Sarah Rutherford in the train yard near her studio.

 

Monday
Feb072011

Malcolm Moore

What do Edgar Allen Poe, Prince, Tom Waits, Kate Bush, Carl Jung, Bjork, David Bowie, Beowulf and Anne Rice have in common?

Reanimation.

That's the title of a new album by this singer, songwriter and drummer from Ontario, NY, whose musical career began Christmas Day, 1976.

Malcolm, as captured by Bill Zules.“I got a Mickey Mouse drum kit,” Malcolm says. “I subsequently took drum lessons and played along to records.”

But rest assured Reanimation is no Disney affair.

“It's a supernatural story of someone trapped in a nightmare, unable to wake up,” Malcolm says. The album's eight original compositions ultimately portray renewal, he adds.

One of his strongest sources of inspiration? The aforementioned Rice. Her creative style. Her fearlessness.

“I think that she has always had a heart for the underdog,” he says.

“Anne Rice inspires me artistically, spiritually, and emotionally. Reanimation is most definitely a spiritual journey, and I can't help but think of her, especially on a song like Why Are You Afraid Of Love?

Last year was a tumultuous one for the musician. In the face of personal loss, he poured himself into the album and set about learning how to live in the present.

“What started out as a sabbatical turned into a whole other journey with my own faith in the face of death,” he says.

This collaborative album, produced by Roman Klun on Innsbruck Records, features a mix of haunting harmonies, driving percussion, penetrating lyrics, and Malcolm's lead vocal, reminiscent of Jim Kerr in its warmth and depth.“It forced me to start living my life by recognizing that the length of our time on earth is unpredictable.”

Still, for all the analysis and clarity that informs his art, Malcolm says he won't entirely understand Reanimation until he has the benefit of some distance from it.

Perhaps because it takes time to ponder his own work. Or because it's just as important to him for his audience to find meaning in it, he says.

Whether for self reflection or feedback or both, he's left the door open to interpret his own work further.

“There's that whole school of cut-up technique,” he says. “From Burroughs' Naked Lunch to Bowie's Outside, Earthling to Beck, where words aren't comprehensible in the traditional sense, but somehow they speak to us.”

“I can tell you what these songs mean to me right now, but I've learned from experience that, over time, they'll eventually reveal much, much more,” Malcolm says. “As my life unfolds, new truths will be uncovered.”

Listen to him.

* * *

Reanimation is coming soon to Amazon.com, CD Baby, and iTunes. Malcolm is planning a few shows and a record release party for later in 2011. And he's already working on a sequel to Reanimation, titled Wraith, which he hopes to release in 2012.“Wraith will be a much darker album,” he says.

 

See more: www.malcolmmooremusic.com and on Facebook

Say hi: info@malcolmmooremusic.com and on Twitter

 



REANIMATION: All songs Copyright © 2011 Meow Say Tongue Music/BMI
Wednesday
Feb022011

Jessica Kanaley

"Feeling Good," one of Jessica's most recent sculptures, incorporates printed words into a cartoonish animal skull. Jessica created a screen from a fragment of typography found in a discarded self-help book to add a provocative non sequitur to this piece.If you were a patron of her work, you might mount one piece on your wall, then ponder its meaning as you sip your coffee from a mug Jessica made as well.

A ceramicist based in Middlesex, NY, where she works as an artist in residence at the Rochester Folk Art Guild, Jessica calls her work Old Soul Clay. And this old soul puts a lot of heart into two very different sides of her work: sculpture and pottery.

“I focus on the pursuit of both sculptural and functional ceramics,” Jessica says, adding that ceramics is a form of language for her. She's building her vocabulary by the day, too.

Jessica

On the sculptural side, her work speaks in vaguely familiar shapes from the natural world. Jessica often incorporates a variety of materials into the clay—from fragments of print to found objects to metal.

“My sculptures carry a satirical overtone,” she says, adding that she likes to play with themes of childhood bliss and lost innocence. For instance, her fondness for comics is a source of inspiration for her work.

“I approach clay with a highly stylized surface treatment and ornamentation,” she says.

“My more recent explorations have been in combining media. I use printmaking as a decorative element, sometimes making original stamps I design as a surface treatment. Other times, like in Feeling Good, I make a copy of text onto a screen, then I transfer it onto the surface.”

On the functional pottery side, Jessica's signature style blends earthy, primitive colors and textures with elegant patterns.On the functional side, Jessica has created a warm, inviting collection of pottery that includes cups, teapots and pitchers, and speaks to the basic needs met by folk art.

A Nazareth College grad with an art education degree, she established Old Soul Clay in the fall of 2009, and took up residence at the Folk Art Guild artists' community in May 2010.

“I was interested in participating in a residency or apprenticeship for many years,” Jessica says. “I saw a listing for the guild, realized how close it was to Rochester, and went for a visit during their open house. From there, I began working in pottery a couple of times a month and finally decided to move to the guild full time.”

This primitive dress sculpture is made from local pond clay. “One initiative that we have been pursuing at the guild is a more grassroots approach to pottery, using local clays,” Jessica says. “We have been experimenting with digging up clays from our pond and surrounding areas. The results are phenomenal.”Jessica makes her pottery and sculpture for the guild to sell at their collectives shows and gallery, open for spring and summer.

The deep roots of the ceramic tradition inspire her, Jessica says of working with clay. You can see that sense of history in both sides of her work.

The necessity for instruments. The thirst for beauty.

“This is an art form that has been around since humans began to make tools,” Jessica says.

An old soul indeed.

See more: www.oldsoulclay.com

Say hi: jessica.kanaley@me.com



Saturday
Jan082011

Matt DeTurck

Cover photo for City newspaper's "Best of 2009"Matt has a talent for pouring his passion and curiosity onto the page through the delicate filter of a camera lens.

And this is one curious dude.

“I feel like a little kid, just starting out,” says the 2007 RIT grad and photographer for Rochester's City newspaper.

“I'm constantly learning and trying new stuff,” he says. “I'm terrible at routines, so I feel like every day is different, and that helps keep me excited.”

Which explains the good fit with his eclectic job at City, where he works on a mix of editorial and advertising assignments, in addition to his role as staff photographer.

Browse his gallery on Flickr for a moment, and a pattern forms. Vibrant colors. Sharp details. Odd angles. Seductive dishes. And people who are madly alive.

What makes the magic happen in his camera?

Matt's storytelling covers a broad spectrum of Rochester culture. Raised in Honeoye Falls, N.Y., just south of the city, he sees an endless supply of subject matter in his native region, and he's happy to still call it home.

Matt, as photographed by Gerry Szymanski“It's large enough to hold hidden secrets even for natives,” Matt says. “That's been the best part of working at City: finding out about so much cool shit that I had no idea was in town.”

Another source of inspiration is music.

“My passion is movie scores.”

Among Matt's favorites? Hook by John Williams, Edward Scissorhands by Danny Elfman, Perfume: The Story of a Murderer by Tykwer/Klimek/Heil, and How to Train Your Dragon by John Powell, to name a few.

“I pretty much have scores playing all the time,” Matt says. “And not just from movies. TV and video games, too.”

A bartender tops off a cocktail at Rochester's Pier 45.It's no accident that his work has a cinematic quality. Matt's love of film shows in the composition and energy of his work—from bartenders to llamas to cheeseburgers. Everybody's a character study.

“I'm very easily swayed by stylish movies with a lot of craft behind them, and particularly very pointed use of color,” he says, mentioning Moulin Rouge!, Donnie Darko, and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind among his favorites.

And these days, when he's not taking pictures, he's working on a short film.

“I'm in the middle of production on a piece about the tragic life of condiments,” Matt says of a project in which he's teamed with his partner, Adam Lubitow, and friend Katie Kumler.

“Oh, by the way,” he adds. “We're trying to accomplish it with puppets.”

Two thumbs up.

 

 

See more: Matt's web site and Matt on Flickr

Say hi: matt.deturck@gmail.com, on Facebook and on Twitter

 

Below left: Monroe Diner, Monroe Avenue, Rochester.

Below right: Lilacs in Highland Park, Rochester.

 

Sunday
Jan022011

Cynthia Kolko

Her life as a writer has wound its way through a curious trellis of jobs.

Cynthia's written for Kodak. She's been published in periodicals as varied as How, Interactivity, and Progressive Railroading. She's been the Pittsford, N.Y., town blogger for the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle.

"Fruit of the Vine," by Cynthia Kolko, will be published this spring by Charles River Press.And now the twists and turns have followed a natural course: a first novel with a setting aptly inspired by Rochester's rural backyard. Coming this spring from Charles River Press, Fruit of the Vine is a Bildungsroman set in a wine country with obvious similarities to the Finger Lakes.

“I love the history of this region of New York,” says Cynthia, a Hamilton College grad. “And I'm enamored with the natural beauty of the Finger Lakes. Plus, genetics has long been an interest of mine. This book is an amalgamation of these three subjects.”

The novel tells the story of vineyard worker Jem, a man faced with a dilemma after he inherits his family's farm just as a developer has set his sights on it.

“I am drawn to stories with dark elements, a touch of grit, and surprises,” Cynthia says.

CynthiaThe story intertwines “beauty and ugliness, good and evil, present and past,” she says of the many dichotomies in her book.

“In the book, the language can be flowery, yet the dialogue is often raw, perhaps jarringly so,” she says.

“At its core, the book is about Nature versus Nurture,” she says, “and what we ourselves create with that raw material—the Fruit of the Vine, so to speak.”

As you might expect, Cynthia is fond of the Finger Lakes' selections of wines herself. Her favorite? The region's signature varietal, Riesling.

“Every one I’ve tasted has been fantastic in its own way, though I prefer the semi-dry type,” she says.

Rieslings aside, it looks like 2011 will be a very good year for this novelist.

Cynthia's already working on a second book, which will also be regionally set.

“This time, with a female protagonist,” she says.

* * *

Fruit of the Vine (ISBN: 1-936185-27-X) will be available in the Spring of 2011 from Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Fictionwise, as well as select retail locations. It can already be pre-ordered at www.bn.com.

 

See more: www.cynthiakolko.com

Say hi: cynthia@cynthiakolko.com, on Twitter and Facebook

 

Saturday
Dec042010

Jennifer Posey & Zahra Langford

With chocolate a perennial favorite for gift giving, the holidays are hectic for Hedonist. This year, Jennifer has created a special collection of truffles that include Champagne Pomegranate, Egg Nog, Fig, Ginger Molasses, and Orange Clove.Thyme-pepper-pistachio-chocolate truffle, anyone?

A fascination with flavor and a love of sensuality have fed a singular vision for this Rochester couple. And their dream has grown into a most decadent business: Handmade chocolate treats.

Every one, a work of art.

Jennifer and Zahra launched Hedonist Artisan Chocolates in 2007—Jennifer as its full-time chief crafter and Zahra as its part-time marketing whiz. Tucked down an alley in the South Wedge neighborhood, their cozy kitchen-lab serves as factory, headquarters and tasting room.

“When we moved to Rochester, we saw the opportunity to bring our interests together when we realized that the city lacked an artisan chocolate company,” Jennifer says.

Zahra, who works full time as an Interaction Designer for Xerox Corporation, says the pair had often dreamed of starting a small business.

Zahra, left, and Jennifer.“Jennifer has always had an interest in making food and experimenting with flavors,” Zahra says.

And experiment, she does—blending chocolate into truffles of Coconut Curry, Orange Chipotle, Raspberry Wasabi, and yes, Thyme Pepper Pistachio.

“Inspiration for our truffles and bark often comes from the savory foods we enjoy at home and dining out,” Jennifer says.

Much of her experience comes from being in the kitchen and playing with varied ingredients to see what will happen. But working part time for an artisan chocolatier in California in 1999 opened up a new world of techniques and flavors for Jennifer.

When she and Zahra decided to go into business, Jennifer formalized her chocolate education at Ecole Chocolat.

So. About the name Hedonist.

A few years back, as they prepared to launch, Jennifer and Zahra were struggling to come up with an identity that would capture their attitude and style. Around that time, in a phone conversation with her Aunt Carol, Zahra was describing her latest travel and food adventures with Jennifer, when everything suddenly clicked.

“Aunt Carol, whose lifestyle is quite different from ours, responded by affectionately referring to us as 'a couple of hedonists,'” Zahra says.

Chocolate-dipped orange peel.“It was perfect. A hedonist is someone whose life is devoted to the pursuit of sensual pleasures,” she says.

“We find our bliss in chocolate, and help others do the same.”

Amen and pass the wasabi.

 

See more: hedonistchocolates.com

Say hi: info@hedonistchocolates.com,

on Facebook and Twitter

 



Saturday
Nov202010

Laura Wilder

"Birenberg House," a painting in gouache.“It is the sweet, simple things of life that are the real ones after all.”

Those words of wisdom came from a different Laura Wilder, a century ago. Maiden name: Ingalls.

Today, a Rochester, NY, relative of the beloved Little House on the Prairie author has built her art and her life around a similar affinity for the simple—as a block printer, painter and graphic designer.

“People always ask if I’m related to Laura Ingalls Wilder,” she says. “I actually am, but more importantly, I want to do with my art what she did with her books: convey her humble, simple, down-to-earth values.”

LauraLike her famous ancestor, Laura didn't find her artistic voice right out of the gate.

Laura painted and designed this poster for the 2008 Lilac Festival at Rochester's Highland Park.“I didn’t fit into the scary avant-garde fine art thing at college. And I didn’t fit into the cheesy, soul-sucking commercial art thing afterward,” she says. “Then I had a midlife crisis, and embraced the philosophy and styles of the Arts and Crafts Movement.”

It was then that Laura learned printmaking and became a Roycroft Renaissance artisan. And she was finally off and running with her own work—and her own business.

A mother of seven, Laura finds inspiration in nature, light, and artists from earlier periods. Her style often echoes the WPA era of poster illustration.

Her patrons come from all over the country. While her work appeals to a cross section of buyers, most are Arts and Crafts enthusiasts, she says. They're folks who love Mission Style homes, and they typically find her work through American Bungalow magazine, at arts shows, or online. Her art is also for sale at several retailers across the U.S.

When you look at Laura's portfolio, you'll see a mix of commissioned work—executed based on requests for specific subject matter—as well as pieces that come directly from her heart. She used to do more commissioned art, but now, she says, she prefers personal projects.

Laura donated this piece, featuring Seneca Park Zoo polar bears, to Rochester PBS affiliate WXXI this year to support their fund-raising auction.“I got really burned out doing all commissioned work and almost no personal,” she says. “So I've cut way back on commissions, and now do only personal projects, or projects that I’m excited about. So now it’s all personal.”

“But it’s also all commercial, in that I have to earn a living from it,” Laura adds.

It doesn't get any simpler than that. 

 

See more: www.laurawilder.com

Say hi: laura@laurawilder.com

 

Sunday
Nov142010

Lucky Nahum

Passionate. Sexy. Free. Intense. Alive.

Lucky's textured palette of emotions is as sensual and vibrant as his line of apparel. His designs are an expression of his philosophy—and a way for his customers to say something about who they are, too.

A double-collar shirt from Lucky's "x te da me" collection.Take a look at his work and you'll see why. The Rochester, NY, fashion designer is a seasoned craftsman and merchant whose chosen canvas has been clothing for more than 30 years.

“I was born into it, my father was a Master Tailor and my mom a Master Seamstress,” he says of his parents, Quint and Angela Nahum, who emigrated from Libya with Lucky and his brother, Armando, in 1967.

Since he first opened a store in Rochester back in 1978, Lucky has grown into a full-fledged designer. He began to design and sell silk fabrics and ties to top men's stores around the world 16 years ago.

Today, his little fashion empire, Always Get Lucky, Inc., has evolved into collections of shirts, neckties and scarves. Designed in Rochester. Made in Italy. For real.

Lucky“'Made in Italy' is a misnomer known throughout the industry—that's extremely important,” he says. “That's why my labels don't say 'Made in Italy' but rather 'Really Really Made in Italy.'”

Lucky used to sell his collections to high-end boutiques around the globe. Today, he leans toward direct sales, selling his clothing—and pieces by designers such as Bill Lavin and Vivek Nagrani—through alwaysgetlucky.com.

“I continue to redesign the business model under which the fashion industry has worked for decades,” he says, explaining that the pressure for higher margins isn't worth the battle with retailers.

He prefers instead to reach people through outlets such as Facebook and Twitter.

Rochester model Michael Murphy strikes a pose in one of Lucky's fine shirts. Photo by Rome Celli.“Social networking is my main form of marketing,” he says. “I also have a following that I have built over the years and collections. Brands seek me out.”

One exception to his direct-sales model? You can find his pieces at Eye Candy Clothing, a boutique in Rochester's East End.

“My decision to have Eye Candy carry my work had everything to do with being part of this community. [Owner] Nadine Ball and I worked together on lower margins so that Rochester could, in the end, be part of something it had indirectly contributed to,” he says.

You might think fortune has smiled on a guy who has success sewn into every garment. But being Lucky has nothing to do with luck, he'll tell you.

“I have lived long enough to see luck exist, but I don't see it as a wise game-plan to wait for it,” he says.

“In the end, I believe in creating your own luck.”


See more:
www.alwaysgetLucky.com

Say hi: info@alwaysgetLucky.com and on Facebook




 

Sunday
Nov072010

Sharon Jeter

A necklace from Sharon's "Evening Tide" collection. She also offers commissioned work, in which a customer can work with her to design a piece that uniquely reflects them. Photo: Timothy J. Fuss.Many years before she was forging silver and gold into fine jewelry, Sharon was drawn to the woods and the beach.

“Stones, sticks,” she says of treasures she collected during childhood explorations, “and other things I would find near my home.”

Nature remains her muse to this day.

“My major inspiration still comes from nature and life,” says the Rochester, NY, resident whose studio is in the Neighborhood of the Arts. “And the realization that the creative mind I was given is a valuable gift.”

Today, Sharon works in sterling silver, fine silver and high-carat gold that she solders, casts, hammers, etches and bends to her will. And—as in nature—no two pieces are alike.

Sharon“Everything is individually fabricated, so every piece is one of a kind,” Sharon says. Yet all her work combines the organic and the elegant: her signature.

Sharon's jewelry is made of more than silver and gold. Ever drawn to the water, some of her favorite raw materials are precious things plucked from the sea. Even if she has to find them online.

“I love pearls because of their natural luminescence,” she says. “I spend hours hunting for incredible stones to build my pieces around.”

Sharon recently started experimenting with stoneware and porcelain clay. These, too, seem inspired by her memories from the beach as a girl—scavenged stones found and cherished.

Those first stones, too, remain with her in spirit. They reflect her reverence for beauty and creative expression of our world.

Sharon creates many of the individual pieces that form her work from scratch. These unpolished rings will go into a tumbler to be polished before they become works of art.“I believe artistic ability is a gift, and to not recognize, nurture, and use this ability would be an insult to the universe that supports and protects us,” she says.

Fittingly, her contribution to the universe will soon expand. Sharon is adding to her portfolio a collection for men—in response to numerous requests.

“I'll be unveiling them at the upcoming Hearts and Crafts Indie Craft Market at Java's cafe on Gibbs Street the second weekend of December,” she says.

 

See more: www.sj4finejewelry.com

Say hi: sjeter55@gmail.com

 

 



 

Friday
Oct292010

Matthew Ehlers 

According to the film's official website, Smoking Laws (80min | 2010) “is a voyeuristic look at the curious conversations and confrontations that last the length of a cigarette.” It is the first comedy feature from Eggwork Productions, whose previous work has been seen at over 100 festivals, including Sundance and SXSW, and broadcast throughout the world on such networks as Comedy Central, Canal Plus, and HBO. Matt's latest film project has only one thing in common with his earliest from nearly 20 years ago: cigarettes.

Soon after he completed the University of Southern California cinema program in 1992, Matt, an ex-smoker himself, made his directorial debut with an anti-smoking commercial for the American Cancer Society.

Now Smoking Laws, Matt's first full-length piece, is about to hit the big screen. Shot in Rochester, the film is a series of skits knit together by a common denominator: hardcore smokers stuck outside of their favorite bar on the coldest night of the year.

“The only thing that ties people together in that instance is the love of the nicotine,” Matt told Mad Dog Movies' Mike Boas in a wide-ranging podcast interview. “Slowly the characters interact and criss-cross. It's small slices of life. I had all these scenes in my head and I wanted to get them out.”

To make it happen, he had to bum off a lot of generous local talent.

Smoking Laws was a no-budget, out-of-pocket passion project,” Matt says. “The fact that we're taking it to the American film market is a testament to the hard work and talents of the volunteer cast and crew.”

“I grew up in Rochester. I came back to be with my friends, some of whom are entering their third decade of helping me on my various film projects,” says Matt, who divides his time between Rochester and New York City.

He also points to the importance of regional film festivals like those found in Rochester as catalysts for budding filmmakers. While he credits the renowned Sundance Festival for a big break, he says smaller festivals are where you connect.

MattSundance, SXSW, Florida and other festivals have helped legitimize our projects in the eyes of industry types and opened a lot of doors,” Matt says.

“But just as important are festivals such as Rochester's 360 | 365, Woodstock, Lake Placid, and others,” he adds. “Regional festivals are important for connecting with an audience and building a grass-roots campaign for your film.”

For the past dozen years, his professional home base has been as writer and director at Eggwork Productions, with business partner Todd Nielsen. The firm has a presence in both Rochester and New York City. Although Eggwork focuses on corporate clients, Matt has written and directed projects as wide-ranging as short films, TV spots, a web series for Comedy Central, and promotional trailers.

In the midst of promoting Smoking Laws, Matt already has his next project in the works: a romantic comedy he will write and direct, titled Vows & Rites. Backed by a U.K. Producer and investor, the film will be shot in Vancouver, B.C., in early 2011.

 

See more: eggwork.com and on Facebook

Say hi: mehlers@eggwork.com

 

 


 

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