Casey Shannon Studio Image

The Sound of One Hand: Reaching Beyond the limits of Traditional Ink Painting

Friday, August 28, 2009

World Art Media and NY Arts Magazine Scam!

Possible Money Art Scam!
Posted so you can make an informed decision for yourself!
Art World Media and NY Arts Magazine (same company) is a possible huge scam praying on vulnerable artists. Watch out for these folks. I received an email on my website from a woman claiming to be a NY art rep with Art World Media. At the end of this post I have included the email that I received, which I have learned is similar to what other artists have received on their websites.
The first two lines of the email sent to me seemed personal but the rest of the email sounded 'canned'. I viewed the websites I was directed to and those looked pretty good. I looked at the person's email address and it was @gmail, rather than a company email. I became suspicious. I forwarded the email to my friend who is the undisputed 'Internet Queen' and within minutes she found a lot of negative talk out there about this group on a reputable art community website called ArtBistro. I went there and found more information on various artist's blogs who had also been approached by these people.
Blog Resource

It appears World Art Media and NY Arts magazine (same company) send out thousands of unsolicited emails each month to artists on their websites promising art representation via online sources, publications, gallery shows etc. for a FEE. They do not advertise their fee on their website anymore, but I learned from other artists the fee starts at $500 and goes up from there to $4000 and $6000 depending on what they say they are doing for you.

World Art Media
does publish your work in the NY Art magazine. However, it does not have the millions of viewers, buyers, and following that they claim. One New Yorker said it is sold only in the newstand down the street from their NY office. 

NY Arts Magazine promises promotion, publicity and articles in their magazine and an art show in their gallery, 450 BROADWAY GALLERY, which, although it exists is in the inaccessible, interminable, un-climable 4th floor walk-up at that address. The gallery isn't even listed on the local Gallery Guide. However, It is listed in, where else, the NY World Arts Magazine. It is also my understanding, that even the so called 'Marketing Associates' get ripped off. Most of their positions are continually advertised on Craig's List. When they sign on, they are promised wonderful commissions. After working like crazy soliciting artists, they are not given these commissions. One guy wrote, that after working for World Art Media, he could have made more money had he been employed flipping hamburgers at McDonald's.

World Art Media seems to be just 'legit enough' to keep from getting arrested. However, they operate in an unethical manner. They don't tell the entire truth about what they can/will do for artists and actually charge you ridiculous fees for their services. This is not the kind of company I choose to do business with ever! My advice? far away.

The email letter I received:
Dear Casey,
I have just reviewed your website ( and I am very impressed with your body of work, particularly the Sumi-e brush paintings..

My name is Annie Scott and I'm an artist representative with World Art Media (a dynamic international arts publicity and PR company based in NYC). We promote galleries, museums, art fairs and committed artists. After briefly reviewing your works I feel its possible to explore some form of collaboration. Working closely with our affiliates at many international art companies and exhibition spaces (including the Broadway Gallery NYC and New York Arts Magazine), we are able to offer different exhibition and publication options.
I feel very strongly that your current body of work is ideally suited to a publication project I am coordinating for the near future. I want to discuss the possibility of having your work publicized in an upcoming print issue of the magazine as well as in the different online venues.

We've been successfully working with artists like you and with our partner NY Arts Magazine for more than 10 years. The homepage now gets over 2 million hits per month, and the print version, with international distribution, reaches a large sector of art professionals and art enthusiasts. I believe this would be an important step toward gaining more attention for your work by offering you a number of opportunities to expose your work.

Our package, a combination of print and on line publicity, also includes a month of exposure with another affiliate: Art Fairs International The introductory promotional package is priced to meet your particular needs and our low prices and high quality are unmatched anywhere else in the art community.
WAM is dedicated solely to artists-providing them with the best possible options to further their career. Please see, to find more about the different and exciting projects we have to offer. I would be delighted to send you further information regarding this project, as well further options and costs. Please don't hesitate to contact me with any further questions you may have as well. I look forward to hearing from you soon, and our working together.

Annie Scott
Marketing Associate
World Art Media 473 Broadway, 7th floor, NY NY 10013
Do your research. Follow the links that I have provided and you will find even more negative information. Don't be fooled. We artists always want our work to be exhibited and appreciated. We are flattered and get excited about stuff like this. And, we are vulnerable to scam. Watch yourself!!!

Be sure to read through the blog comments on this post from other artists. There is more information and experiences contained here.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Why do I create Sumi-e?

Why does any artist create anything? This is an interesting question. Each artist will have a different and usually very emotional answer.

Here, in short, is my answer to this question. I create for the sheer joy and pleasure of creating. I create for myself. For me, the creative process is spiritually personal and is a meditation. Being still and meditating allows the creative juices in me to start flowing. Creating my art allows me to be in the present right NOW. I focus only on painting and allow all else to fade away. Worries, plans, responsibilities, what I should do, etc. all become less of an immediate presence. In the act of painting, I attain a level of peace that I achieve no place else. Creating is a selfish act most satisfying. I create for me.

That being said, I humbly offer my paintings for others to see and hopefully enjoy. It is my wish that viewers find in my painting a sense of beauty, peace, something that moves them, and a feeling of ‘wow, I really like this’ or ‘jeez, what was she thinking?’ I would hope the first reaction is obtained. Although, whatever one feels about my artwork is OK. Viewers were moved in some way. They may or may not purchase my work. Either is fine. If they do, I am always very pleased. If they do not, that is beautiful too because that was not the painting’s purpose. The painting 'just exists'.

The sumi-e painting you see here is called 'One Pelican Waiting' by Casey Shannon. It was inspired by all the pelicans that swoop and glide in a line across the waves of the ocean. Pelicans are my favorite bird. I always see these wonderful creatures along Highway One as I drive up the coast to the college where I teach. They seem to gather at Moss Landing and greet me as I drive along the road. Seeing them is always such a delight and I look forward to this treat along my journey. A reproduction of my pelican painting can be purchased from my Zazzle Gallery. The original sumi-e can be viewed at Gallery Journey into Art.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Cause/Effect Challenge

I decided to take on a Cause and Effect challenge raised by, Diane Clancy, an artist acquaintance of mine. She challenges artists to intrepret 2 words. This week the challenge is Cause/Effect. In general, Sumi-e lends itself to the concept of 'cause and effect' very easily. Sumi-e is rooted in Chinese philosophy. The idea of 'yin and yang' is used to describe how seemingly opposing forces are interconnected and interdependent in the natural world, giving rise to each other in turn. This concept is at the heart of Sumi-e and the artist's mind as one paints in peace.

This Sumi-e painting is called 'Dance of the Pollen'. This painting was inspired by all the pollen dancing in our air during summertime. I think it's relationship to 'cause and effect' is obvious. Wind blows. Pollen dances. Reproductions of this work are available two places: at my Zazzle Gallery and from my SumiSpirit Gallery at ImageKind. Each gallery offers special printing choices. The original work can be seen at my website in Gallery Journey into Art .

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Sumi-e and Haiku

Branch of Persimmon Sumi-e by Casey Shannon

The sumi-e I have created above is called 'Branch of Persimmon'.

Expressed in words by my Haiku:
” juicy ripe, branch of persimmon, gently live.”
- Casey Shannon

Since Sumi-e or brush painting is minimalist painting and Haiku is minimalist writing, it would be reasonable to say that the two ancient art forms would naturally support one another and often be studied and exhibited together. Both Sumi-e and Haiku are strikingly beautiful and are a compliment to one another.

In Japanese, haiku are traditionally printed in a single vertical line, while haiku in English usually appear in three lines, to parallel the three metrical phrases of Japanese haiku. Such as :

The fragrance!
Though I know not
Whence it comes.
~ Basho

Previously called hokku, haiku was given its current name by the Japanese writer Masaoka Shiki at the end of the 19th century. The typical length of haiku appearing in the main English-language journals is 10–14 syllables and have a symmetrical line arrangement such as 5-7-5 or 3-5-3. Some haiku poets are concerned with their haiku being expressed in one breath and the extent to which their haiku focus on “showing” as opposed to “telling”. Therefore haiku is concerned with showing minimally as is Sumi-e. Sumi-e is concerned with 'showing' spirit minimally.

Now let’s look at the undisputed master of the haiku, Matsuo Bashō, an Edo-period Japanese haiku poet. Bashō’s poetry was quickly recognized for it’s simple and natural style. Sumi-e is recognized for it’s simple and elegant brush strokes. A natural combination.

Let me show you an example of how I have used haiku in combination with non-traditional contemporary sumi-e. For me as an artist, usually the haiku inspires the sumi-e. This results in a simple creative expression and profound experience. The following haiku is considered to be Basho’s most famous haiku writing.

At the ancient pond,
a frog plunges into,
the sound of water.
~ Basho

The sumi-e below is called 'Sound of Water' by Casey Shannon.

Sound of Water by Casey Shannon

Friday, August 14, 2009

More on Artist Seals

Artist Seals.
These are some of the artist seals or chops that I use. These are my favorites but I have many. They are so beautiful that you tend to collect them as you are drawn deeper and deeper into the ancient art of Sumi-e.
Not only is the seal impression a thing of beauty the seals are actual works of art in and of themselves. They are beautifully carved with lovely images such as dragons, lotus, bamboo, fish, turtle, and more.

Using artist seals on your finished work can compliment the composition, i
f used properly and placed with care. The seal is generally red so it draws the attention of the viewer. The viewers eye is drawn to the bright red color which contrasts to the rest of the painting. Although sometimes small, seals are visually powerful giving the painting an important balancing effect.

The red paste used for seal ink is
made from finely pulverized cinnabar (mercuric sulfide), mixed with a seed oil from Fukien Tea (the best) or caster oil, which has been exposed to the sun for three years, then added to the finely ground cinnabar. This is just one of many formulas. The photo to the right is an example what the seal paste looks like. There are many online suppliers of Asian art supplies. We will discuss resources in a future blog entry.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Sumi-e Artist Seal

The ancient art form of Sumi-e utilizes another ancient practice and that is the use of artist seals or chops. The seals or chops pictured on the right are called 'Little Treasures'. Using the seal as an integral part of the composition in ink painting is uniquely Asian. To authenticate and to show approval of his/her work, the artist uses a personal seal in red along with his signature. In addition to the personal signature and seal, most traditional Chinese brush artists use seals to enhance their compositions. Antiquity, artistry, and the quality of the material from which a seal is carved determine it's value.

I use a variety of artist seals or chops in my finished sumi-e. I have several of these little treasures and use one to three on any given finished artwork. The number and kind of chop used depends on the subject matter and composition of my painting. The sumi-e pictured on the right is called Bouquet of Be Well by Casey Shannon. I have used three artist seals or chops on this painting. The large round red seal translates into 'be well'. The square chop translates into my name 'Casey'. The small round chop above my signed name translates into 'spring'.
Chops are pressed into Asian seal paste and then pressed onto your finished
painting in the desired position. Seal paste is generally red. However, you can buy it in other colors as well such as blue, yellow, and white. This is a photo of an artist seal or chop and the red seal paste.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Sumi-e Ink Stone

Above is an example of a Sumi grinding stone. This inkstone is an ornate one and very beautiful. This ink slab was carved in a 'cucurbit' shape. This shape stands for good fortune and every success. This is the stone that I use.

The Sumi stone for grinding the ink is an important tool in the creation of Sumi-e. An inkstone is literally a stone mortar for the grinding and containment of ink. Traditional Chinese ink was usually solidified into sticks for easier transport and preservation. Even a small amount of water could be applied to the end of a stick of ink, and that end would be ground with the flat surface of the ink stone. A larger quantity of ink could be ground from a small pool of water placed on the inkstone. Water could be stored in a water-holding cavity on the inkstone itself.

The inkstone, together with the
ink brush, inkstick and paper, are the four writing implements traditionally known as the Four Treasures of the Study.

Each artist prepares his/her ink in their own special way creating a calm and empty mind. I generally use a black Shanghai Premium stick. I moisten the slab and use a circular motion to grind. I like my ink to have a dark and smooth consistency. The contemporary sumi-e you see here by Casey Shannon is called Winter. This image is an example of the various shades you can create by adding water to your ink. Variation in color of ink adds depth to your painting.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Sumi Preparation

Traditionally, Sumi (ink) was made by grinding an ink stick on a moist ink stone. This method is still favored by many brush painters today. Shanghai Premium Ink Stick produces a smooth, shiny brown-black permanent ink for calligraphy and painting. Black ink sticks range from the inexpensive to the very rare and quite expensive. Ink sticks come in color also. However, black ink sticks are commonly used in the creation of Sumi-e. As the artist grinds the ink stick on the moist stone, the mind is cleared of all thought except for preparing the ink. In this way, the artist is moving gently to the space that allows one to create and capture spirit. The Sumi-e you see here is called Orchid Yellow by accomplished artist Casey Shannon. This painting was inspired by my friend's orchid garden where you can sit, breathe, and meditate. Many beautiful orchids are displayed there and this one caught my eye dancing in the breeze.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

From the Artist:

As a Sumi-e painter, for me, the grinding and preparation of the ink is a wonderful meditation before I begin my painting. I prepare my work in the traditional way. However, my Sumi-e style is 'Contemporary Sumi-e'. My intention is reaching beyond the limits of traditional ink painting. This Sumi-e is called Snowdrops on a Quail Waiting by Casey Shannon. It was inspired by the many beautiful quail found in Carmel Valley. What if it snowed there?

Monday, August 3, 2009

Sumi-e Tools

In ink paintings, as in calligraphy, artists usually grind their own inkstick (Japanese: sumi) over an inkstone to obtain ink, but prepared inks are also available. Most inksticks are made of either pine or oil soot combined with animal glue (Japanese: nikawa). An artist puts a few drops of water on an inkstone and grinds the inkstick in a circular motion until a smooth, black ink of the desired concentration is made. Prepared inks are usually of much lower quality. Sumi themselves are sometimes ornately decorated with landscapes or flowers in bas-relief and some are highlighted with gold.This Sumi-e you see here is called Noble Snow Spirit Like Bamboo by Casey Shannon. It was inspired by bamboo gracefully bending in snow.


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