How we got to Europe!

Hello!  It’s been a while.  Last time we blogged, we were trying to sell our house in a hurry so that I could go to school in Barcelona.  So much has happened since then!  We have been on an interesting adventure to say the least.  It has been nothing short of a series of uncanny miracles, almost too many to write about in one blog.  So I’m going to start where we left off on our blog last summer when we were thinking about selling our house.  This was the start of our adventure: a faith journey of believing our dreams could come true. Last summer, there were so many serendipitous events that surrounded my ‘By Endurance We Conquer‘ exhibit at Bromwell’s.  Between 2014-2016, I made 19 paintings about Sir Ernest Shackleton and his brave crew going to Antarctica on the SS Endurance. I exhibited them at Bromwell’s to celebrate the 100 year anniversary of the crew’s rescue.

The exhibition opened in July of 2016, and it was during that time when I felt like God was challenging me to apply to the Barcelona Academy of Art, an atelier offering courses in classical approaches to art.  I didn’t have the money to do this at the time that I applied.  In fact, I barely had enough money to cover our living expenses in Cincinnati.  And I didn’t know how it was going to possible for me to have a house, pay the mortgage, while paying tuition and paying for an apartment in Barcelona.  So it seemed impossible and impractical.  But again, I felt God challenging me to believe that all things are possible with Him!  So I applied.  And I got in!  Over the next several weeks, we were caught up in a whirlwind of activity, packing our house and studio up into boxes.  We still had no idea how we were going to pay for going to Spain, but we took steps of faith.  And just in the nick of time, we sold enough art work to go!

20160829_180320It was like a wink from God that we even received a check in the mail from a client of ours on the very day that Shackleton set out on the SS Yelcho (a boat loaned to him by the Chilean government) to successfully rescue the rest of the Endurance crew who were waiting for him on Elephant island.  The check was postmarked exactly 100 years to the date!  You can see for yourself on the PBS NOVA website how the timeline matches up: August 25th 1916 and August 25th 2016!  I couldn’t make this stuff up if I tried!

the-good-news(This is a painting I did in June of 2016 about Shackleton’s rescue of his men on Elephant Island.  The ship he left in on August 25th 1916, the SS Yelcho is in the distance.  He made it to Elephant Island on August 30th.)

Not only did God provide the financial means for me to get to school and get an apartment, He also provided a solution for what to do with our house while we would be away.  And what is funny about that is the fact that it was an answered prayer that I’d actually forgotten about.  Let me explain:

Early in 2016, I was dreaming about spending time in Europe and going to Barcelona Academy, but I didn’t see how it could be possible.  And I didn’t know what would be the wise thing to do with our house.  So I took a day to fast and pray and ask God what to do.  I was willing to lay my dream down if that was what God’s best plan was for me.  So I asked God, ‘should we sell our house or should we rent it?’   The next day, I walked out my front door and I’m not kidding, there was actually a ‘for rent’ sign laying right there on our front sidewalk!  I had no idea where it came from.  I was on my way to the grocery store with Evan, and when we got back home, the sign was gone!  So I said to Evan, ‘hey, I think that was God’s answer to my question!  We are supposed to rent our house!’  At the time, Evan didn’t like the idea of being a landlord, and he preferred to sell it.  So I let it drop and continued to wait to see what might happen.

Fast forward several months later: It’s the end of July and I just found out I was accepted into Barcelona Academy.  It’s exciting news, but we had no money and only six weeks to sell our house.  We met with a real estate agent, who said to us basically, it would be very difficult and next to impossible to pack up our house, get it ready to sell and actually close a sale on it in time for me to get to Spain.  Well, that same night after meeting with the real estate agent, we went over to visit our neighbors and told them about our good news of me going to school and our house dilemma.  And it just so happened that our neighbor’s daughter was wanting to leave Indianapolis and head back to Cincinnati.  Our neighbor encouraged Evan to contact her and see if she’d be interested in renting our house.  When Evan messaged her that night, she happened to be out with a friend talking about how she wanted to move back home.  She responded right away to Evan’s message and said, ‘I’d love to rent your home!’  And on top of that, she even agreed to take care of our cats for us!

(Our black cat, Moshi loves to hang out in the bathroom!)

It all worked out perfectly!  And this was just the beginning of our journey.

Stay tuned for the next blog where we tell you about some of our adventures in Europe!  

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Meditation Gallery Talk at Wash Park Art Gallery

Here’s an insight into our artists’ brains!

Evan and I hope you enjoy this view behind the scenes of where we draw our inspiration (individually as artists) and the process of collaboration as husband and wife.

This talk was filmed by Evan Mauntel at Holly Doan Spraul’s beautiful gallery in downtown Cincinnati, Wash Park Art.

 

 

GIVE GOOD STUFF

Bromwell's give good stuff

It’s the time of year to give BACK Good Stuff.  We are so blessed this holiday season, but there are many who are not.   Want to help me help those who are in need?   The wonderful Bromwell’s crew is helping me create a way way to share some of the good stuff this season with others.   When you buy a piece of art from my unique collection of Cincinnati Icons, priced $150-$175, 20% of the purchase price of all of these pieces goes to City Gospel Mission.

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Find out more about their great work at https://citygospelmission.org, and visit the store to select one of these thoughtful gifts right off the gallery wall.  Bromwell’s is conveniently located in the heart of downtown Cincinnati, Ohio at 117 West Fourth Street.  https://www.facebook.com/Bromwells

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Hope begins with a meal, shelter and lifesaving care.  When you give to City Gospel Mission, you are helping provide someone with food, shelter, recovery, and education.  This wonderful organization is doing some amazing things to transform our city:  https://citygospelmission.org/us/

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Big Ideas!

Hello friends and family! I wanted to write to tell you about an exciting idea that I am getting ready to launch and I need your help!

This past September, Alison and I went to Ensenada, Mexico to help the organization, Youth With A Mission (YWAM), to build a house for a young single mother Guadalupe (Lupe) and her son, Giovanni. YWAM builds over 1000 houses every year for people who are in extreme need. We were able to see first hand what a great organization they are and how much good they do for everyone involved in their community.    It was quite an experience that left an indelible mark on both of our hearts.
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During the last night of our stay in Mexico our minds began racing about how we could continue support for such an incredible organization and to help so many families. For Alison and I it has always been a big thing to give back in some way to those less fortunate than us.
As we began thinking, an idea that I have been developing for over a year popped into my head. I came up with an idea to create small affordable works, 8×10 inches, that I could sell and split the proceeds between a charity and myself. Each limited edition piece would cost $150 and I would split the proceeds where the charity got the bulk of the cut– they would get $100 from every piece sold. After doing some pretty simple math, my mouth dropped and I could not believe how much we could make for charity if we only sold even a small amount. If we sold 1000 pieces, the charity would get $100,000!
As soon as I got home I went to work. I produced around 100 studies to figure out what kind of art I would want to make in bulk. What I came up with really blew me away!
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They were all so beautiful and even looked good as a set. I call them gems or geodes and they are absolutely beautiful.
I am currently in the process of making my first 1000 limited edition pieces and have already produced around 100 studies.  I have also hired 2 students that worked with me on The Strong Man mural in OTR this past summer as helpers.  Not only can I make a living wage with this project, but I will also be employing artists and will be able to give a large donation to charity! All of this for purchasing a great piece of art, it is a win-win situation for everyone involved!
It is so exciting to see the possibilities of this project, but I need your help.  In order for me to continue, I will need more supplies and a bit more money to pay for help that I am using to create these pieces. I currently have around 100 pieces already made, and another 400 in various stages of completion. If I can sell 100 or more by the end of the year, I will certainly be able to buy more supplies, pay my workers and produce 1000 pieces, which will put me well on the way to my first goal of donating $100,000 to charity!
If $150 is something you can afford for a piece of art, I humbly ask you to consider purchasing one of my “Gems” to help this project move forward.  I will be at my studio every Saturday from 10-4pm between now and the end of the year.  Please consider stopping by to see what we are up to and purchasing one of my works of art.  I can not wait to hand over a check for $100,000 to help build more houses for the neediest among us.
My studio is on the 3rd floor of Bromwell’s downtown at 117 west 4th Street. I will be at the studio every Saturday between 10am and 4pm. Also feel free to email me any questions at evhildy@hotmail.com
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What a summer!

Alison and I have had quite the summer! Here are some of the fun things we got into since May. There are so many good things happening in our life, here are a few highlights!

We started off the summer with an incredible show at The Carnegie art center. Alison and I both felt great about our work and it was a fun experience working together to curate the show with Jessie Boone and Amanda Hogan Carlisle. We are currently working together again for another upcoming landscape show!  Check out our previous blog post for more images of the show.

Evan’s work: https://theartpocket.wordpress.com/2014/05/19/the-struggle-to-become-who-we-already-art-self-portrait-by-evan-hildebrandt/

Alison’s work: https://theartpocket.wordpress.com/2014/05/19/adam-and-eve-a-portrait-of-humanity-by-alison-shepard/

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The day after the show came down, Alison and I left for an adventure in Europe! Our first stop being on the tiny island of Mallorca, Spain. For the first 8 days Alison taught 7 students in water color painting and we traveled to various towns around the island and painted. We had such a blast! We stayed in a small town called Valldamosa with Alison’s uncle Patrick who had lived on the island for the last 30 years. It was such a gift to talk to Patrick and hear about many of his amazing adventures.

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After several days in Mallorca we then went to Barcelona for a couple of days to explore and check out some of Antoni Gaudi’s incredible architecture and listen to some great street musicians.

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We then went to Surava Switzerland and stayed for a week with an incredible artist, Patrick Devonas. It is hard to quantify the experience that we had while in Switzerland, but it was truly magical. We were also able to spend time with another incredible artist, Dorian Iten.

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We are now in the process of bringing Patrick to Cincinnati for a workshop! http://www.ateliernarasca.com/en/workshops/

Our trip is still continuing on!

Upon our return, I was asked by Artworks to complete a mural at 1215 Vine in OTR. Yet another incredible thing that happened this summer. You can read more about the mural here: http://www.cincinnati.com/story/news/2014/08/18/strongman-artworks-jason-snell/14210909/

I am very proud to say that I worked on this mural and the kids at Artworks were fantastic to work with!

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Then in the midst of all that was going on, we are starting an art consulting company called Glow Collective. Along with Alison, we are working with two other incredible artists, Collin Rowland and Dan Augur of RowlandAugur. It has truly been a blessing to work with such wonderful artists and we are looking forward to doing some great projects in the near future!

We are having an interior designer event on September 25th and a public opening on September 27th from 6-9pm

You can see more info on our website here: http://www.glowgallery.org/

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It has been quite a summer and things are just getting started!

The Struggle to Become Who We Already Are: Self Portrait, by Evan Hildebrandt

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This is a collaborative piece I did with Alison. She painted the figure and I made the abstract elements of the painting and constructed the pyramid sculptures. Each translucent pyramid contains a sculpture embedded within it: a fist (the power or will of man), a sphere (the breath and transience of man), and a skull (the intellect and pride of man). We wanted to revisit the idea behind the Vitruvian man showing off the perfect proportions of the human body, exploring both the divine harmony and beauty of these ideas, as well as the folly of the human ego.
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The struggle to become who we already are: A self portrait.
Taken as a whole, the exhibit is a portrait of one human experience expressed though the creation of art, the specific life experience of me, artist Evan Hildebrandt. Family, friends, spirituality, social issues, science, life and death are expressed through various mediums and imagery to give myself a better understanding of who I am and what life is about.
My work is a practice in education, teaching myself about subjects through the creation of art. I do not set out to make a work for the enjoyment of the viewer–although I hope that the viewer does enjoys the work and gains from it—it isn’t necessarily made for the viewer. The work is made for me to come to a greater understanding of whatever subject I choose through the creative mode of learning. I do not intend to be a teacher, but a student.
The sheer act of creating allows me to meditate on and ponder whatever subject it may be that I hope to gain a better knowledge of. Through this act of creation, I am better able to understand the subject on a level that cannot be achieved through written knowledge, meditation or observation alone. The physical act of creating the work brings forth deeper revelations about the subject on which I am working. Many times even after the works are complete, new revelations come forth and new understandings are achieved.
With the series, The Struggle to become who we already are: A Self Portrait, I intended to look deeply into the age old question of who am I and have produced a series of work that I believe has given me a better understanding of this question.

Adam and Eve: A Portrait of Humanity, by Alison Shepard

The Carnegie was a wonderful venue for showing my Adam & Eve series. Evan and I helped to curate a show in the main gallery at the Carnegie with director, Matt Distel and artists Amanda Hogan Carlisle and Jessie Boone. This show was called, “Recongnized: Contemporary Portraiture”. It was a great experience and we had a wonderful turn out at the opening. My Adam & Eve series was under the umbrella of this theme of contemporary portraiture. I was very honored and excited to be showing my work in the Duveneck gallery for many reasons–it’s a fabulous space and I have always admired the artist Frank Duveneck, after whom the gallery is named. These photos don’t quite do the work justice, but they give a good sense of the scale of the work and how lovely the Duveneck gallery is.
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Adam and Eve: A Portrait of Humanity

The Genesis narrative of creation has continued to fascinate me for years. As a portrait of humanity, it is ripe with psychological and spiritual fullness in its explanation of human nature. The story of Adam and Eve is a poignant illustration of how we were made with the capacity to choose love instead of fear, and how we deal with fear by feeling shame and hiding. We hide in a number of ways, both from ourselves and from each other. We often live under the masks of addiction and denial, all the while not realizing that we are hiding from God, and thus cutting ourselves off from the ultimate source of real love.

It seems that from the macro to the micro, humanity struggles with a deep-seated, toxic fear of self, God and others; and from this fear springs forth all the myriad problems and violence that plague our world today. Humans (and entire countries) are afraid of the sense of inferiority they feel in the presence of another who might have more or something ‘better’. Like Adam and Eve after eating the fruit, humans often feel naked and ashamed, and so there is a desperate attempt to cover that sense of being ‘less than’ by hiding, accumulating and insulating. This can manifest in a variety of ways: from consuming material goods and knowledge; creating weapons of mass destruction; taking drugs; over-indulging in food, exercise, spending; to lusting after power, control; to blaming others for our problems, and the list could go on and on . . . .

And yet before the fall, Adam and Eve were naked and unashamed. Their nudity was a potent symbol of the sense of confidence, safety, freedom, and peace they must have felt. They must have felt unconditionally accepted and loved just as they were, comfortable in their own skin. This is the illusive Eden we all long for: a world free from shame and fear. For me, that world is not so much a space as it is a person. Part of my goal in this series, was to come to a deeper understanding of this person, the Creator of all that I perceive and can’t perceive with my five senses. Historically, the Creator is often portrayed in art as detached, or as an angry judge; but in this series, it was my goal to depict Him as furiously in love with humanity, to the point of being willing to sacrifice what was most valuable to Him in order to ransom them.

Love by its very nature must be chosen; it can’t be forced. Because of that freedom of choice, there will always be the risk of humans choosing the opposing forces of love, such as fear, envy or malice. So perhaps it is absurd to expect to see a world of freedom and love. But I do believe that we experience hauntings of heaven here and there while we traverse this terrestrial plain. And by making a portrait of humanity in the persons of Adam and Eve, I am beginning to understand the redemptive power of love to bring about healing and restoration to anyone who would choose to receive it.

Alison Shepard, 24th of March, 2014