school work

inspiration, hiding in plain sight. by Jeff Herrity Artist

So I've been slowly organizing my studio at school - meaning picking up random chunks of wood that have littered my space. I always like the post-creation mess. It's a great way to document the residue of the process. I've always been the type that documents my process every step of the way, taking photos and keeping records in my sketchbook. I like to look back and see how things evolved and the physical evidence I leave behind. Hidden Inspiration

Pinned to the wall in my studio, from the very beginning of the year, was a photo I took last year from the Met. This was taken during my 'fascinated with shadows' period. It's a Giacometti sculpture. I probably didn't even realize that I look at this every day and I suppose my subconscious finally made me act on how much I LOVE Giacometti but didn't know it.

One of the things that I really had to determine when making my figures was my vocabulary. I had made several maquettes of the pieces and there were some structural decisions that I had originally made that I edited out in my final work. (not to say that I won't re-introduce them in my next pieces) I really tried this time to focus on what makes a male figure look male and what makes a female female.

In the one form, the male figure has a broad chest made by adding an additional piece to the chest area, but in the others they ARE very narrow and simple. Just two arms along the body starting at the shoulders. For the women forms I went with smaller pieces and created hips. For the smaller, children, forms, they had no extra pieces, just the plain form without any physical development. Post-Modern? or Neo-Post-Modern? I'm not quite sure. But there is was. Waiting for me to discover it.

Even once the work was done.

coming along? by Jeff Herrity Artist

So, in just over a month our NEXT at the Corcoran opens. NEXT is our thesis show, and we are all frantically working out the kinks in our work and concepts for our 'drop-off' date of March 19th. I'm in a bit of a different position because my piece wont' be finished until well after the 19th because of what my work is about - the space itself. It's hard for me to be doing a lot of work on the piece since I really won't be 'making' it until the drop-off. However, that doesn't mean I'm not thinking about follow up work or continuing my exploration of this work. Guides - 4x4s and IV stands with Dropcams mounted on them

I'm still thinking through several aspects of the work - mostly the guides - the figural forms that will have the cameras mounted on them. My original idea was to use the 4x4s with the Dropcam mounted on the base with casters. I really like this, but stumble when I look at them and think "well, I like the way they look in the raw wood" - but I'm sure many would have a problem with that. Part of my thought about this work is that all the cameras are completely exposed so they subvert the idea of hidden cameras. I'm bouncing around ideas about how or where or even IF the images are projected in the gallery or if people must go home and look on their computers. I may walk around the opening with my iPad and monitor the cameras and have people see - also to drive traffic at home later.

(remember, you can watch from these cameras NOW at

My other thought with the piece, may actually be a different piece - but it involves a more pointed use of the IV stands and the meaning that those bring to the piece....stay tuned....

lights, camera....CAMERAS....action! by Jeff Herrity Artist

Dropcam HD Last night I received an email from my friends at Dropcam and they are sending me my cameras...I even have a tracking number that I will begin to obsessively check every five minutes until they arrive. (personally, I LOVE tracking my shipments) I can't say how excited I am that I will have my cameras in time for the test run in Gallery 31, and to be able to really use and promote this fantastic product.

Looking at the beautiful simplicity of this new HD camera has me really thinking about the device I will be making that will be in the show. I really like the industrial appearance of the device combined with the shiny pupil like camera. This is something that is just as much an art object as the piece it will be used for.

Keep watching this space for details once I get the cameras, and get them up and running.

and, thanks a million times to the folks at Dropcam.

are you ready for your close-up?

in the spirit of art. by Jeff Herrity Artist

I'm making progress on the planning behind my thesis piece - Focus Group - which will involve multiple Dropcam cameras - their new cameras are beyond amazing to an artist like me. I've ordered them, but will have to wait a bit for their arrival - which only has me slightly (ok, a lot) anxious at the moment. I'm proceeding with the thoughts that they will arrive in time for the show install (which we have some time, and I can get it done, but will be really sweating it) I'm glad that my work can be created prior to the opening, all that I'll need to do is set up the camera which takes about 10 seconds. Focus Group

My work will include four camera carts that each have a Dropcam on the front, and a monitor facing the viewer. There will be handlebars on the rig that the viewer can use to move the camera around the gallery space. However, the viewer/pusher isn't see the feed from their camera, but from a different camera on a different mount or stationery position. I'm still trying to figure out the materials that will be used, I really like the wood, but I also want to explore acrylic and make the whole object see-through, minus the camera, monitor, wires, etc...  We'll see.

There is one thing about this body of work that goes unspoken to some regard. It's the interaction we have with each other through our devices. I've been very thankful to have so many friends 'corporate sponsor' me and my work - and even recently after an email I received from the Dropcam folks. It's great to know that in this connected world, we can still support each other digitally or visually.

And, like my last work, you can watch me working out the new piece  - (sometimes it will be offline)

will work for art by Jeff Herrity Artist

Well, I began my final semester of my fourth year in my BFA/MAT program here at the Corcoran College of Art + Design. I also have begun the first of my two consecutive years of thesis work. First up, fine art thesis. My thesis preview work has been well received and I think a great chance for me to begin to think about how I take a 4x4 foot tile piece with an embedded camera to the 'next level.' When I created that piece, I had some pretty clear thoughts about what the work was accomplishing, and what I was trying to communicate. It wasn't until my critique for that work that new ideas came to the surface and I realize that the work is about some other things that also fascinate me.

Surveillance. Watching. (not in the creepy way) What does it mean that we live in a post-9/11 world where we are constantly living our lives on cameras?  Is this for our safety and protection, or an invasion of our privacy? Are we different people when we know we are on camera? How does marketing influence the art world? How does technology influence our connectivity and communications with each other?

This is the direction my thesis work will be taking and I'm still in heavy research mode trying to understand my work. I know - at this point - how the 'piece' will be in the museum and the cameras have all been ordered and sketches sketched.

Because the nature of my work is marketing and communications it only made sense to me that I needed to involve sponsors to help me finance the work. I've been talking to friends that have small businesses and have had a great response towards my sponsorship goals.

sponsorship QR code

I've created different levels of sponsorship, and there are many great benefits to them all. First and foremost, they get their company logo and name included in my artist statement, and incorporated into the piece in some way. BUT, the hidden benefit is that each level of support includes several hours of my marketing consultation time. Considering I spent over 15 years as a consultant, it only makes sense that support of me and my work translates back to MY support of my sponsors work. Perhaps this is the nature of the piece, this technology driven communication and connection between two individuals is really structured on a barter system.

please contact me if you want more information on sponsorships. And, watch this blog over the next few months for regular updates on my thesis project, and information specific to my sponsors. It goes without saying that I would like you to support them as well.

yes, it scans. by Jeff Herrity Artist

Herrity_Jeffery_Target Audience - Audience Segmentation_49x49_ceramic tile and web cam So, last week I installed my Senior Thesis Preview Show in Gallery 31 along with several other classmates. All the stress leading up to this show instantly melted away once my piece was successfully hung on the wall. I was a bit worried that the weight of it would send the whole piece crashing to the floor and I would have to quickly re-write my artist statement to include how this was planned. Ok, not really, I wouldn't be able to bullshit my way through a catastrophe such as that. I think in total, the piece weighs in at a little over 100 pounds.

One thing DID change once the piece was hung, my beloved Dropcam got fuzzy. This isn't because the quality of the camera isn't good - it is fantastic - but many things started to work against me as I got closer to finishing. I had to embed the camera into the middle of the structure behind one of the black tiles which caused the signal strength to drop significantly. This isn't a flaw in the camera. The Corcoran is also notorious for bad internet signals, and so the wi-fi up in the senior studios is also working extra hard. Never once have I had the signal drop.

screenshots of people interacting with the work

Once the piece was hung on the walls, the camera is really sandwiched between tiles, plywood, 2x4s, drywall and more plywood. Across the gallery, directly in front of the QR code is the monitor that displays the live internet feed. One feature of the Dropcam(have I mentioned how great this device is??) is that I get a notification on my iPhone and email any time there is movement around the piece. I wasn't sure how I would use this when I was planning the work, but then found that I like a record of the people interacting with my work. There have even been a couple times when friends have been looking at the camera and playing around and I take a screenshot of them and text message it to them. It goes from fun to creepy in about a millisecond. BUT, that is what the piece is all about, interacting with me and interacting with the work.

My critique for the piece went well and there were many questions raised that I had also been considering. In my head and my plans everything went perfectly, but it wasn't until the piece was hung in the configuration that I wanted that some new ideas arose. This piece has become more about how we live today under constant surveillance. Sure, my original idea about how we interact with objects and gallery spaces holds true, but the broader question is how we are constantly watched EVERYWHERE has come into play. My THESIS piece may change a bit...

We have our celebration reception this Thursday December 1, 2011 from 6-8 pm. hope you can make it, and if not, sit down at your computer and go to: to watch.

appropriately appropriated by Jeff Herrity Artist

Sorry for my absence on the blogging. Much like I would expect, my hard drive crashed again on my Mac Book and I had to get a new one. I'm normally pretty good about doing regular system back-ups and all that - but of course for the past few weeks I've been working 'rogue' at home and bouncing around...NOT connected to my monitor and thus my external hard drive. Fast-forward to my new hard drive and a computer that doesn't remember my blog account password, and a password that is outside of my normal password structure..thus, no blog post. until now, in a stroke of genius, I remembered my 'this is brilliant' NEW password structure. And, now I can blog again. Back to my story... ...I was excited that they could fix the computer, however still a bit worried that this is the second time this has happened, or third even, so I'm now in a constant state of worry. All that said, with my new hard drive, I had to do a back-up from my most recent back-up, which was several weeks ago. I also recently upgraded to Lion and was concerned that my new hard drive was formatted for Snow Leopard and my back-ups would not work. Luckily, the Apple Genius said he had an image of Lion that he could put on my machine. That seems to work for me, but I immediately got concerned that this 'image' of Lion wasn't the real version that I purchased. Could I still use this? Would I be stealing work that was protected under copyrights?

Much like in art, we collect images that we use in our art, be it just a simple notion that we visually revisit at some point, not a copy but a nod to the idea. This is absolutely fine, as is the use or appropriating images for use in work as long as they do not represent what they originally represented. Or, even further, the IDEA that was represented.Once this topic is usually openly discussed, the subsequent discussion on plagiarism must also occur. I suppose because I also 'own' the software, I could use the image freely.

In some of my own work, I have appropriated images. For a piece I did last year in CORE studio, I downloaded and reprinted 50 images that were taken during The Artist is Present with Marina Abramovic, a retrospective of her work at the MoMA last year. She is a favorite of mine and I wanted to sit with her so badly, instead I just watched people watching each other. The work that I created from someone else's images - photos on a flickr stream - were all modified in such a way that they had new meaning and were different than the intended purpose of them (which was most likely just for documenting each person). Had I called the images 'mine' would have been problematic...they aren't mine.

I think that I appropriately appropriated images in this case. But a bigger question is always out there - when are images not used correctly and what can happen? The most recent and important image stealing case has to be that of Shepherd Fairey and his famous Obama HOPE poster image. The actual piece is a collage of newspaper articles, but the image is that of an AP photographer. This all probably would have gone away, after all, they were fighting over the use of the image of the President (which once elected, the POTUS image is the MOST protected visual asset we have as Americans and you can't use it for any purpose) The issue got uglier once Shepherd started lying under oath. Oops.

Last year during the ARTS 101 lessons that Sussannah, Hannah and I created, we used images of artists work. Clearly we didn't modify it's use, or make new art work from it, but we made informational posters with images from Mondrian, OKeeffe, and some others along with images of posters that were actual reproductions of works of art from the Corcoran Collection. Clearly multiple offenses of inappropriate appropriation happening here. Well, not really. The Corcoran most likely owns the rights to the images of their collection (and why you can usually take photos of museum's permanent collections, but rarely for travelling exhibits) so they can do with them what they want - like make posters for art educators (like ME) - who can then make posters from the posters. A clearly clever negotiating the legal side of artwork reproduction. Never did these posters make any financial gain, only educational gain.

I think that as an artist and future art educator, it is ok to appropriate images when used .... errrrr.... appropriately. Obviously we all have enough ethics to know that we don't pass off another's work as our own. As teachers, we have just be be aware of the current laws and make sure that we don't intentionally break them.

to scan or not to scan... by Jeff Herrity Artist

So, my piece "Jesus Doesn't Live Here Anymore" continues to generate conversation. I wasn't sure what kind of response, if any, I would get from my use of the QR code.

Since the piece was installed, last week, people continue to approach me and tell me they like (or don't like) my piece in white walls. How would they know it's me if I do not have a name label on the wall?

Nate G. came up to me yesterday and showed me his friend's phone with my text on the screen. I was glad about that interaction with both my work and me personally. I like when someone tells me they think my idea to use the code is interesting.

I will share one more bit of information about the code and it's placement in my installation. I made it small so that you would have to get closer to the piece, interact with it more, just in order to scan the code.

I'm excited where this work is taking me and I have already begun working on my second piece in this series that will lead me to my Thesis preview show in December where the largest piece of this series should (god i hope) be complete and generate just as much conversation. Good or bad.

I've even included the QR code so that you can scan it on your phone from wherever you are. you don't even need to be at the Corcoran White Walls exhibit.

no forwarding address. by Jeff Herrity Artist

So, I survived my (e)merge art fair experience relatively unharmed. Well, actually, I think I came out of the other side a different person and different artist armed with a better idea of how to talk about my art. It's interesting to me to think that I may make different art now. Not different in that I am going to pander to the art community, but with the understanding that everyone will look at my art differently. the de-install of my piece

I cannot influence how people interpret my art unless I specifically say "My work is about..." or "This is what you are to think..." Hopefully, I will be able to be clear in my intentions with what I want to communicate - but I'm also secure in understanding that not everyone will 'get' it. That's ok from my perspective, just as it should be ok from the viewer's perspective.

Heading into the (e)merge show I knew that immediately after the de-install of that show, I would be installing my first senior show at school called FOCUS. This show sets the stage for our final thesis project and show in the museum. For many weeks, I worked and worked on a new piece for this first show. I was working on a large wall piece, or floor piece (I didn't really know) and was really struggling with what the piece meant to me and why I was making it. I started to enter my previous work style, and was forcing meaning that was not there. During my one-on-one meetings with my instructors, each gave a different set of critiques and I continued on my way.

the wall piece

On the Wednesday during my install of (e)merge Ivan basically challenged me about the piece and it did several things: 1. made me panic, 2. made me rethink the entire piece, 3. made me panic even more because I was already knee deep in working on a piece where I didn't know the outcome. So, now, I have two pieces that I have no clue what they were going to be. Fuck. I knew I wouldn't have time to completely make something new and I thought that I was going to have to go with a piece that I couldn't talk about and just take the hit. I knew that I would get slaughtered if I put up a piece just because it was pretty and shiny.

another view of the piece

Pretty and shiny doesn't always go well in art school. And pretty and shiny CERAMICS definitely doesn't (always) go over well...I might as well have said I wanted to be a visionary artist just for the trifecta of art school sins.

So, all during the (e)merge show I was fretting over what I was going to install on Monday morning. I figured I would just continue making the horns and something would come out at the right minute.  I thought the solution was to work with a different material - glycerine - and so I started working on those.

Still nothing.

I realized that I would have to make something work during the install and just put it all out of my mind and would deal with it at the time.

Well, just as things always work out, the (e)merge art fair came to an end. The last day was the best with so many friends coming to visit  - Beth, Art, Tara, the amazing Jen, Greg, Daniel, Jim, Judith, Novie (the owner of Flux Studios DC) and so many others. Forest Allread continued to be a great friend and we had so many more great conversations. The day definitely was ending on a high note.

Then it was 5pm. The show was over. Time to take everything down. Time to face reality that I still didn't have a good piece for the show the next day.

I got sad.

It was amazing how quickly the other artists were able to pack up their work and return this magical art wonderland to it's own reality: a parking garage.

I was standing in the middle of a parking garage popping garbage bags. Shit. Is this my future? Where was Jesus in the Clouds?

I continued to clean up my mess. Thinking about my work and what this experience meant to me. Did this work still exist? My strand of Jesus lights were revealed to me and as I unplugged them I jokingly said to myself: "Jesus doesn't live here anymore."

Then it hit me like a bag of deflated garbage bags - literally. All this shit i've been carrying around with me, this garbage,  was the work. All I had to show for this amazing experience was thrown over my shoulder and into the back of my car. I wanted to keep it, but also wanted to break out of it like a bull through the toreadors cape.

I had my piece for my FOCUS show. Dear sweet baby Jesus, I hope I can pull this off.

how to make gifs How to make gifs

before. by Jeff Herrity Artist

This is quite a week in regards to work and art making. Yikes.  Two big projects happening in the same week. For CORE Studio (my main studio class for my fine art studies) we install our first show on Monday September 26 in White Walls. This is technically our first contract or project that is leading up to our thesis preview show in December. My work is focusing on...well, i'm not entirely sure yet. I've been reading this incredible book The Poetics of Space by Gaston Bachelard, and it has really helped me to understand my work and my thoughts on my work in ways that I suppose I knew was there somehow, but hadn't been fully realized. horns CORE project

My first piece is dealing with horns. But it's mostly about how horns (and teeth, hair, etc) are just by products of things our body doesn't need anymore and we shed it, and what our body produces that will help to protect us. I've always identified with the bull (being a Taurus) and these specific horns have always fascinated me as objects - i've incorporated them into my work for a long time but didn't understand the connection they were making to me and my work.

I've made many of them because it's my favorite mold in the ceramics studio - but it wasn't until the Poetics of Space and my more detailed understanding of space and home and what makes a home a safe place that these horns have taken on a new meaning. I see them as an expulsion of my self and the repetitive creation something that - in mass quantity - can be rather agressive looking and protective. In my one-on-one critiques with my instructors we've discussed the many possibilities for this piece and I'm excited that even up to the last few days of work-time, I still don't know 100% how the final will look. (the old art-making me would be having a nervous breakdown at this point.)

The parking lot before....

Speaking of me making pieces that I don't know how they will be finalized, I started working on my installation at the (e)merge art fair. I'm revisiting a piece that I did for CORE last year that was a further exploration of my cloud installation (which you stood inside of) but instead, it was me making a cloud but intentionally allowing the materials and the process dictate what happened. This was very helpful to me because it made me have to NOT know what the end result would be. Working with the garbage bags was a great way to wrestle with the act of creating, but having to give-in to unseen forces (air leaking out of the bags.) In the end, I had a piece that was enormous and showed my process as well as my efforts.

When  I was invited to be in (e)merge I was talking with Joe Hale (our exhibit director) and was talking about what I should do, I mentioned the cloud piece and he said that would be great because he needed installations. This piece, when finished should definitely command a presence in the show (good or bad) and will hopefully be the bait to bring people to our booth/area so they can see the fine work from my fellow students in the Fine Art program and Photo/PhotoJournalism programs. There are 10 of us total, and only four fine artists (well, we are all FINE artists...) I plan to do a few different things with this piece and with the help of my good friend Andy Martin (from Philly, and graduate from the Tyler School of Art) so, again, I'm not entirely sure what the end result will be - with the exception of a marketing tool to get people to our space. . .

guess i'll be a marketer until the end.

and so it begins. by Jeff Herrity Artist

We are several weeks into the new semester, my final fall semester in the BFA program. I'm liking my classes a lot so far - mostly studio courses which is great because they are all focused on helping me gain the skills I think I'll need for my thesis show in the spring. (yikes) My CORE studio has been great and I've got my first critique starting on September 26. I had several ideas for this first project knowing that they should all start to funnel into my thesis show, and the big thesis preview show in December. I've been making and making and making! I'll write a more specific post about that in the next day or two once I have more work done.

My other studio courses are Slipcasting and Mold-making and also one called Mold-making. One is ceramics based (my focus) and the other is all the other mold-making techniques with other mediums. I'm LOVING both and am very excited about the work that I can start to produce, and mass-produce. Again, in the next day or so I'll post about each project in more detail.

My MAT classes are great also - Digital Media for Art Educators, and Thesis Pro-Seminar. For the Digital Media class I will be required to post twice a week on various art education topics we are learning about, so expect this blog to become quite content-heavy. I will most likely create an 'Thoughts on Art Education" section to categorize the pages a little more so if you are not interested in art ed, you won't have to read my thoughts.

I've gotten my studio at Flux Studios DC all set up and have been working there as much as possible, making work to sell. We had an open house with the Washington Glass School last week with 70 collectors and curators of contemporary glass. These were mostly people from the mid-west and as they entered my space and saw gold skulls and devils and my baby-bombs - they would harrumph and turn around. I had some good conversation with a collector about some of my paper works (from a project called "Food, Survival, Extremes") - I really enjoyed talking about my work and process. Another buyer was interested in what I refer to as 'the headdress' and I hope to hear from him soon about purchase. (please please)

Next week my world will also be a bit crazed because I will be showing at the (e)merge art fair at the Capitol Skyline Hotel. I'll be representing the Corcoran with several classmates (four of us from Fine Art.) I'm a little freaked out because I have to create a site specific piece ON SITE. We are allowed in the space the day before. Seriously, the DAY BEFORE. I'm glad that my friend Andy Martin will be coming in from Philly to help me.

I'll post more in the next day and update this post with photos.

wish me luck!!!