Monday, April 16, 2007

Encaustic Paintings by Sharon Kyle Kuhn on

Sharon Kyle Kuhn

The process of creating art is a dialog with myself. The end result is an opportunity for interpretation and clarity. While the paintings navigate and I take instruction, the journey of exploration is seen in each bold and expressionist piece of work

Intrigued with the way people interact with one another, the reasons for social structures and the forms of hierarchy within groups, I often use geometric shapes which relate to one another to explore these relationships. Intense feelings of uncertainty, anticipation or enthusiasm are displayed in abstract and colorful landscapes while moments of reflective solitude or present-day interactions with people and places are seen in organic and geometric shapes which appear to float in a field of color.

As seen through my eyes all of these feelings and interactions are somewhat circular in nature. They continue to bring us back to a point that allows us to expand upon the meaning of our life, add shape to our values, and enhance the way in which we interact with one another.

Hopefully my art gives the viewer a moment to take pause and the opportunity to think as well as to feel.

To see Sharon Kyle Kuhn's art:

Sunday, April 01, 2007

E-mail scams abound: BEWARE!

We live in the age of the Internet. It seems that it's hard to do any type of business without it. The Internet has, in a sense, made the world smaller and a lot easier to do business or to keep in touch with friends instantly without direct regard to time.

With the positives come negatives. This is where we all must have our eyes wide open: VERY WIDE. If you don't remember anything else, remember this: Common Sense and Gut Feeling. If something sounds i.e. reads fishy or to good to be true, well, it probably is. This is the point where scammers hook their mark.

How The Scams Work

A common email scam uses unsolicited email to deceive consumers into disclosing confidential personal information. The deceptive email suggests clicking on a link or attachment for any one of the following reasons: ( these are just a few common ones )

Change / update to personal information

Lottery Contests

Possible suspension of accounts -- Good examples include: Ebay or Paypal telling you your account will be suspended if you don't do this or that.

Application for products

After clicking on an attachment or link from the unsolicited email, the user is taken to a bogus site that requests confidential personal information, which could include:

Bank Card Numbers/User ID's

Account Numbers

Personal Identification Numbers (PINs)

Credit Card Numbers

Social Security Numbers

Other Personal or Private Information


How To Identify the Scam

There are some commonalities that can help you identify the scams:

They are designed to mimic the look and feel of a genuine site

They are commonly sent out through unsolicited emails, containing links or attachments

The Web address will often have the @ symbol or a numeric address (eg.123.456.1.2). The address may also include the word, phrase or text e.g. 'Paypal Account ' to make it appear authentic.

For more detailed information about Scams and Fraud: Fight Identity Theft

Remember keeps your eyes WIDE OPEN!

Friday, February 02, 2007




In my last blog, I addressed how I think our society has become ruder, cruder and less civil. I referenced the artworld simply because it's a microcosm of our larger society and after all, this IS an online art magazine and most of us do "art things." I love art, artists, and the artworld. They rock! They're creative, insightful, inspiring and present messages that can change the world.It is BECAUSE I love art and the artworld so much that I wrote, "So Rude!" Few people on the planet have the kind of power that artists (and art people in general) have. Many don't even realize this.We can live in denial all we wish. Rudeness is out there everyday. Whether one is thin-skinned or thick-skinned should not be the issue. The point is ... what role do we as individuals play in creating a better society? In theory, every generation should build upon the progress of the previous one. Civility is the hallmark of a great society. Sometimes it doesn't even matter whether you're generating the most pleasant, friendly, warm spirit. In this world, you DON'T ALWAYS get back what you put out. New York Artist Ellen Fisch clearly attested to that fact in the blog responses when she explained how she tried to send good tidings to an ill young lady, only to be rebuffed by her seemingly ungrateful mother. Since writing, "So Rude!", I've also heard from several other art friends who've written to me personally to share their "less than civil" encounters.I've met and spoken with people from several different countries and I'm always saddened by how they say SOME Americans are just not well-mannered. I get no joy from writing this. It troubles me greatly because, one, I'm a PROUD AMERICAN and two, we do sometimes behave as if we're the only people in the world! True, there certainly are people in other nations who are rude, but that doesn't let us off the hook.Self-examination is not easy. However, it's the only way for us to improve ourselves and our society. As I'm writing this, I'm thinking about that great film, "Pleasantville." The characters depicted in the film had lived in black and white for their entire lives. However, when color came along and gave them a new way to see themselves and the world, they just couldn't handle it. This is partly what art is about ... helping us to see ourselves and hopefully inspiring us to make changes for the better.Whenever I've been involved in a rude encounter, I always ask myself, "What role did I play in that?" "How did I contribute to that bad experience?" There have indeed been times when I've had to correct myself ... and more importantly, APOLOGIZE. I'm far from perfect, however, I must admit that I really do try to live by the motto, "Treat others the way you want to be treated." This doesn't mean you expect royal treatment. These days, common decency will do.Like charity, civility begins at home. One of things that inspired the "So Rude!" essay was a conversation that I had with my sister during a visit this past Christmas at her home in North Carolina.We both agreed that manners are on the decline (however, I must say that North Carolina is a place full of warm, nice people) and that there are more ill-behaved people out there. Why? Perhaps it's because some people just haven't been taught. So many people today think manners are grand, effete and pretentious. My sister told me that one day her three-year-old daughter was misbehaving. She said she thought to herself, "Why is this child doing that?" Then, she said she reminded herself that while she took the manners we were taught for granted, she actually had to PASS THEM ON to her daughter by teaching her daughter the correct way of doing things. Perhaps we should all take refresher courses.I think another reason why rudeness is on the rise is because it's SO EASY to be rude. It's so easy to take the low road. It's so easy to fly off the handle and call people names. It's so easy to pick other people apart and demonize them. It's so easy to criticize people we know little about. It's so easy to roll around in the mud. Taking the high road? Now THAT takes character. THAT takes effort.Anyway, while rudeness is on the rise, civility still lives. Here's the flipside. These quick stories are from my own personal experiences. Feel free to share yours ...During my college days, I worked in mid-town Manhattan. One day I was running late and I was literally running down a Manhattan street. As I ran, I heard this guy running behind me yelling, "Sir!" "Sir!" I looked back and stopped. "You dropped your wallet!" the guy said, giving me my wallet. "Oh my God! Thanks so much!" I remember saying. That guy actually chased someone down to do a good deed. At the time I was a broke. Today, like many people, I'm only a few paychecks away from homelessness, but I would certainly repay anyone for that wonderful gesture.By the way, contrary to the stereotype, NYC is full of kind people. Years ago, I remember walking into the Michael Rosenfeld Gallery. I felt a little intimidated because I had heard so much about it. As I walked in, the guy at the counter, who was busy with other people, smiled and waved and said to me, something like, "Hi, if there's anything I can do to help, please let me know!" Instantly, my intimidation vanished and I had a pleasant visit.Last year in Chicago, I was visiting the Ann Nathan Gallery. While browsing some of the fantastic contemporary art, this small, lovely woman with grayish-white hair approached me (Ann Nathan herself) and we started talking. When I told her that I loved juxtaposing contemporary and African Art, she took me to a backroom where she showed me some of her African art. I cannot remember all of the conversation, but I do indeed remember her warmth, her lovely smile and her willingness to spend time talking with a complete stranger who wasn't there to buy anything. To me, she appeared unaffected by her "status" in the artworld.During a recent visit in San Francisco, I walked into one of the galleries off Union Square and upon entering, I saw an elegant looking man and woman who were clearly the managers. "Now THIS is obviously one of the best galleries in San Francisco!" I said, just trying to break the ice. The guy looked at me and in his deepest, slowest, droll voice said, "You're vvveeeerrryyyy observant!" We all cracked up laughing and I had a great visit.Museum guards are spectacular! I wish I had a dime for every great conversation I've had with them. I think some people see and treat them as "hired help" or like they're invisible, but do yourself a favor and strike up a conversation with them. You won't be sorry. Many of them are quite knowledgeable about art. They are wonderful people who are so nice and willing to help. I wrote an essay-tribute to them in my current book, "Art In King Size Beds: A Collector's Journal." The essay is called, "Guardians of the Gallery." I had fun writing it.I could go on and on about some of the great "civil" encounters that I've had with art people and people in general. I'm constantly burning my laptop with my artist pen-pals alone! They all know who they are. They've been great and I think they see me as a plain 'ole guy who loves art and artists. Nothing more, nothing less. It's about mutual admiration and respect. THAT'S HOW WE ROLL! I want more people to know about them. That's why I want to write more books promoting contemporary art and their work. They don't cater to me, nor I them. Expecting nothing but kindness from people is the gateway to friendship. My art collecting and writing are icing on the cake.Having said that, this STILL doesn't let rude people off the hook. Rudeness is NOT ACCEPTABLE from other people, including me. We've all got to work on this. When we tell kids that they have to develop a "thick skin," we're helping them, but we're also enabling rudeness by default. Rudeness should be challenged, confronted and yes, written about. Thin or thick skin.TV Commentator Andy Rooney once said that art, literature, culture and civility are the only things holding us together as a society. Bravo. This is becoming more true as the world population continues to increase. If you think this discussion is a waste of time, you're missing the point. Art and civility are hopelessly intertwined. If we "don't get" this, then we may as well descend into the chaotic abyss. I'm focusing on the artworld because IT, more than any other sector of society has the talent and tools to express what the world doesn't even know it really needs. We can lead the way. Yet in the face of it all, it's nice to know that civility is where you find it ... and where you create it.


Thursday, January 25, 2007

How to promote your ART

A website has become an essential promotional tool for an Artist: it allows anyone from anywhere in the world to see your work quickly, easily and freely. templates have been designed with Artists in mind: making sure your artwork is the most important thing people will not only see, but also remember when they visit your site.

It’s important to add content i.e. images (with text information) and text in order for your website to be indexed in search engines. Also, people that are viewing your artwork want to know a bit about you. Include your e-mail address.

Image is everything!
The focus is the artwork. Your images should be clear and cropped. Muddy or unclear images create a prejudice against your work. Edit (crop) your images. Images that art not cropped also take away from the quality of your artwork. Take a good look at your images before you upload them to your site. Presentation makes a difference.

Some tips:
Showcase your work beautifully and professionally

Tell the viewer about yourself. Be concise and to the point. Use spell check.

Provide contact information

Price every piece of art that you have for sale

*Keep Your Website Current*

Promote yourself and your artwork:

Use your website address as your e-mail signature.

Tell people about your website.

Write and comment on blogs.

Pomote your art on It’s free.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

"So Rude" by Michael Corbin


This has happened to me so many times that I finally have to write about it.

Are some artworld people just flat out rude, or is it me? I was just talking on the phone to a woman at an art center and I couldn't believe how rude she was. I was calling to ask a simple question about an exhibition and the woman was cold, terse and well, RUDE. It's not like I was calling just to shoot the breeze. The conversation didn't last long and I never really got an answer to my question.

This also happened recently when I called an art gallery. I won't say where because I don't want it to reflect on the city. But I asked the gallery manager about the availability of a painting. "If you didn't attend the opening I can't tell you that!" the guy said. What? Are you kidding me?Okay. I'm not saying that all art people are rude. Art people are people too. They have pressures and deadlines and unrealistic expectations placed on them just like everyone else. And since I tend to do a lot of art things, it would stand to reason that I come into contact with a lot more art people than your average Joe. You know, the whole mathematical probability thing. Anyone can be rude. Art people have good days and bad days. Still, what gives?"

I will NOT walk into an art gallery!" said a marketing woman who I spoke with about promoting my book. "Why?" I asked? "It's too scary," she said. "I just think those people will make me feel stupid," she added, referring to gallery operators. I felt this woman's concern. After all, it was one of the major reasons why I wrote my book, "Art In King Size Beds: A Collector's Journal."Speaking of my book, during its final galley stages, I sent out an email to all of "my artists" informing them on its progress. I had told everyone earlier about my uphill battle and the publishing restrictions that forced me to make changes to the manuscript. But not to worry, I said. I would be doing a series of these books and everyone would be included in some thematic project or another. Anyway, out of the blue I got an email from one of the artists whose work I absolutely love. Here's what the artist wrote: "Mike, Please take me off your email list. I don't believe you included me in your book and I'm not very interested (in) following its progress. Thanks.

"Well, at least the artist said, "Thanks." I quickly replied and apologized profusely, although I didn't think that I did anything wrong. I misled no one. I explained that I had sent out an earlier email explaining my dilemma and that I would love to reproduce the artist's painting (which I owned) for a future book (with copyright permission, of course) and I asked for a response. I never heard back. I had every intention of buying more of this artist's work, but now it just seems like it would only create more bad blood. I love this person's work, but I'll respect their wishes and also avoid the stress of another terse email encounter.

On another occasion, I was having a nice, yet somewhat odd visit at a contemporary art museum. I was talking with one of the museum administrators. Very tense type of guy. I pulled my credit card out of my wallet, telling him that I would love to become a member and he said, "Oh, something is wrong with our register." "I think our computer system is down." Basically, the guy was being snobbish. Trust me. I've seen this before. "What?" I thought to myself. "Are you kidding me?" He didn't even ask for my information for their mailing list. Exclusive club, I suppose. In retrospect, I'm glad he revealed himself to me in that way. I don't need to be part of anything like that.

During a visit at an art center in New York City, I was looking at some cool exhibits. I walked by one of the administrative offices and spotted a spectacular view of Manhattan through the window.To be honest, it was the best thing I had seen at the center. "What a fantastic view you guys have here," I said, stopping for a second. I'm not kidding ... the women in the office looked at me and turned back around without saying a word. Clearly, they thought I was trying to hit on them, which I wasn't. Looking back, I should've just kept my mouth shut and moved along. Busy people don't just strike up conversations with complete strangers, especially while THEY'RE at work. There's too much pressure to get things done. Did I mention that both ladies (I guess) were wearing the color black? In the artworld, black means, "I'm too slim and sophisticated to talk to you. Please leave my presence.

"The thing that's so jarring about rudeness is that no one expects anyone to be rude to THEM. Everybody sees themselves as nice people. I think that I'm one of the nicest people I know! So when someone is rude, you think, "Why was he so rude to ME?" "Why did she say that to ME?"A rude encounter is like being in the twilight zone for a split second. "No they didn't!" you think to yourself. But you know, it happens. We're all adults. These days, so many people are put upon and the last thing they need is someone wanting something FROM THEM. One thing that I think all consistently rude people have in common ... they've had great disappointment in their lives. But then, who hasn't? They lash out, sometimes without being aware of it. I'm sure I've done this, but I try to keep my own behavior in check. A complete stranger isn't to blame for my problems.

As I'm writing this, I'm thinking about the whole Donald Trump-Rosie O'Donnell public spat. You know what? They were BOTH wrong. Of course, we know it's all about television ratings. Still, here are two educated, well-off people behaving like they haven't had proper upbringing. What really stuns me is that they both have children. No one is asking anyone to be perfect, but whatever happened to setting examples for your kids? I'm NOT saying that Donald and Rosie are bad parents, but we have an entire generation of young people out there who have no concept of good behavior because they haven't learned it from their own parents. That's assuming their parents were even around to raise them.

I guess an argument could be made that I've been rude by not responding to some of my blog comments here on Sorry guys. It's all I can do to write these things and make it to work on time everyday. I spend way too much time on computers and not enough time with people. However, I do read your responses and appreciate them (although, yes, some of them are rude). Thank you.

I guess my real point is ... if we're not going to examine rudeness in our society from a human perspective, how about an economic one? Business is STILL business. Some of these arts institutions that are always raising money need to remember that their staffers are their ambassadors. The customer is NOT always right, but they don't deserve rudeness either. No one does. Still, I can forgive rudeness. Because I have tough days myself, I can actually sympathize with other people who are rude. People sometimes deserve not just second chances, but third and fourth chances, too. I would sure like more chances to get things right. However, I must admit, the places that gave me shabby treatment will never see or hear from me again. I can spend my hard earned money someplace else. I really feel sad about saying this because art faces SO many challenges as it is. Thank God for those little old ladies who sit at the front desks of some of the old art museums. They are some of the nicest people I ever meet. I haven't had a bad experience with any of them yet. God forbid. Quite frankly, they're from another time. A time when manners meant something and people said, "Hello" and "Thank you" at the very least. I'm not saying they're perfect. Who is? They just seem to know the value of civility. Good manners can take you practically anywhere. Forget good manners. How about common decency? It doesn't cost a thing. Someone please tell Britney Spears.

I felt somewhat frustrated after talking to the woman who told me that she won't walk into an art gallery. She is really missing out on how art can enrich her life. However, I felt her pain and found myself at a loss for words. Art people are people just like everyone else. They work hard and deserve some slack, but they can also be SO RUDE.