Monday, August 27, 2007

Newspaper Article

Somerville Journal
Consumed by creativity
Local artist paints, sculpts, teaches and sells art
By Ryan Rose Weaver

photo by Zara Tzanev

Scott Cahaly, a sculptor and painter in Somerville, sat down at his
computer last month to write a letter to his friends. “As fate and my
bank account would have it, I have recently been taking on commissioned
work. If you’d be interested in a representational portrait in my style
of you or someone you know, please contact me.” Since then, Cahaly has
received two commissions, projects he gladly embraces as a means to a
full-time career as an artist. He’s been working toward this ideal for
the last 10 years. Cahaly has not always been an artist. He received a
revelation 10 years ago, he said, while meditating near the University of
Vermont at Burlington, where he was struggling with a major in English,
his second since coming to college. A voice spoke to him and told him he
should become an artist instead, and since then he has pursued this aim
single-mindedly. One of Cahaly’s earliest projects nearly consumed
him. After acquiring a 5,000-pound stone from a quarry in Vermont, Cahaly
dreamed of the sculpture inside, fully formed, a valley-shaped piece with
a woman’s face quizzically tilted sideways on one side, stocky limbs
grace-fully jumbled on the other side. He spent three years bringing the
design to life, then named it “New Nazca Stone” after the enigmatic,
ancient lines carved in the sands of southern Peru. Years later, the
piece still sits in his studio, still waiting for its patron to come. It
still weighs a hefty 2,500 pounds. When searching for a studio, Cahaly
said, he finally settled on the Mad Oyster Building on “the other side
of the tracks” in Somerville because his space, formerly a storage area
for heavy telephone company equipment had reinforced floors. The last
thing he needed after years of carving and carting the huge sculpture
around, he said, was to see it crash through the floor-boards. While
Cahaly’s computer now allows him to keep in touch with past and
prospective patrons who help him keep his dream afloat, technology is also
partly to blame for the slowed pace with which Cahaly’s career has
gathered momentum. The end of the millennium was not kind to nascent
artists like Cahaly: the dot-com boom, during which art sales rose with
stratospheric tech salaries, had disappeared by the time Cahaly began his
craft. “I started in quicksand, and I’m only now coming to dry
land,” Cahaly said. Many artists are finding their way to his
particular strip of dry land, on the corner of Pearl and Bradley streets
near Union Square. Near the Mad Oyster building is the older Brick Bottom
studio building, and like other waves of Somerville immigrants before it,
this budding artist’ community is growing as one member helps another
get hip to a good opportunity. “It’s becoming the new Cambridge,”
Cahaly said, then lowers his voice, as if revealing a secret. “But
don’t tell anyone that.” The stark intersection, which lies far from
any T-stop on a dark, littered street, may not yet be fertile ground for
luxury condos. But inside Cahaly’s studio is another story. At night,
it is lit from within by a riot of lamps, strewn with worn sofas, and
covered top to bottom in enormous paintings exploding with color. “New
Nazca Stone” sits squarely in the center, dwarfing a small meditation
altar that balances against one large industrial pillar. Smaller
sculptures, each about a foot square, are lined up like sentinels around
its perimeter. These pieces are more recent, and more sophisticated,
seemingly carved by water instead of Cahaly’s hand, marked only
subversive natural features left rough that hint at the human anatomy.
Cahaly describes his art as “just something that comes out of me,” but
the result is expertly composed, with deliberate color choices done by the
book. Not everyone wants to own, say, an elephant skull made of duct tape
(like a work recently displayed in the South End) but Cahaly’s work is
eminently consumer- and viewer-friendly. His paintings evoke familiar
icons such as hearts, spirals and Picasso–esque human figures; his
sculptures almost beg to be touched, and are small and sturdy enough to be
carried or placed on a coffee table. Both make an easy and instant
connection with audiences of all stripes; this is not likely lost on the
many galleries who have hosted his work in recent years. Cahaly now has
a regular stone sculpture teaching gig at the DeCordova Museum in Lincoln,
and maintains a healthy schedule of gallery showings in well-regarded
Boston and New York venues. Yet so far, it is the community-based
Somerville Open Studios event that seems to have created many of
Cahaly’s sales leads, including the e-mail list he used recently to call
for commissions. One of Cahaly’s first collectors was John Coulter, who
lives a stone’s throw away in Union Square. An independent carpenter and
composer, Coulter purchased two of Cahaly’s early paintings, and said
his relationship to Cahaly is one of fellow artist rather then patron.
“Renovation (of a house) is very much a work of art. The tile mosaics,
the colors, the Feng Shui of it… I’m aligned with that energy, what
painters are doing,” Coulter said “(But my) music is eternally in the
ether, so it’s good to own something like sculpture or painting. I
wanted to connect and have something real.” Lori Falzarano, a real
estate agent, purchased of Cahaly’s paintings this year. She frequently
travels from her home in New Hampshire to see shows in Boston, and always
tries to make time to see Cahaly during open studios. “Scott and I
have become pretty good friends because of his art,” she says. “I
can’t afford the sculpture, but I really love (the piece) that’s in my
living room. I love the colors- it’s almost like stained glass.”
Cahaly is still continuing to search beyond Somerville for customers who
can buy his larger and more expensive pieces. Until then, he is cobbling
together small side projects to make rent, like his portrait project,
which Cahaly sees as “a nice balance” between bread-winning necessity
and structured creativity. His process is to take a .jpg of his subject,
sketch out the basic lines of their facial features, then color within the
lines as he likes. “If someone started nitpicking about the way I do it,
I’d just say “forget it,” said Cahaly. “I need to have that
creativity.” It’s difficult to imagine telling the strong-jawed
artist, whose manner is deliberate and firm, what to do with his art.
After all, a muse who requires its subject to change majors, change
addresses, and sacrifice three years in the name of one sculpture is
perhaps not a muse moved by rent checks alone. But for his collectors,
this sense of something that is not always malleable, tangible or even
conscious is precisely the selling point.

“His stuff is very refreshing to look at. He’s in touch with that
inner creative child. It touches something in you, because that’s where
creativity seems to be, before we get bogged down in life,” said
Coulter. “But his mastery of form and shape and colors keeps you engaged
as an aesthetically evolved adult.” -August 16-22, 2007

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Aorta Energy Data

Hello to anyone reading this blog. I have not blogged here in awhile, the blog has kind of sat like soil under the frozen snow. Now its time to thaw it out. Alot of beautiful growth is happening within me, created through emotional pain but ultimately channeled into a new artistic direction. Tomorrow is the fourth of July and I am here in my studio painting my head off. I just started doing yoga again in the last two weeks which has allowed me access to more personal power. I really like how yoga allows the chakras to opened up and for more energy to flood in, I still feel great from it today and hope to be doing Yoga classes at least twice a week. It is an intention I want to stick.
I just finished a large painting which may or may not mark a new direction. My attempt with this one was to take familiar imagery and painting symbols and attach them in a much more loose way. This spring I did an awful lot of realistic work, portraits, religious scenes, commissioned work etc. I love this type of work but it is to clear what it is. Something about abstraction , its almost like realism on a level of perception we as humans don't have. Kind of like a big mystery. There are alot of hearts in this new painting, hurting hearts, protected hearts, and bursting love filled hearts. The universe can certainly serve up a hard dish of disappointment in this life and its good and important to protect the heart, give it time to heal and ultimately let is burst forth with new loving energy. There are also abstract images throughout the painting, including colorful serpents birds, eyes but for the most part, the painting is a color/information explosion which isn't supposed to come off as to rigid. Its just a beginning in a new directions of my emotions, visualisations and technique and color pouring all out over the canvas. Aorta Energy Data is kind of like an assessment of where a persons emotional stamina is at from an abstract visual perspective, like having data shown on a screen or(canvas) on any subject area. Yes, no secret, this is my Aorta Energy Data.
I am desperately missing Stone carving as I have been painting for six months now, but feel I still have to push further in this direction of new imagery to see what comes out and feel confident that the cool days of fall will be an adequate window for me to slip back into my stone carvers shoes. Namaste, ~Scott~

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

The American Breakfast (global warming style.)

The American Breakfast (global warming style.)
0il, 36x36” 2007 Scott Cahaly

I really enjoyed this painting and worked on it diligently. I felt my foot floored on the gas petal with this one. The imagery evolved as usual, the idea of a breakfast scene on a stove top just arose. I've been enjoying breakfast lately, with great coffee beans, delicious Trader Joe's bread, eggs, etc. It seemed convenient for me to paint a quick globe as I have painted the planet oodles of times in the past two years. I just placed the earth onto a pot on the stove over hot coils. Immediately I imagined smokestacks coming out of the United States on the North American Continent with smoke billowing out all over the painting. To fill out the outer portion of the painting, the American Flag showed up, a peace dove, the twin towers and the statue of Liberty. It seemed very foreign trying to paint such realistic subjects for the first time in a long time, but knowing the painting was Manhattan bound, it somehow seemed appropriate. If you follow the flag up and around the painting it ends up or begins in the smokestacks, sort of saying that we "America" are the polluters via smoke or flag! There are alot of symbolic messages happening, the Trade Centers for one which were destroyed at breakfast time! The Statue of Liberty and her torch up in the air almost burning the American Flag. The coffee being poured into a mug on the stars and stripe is a clear reference to breakfast and politics. The toast popping up high into the painting almost mimicking the airplanes and peace dove. There is much secondary imagery happening leading the viewers eye around the composition. The red of the flag which circles around the composition is complementary contrasted by the green center breakfast scene.
This is not only a clear political statement but marks my growth as an artist after ten years of painting. This is the first work I have completed which is rooted in the world. Almost everything I have created up to this point has originated in my subconscious with either references to abstract imagery or other artists work from the past. This painting marks a new direction and philosophy for what will follow it.
This painting is going to the Protest Gallery 511 W.20th st. New York . The opening will be Saturday night the 24th of March. The show will run through the beginning of May. -Scott.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Spaghetti Monster

Feeling the need to blog. Something is going on with my art, very peculiar. Its recreating itself. Seems after the new years, I went through some sort of tunnel, deeper into my vision and my subconscious then I have before. First painting back was Spaghetti Monster, inspired by a pasta dinner in Falmouth with Shannon. The figure is all colorful and is holding a fork and knife in hand literally shoveling spaghetti into his mouth. Originally I was going to name the painting, Spaghetti or Pesto, but on a chance spell check of Spaghetti on dictionary .com I was lead to a wikepedia story about the flying raelien spaghetti monster. Something about it stuck instantaneously. I just got rid of the flying part and kept the rest. Sometimes I think, the title is as important as the piece, but probably it should be a proper cherry on top of the painting sunday! The painting was finished and within a week I had med a gallery online in Manhattan in Chelsea who wanted some work for me for their current show. I had no plans on going to NYC then at my birthday dinner at the Middle East on Feb 18, my friend Elliot just randomly asked me if I wanted to go that week. He had a job interview on Thursday. On that same day, I had already received an invitation to an Andy Warhol opening at my friend Cynthia's loft on 13th st. So I said, ya lets do it, Elliot, Paul and I went. He had his interview, Paul brought his camera for the party and I dropped the painting off. The gallery I dropped the painting off at was a small little space on 24th st. across from the famous Gargosian Gallery which shows artists such as Richard Serra etc.. The gallery is set up in an organic underground sort of way with alot to see, from floor to ceiling. The owners are two artists living in the NYC area and tired of all the sterile galleries in Chelsea. They wanted to do something different with this space and they have. I left my painting there and plan to go back and get it in Mid-March, that is if it does not sell. Anyway, not to digress to long, I feel really inspired and hope to bottle this feeling and make it last. cheers, Scott

Thursday, January 11, 2007

A movie and Scotch!

Well here in my studio on this 27 degree night, I'm glad winter decided to show up. Being a visual artist I find the cold months extremely inspiring and usually get alot done. No big distractions outside, except for the 65 degree day on Saturday that forced me to get some sun on my face while disregarding my current Earth Painting. I have been carving stone since early spring and just went back to painting. I kind of burnt out of three-dimensional ideas in my little sculpture studio, I admit it, its fine. I have always split the year between painting and sculpting. Both mediums have a symbiotic relationship and inform the other. Check out my "Creation Sculptures" and look at "The Earth's Magnetic field" I think it was one of my better pieces I came up with this year, it will be on display at the Decordova Museum starting at the end of the month. I am in a nice little break time before my teaching starts at the Decordova in a couple of weeks. I have been busy painting and reading several books. I have been reading this Abraham Material. Abraham is a whole group of spirits that is channeled through a human medium, and her husband writes down the sessions. Its much like the Seth material, Jane Roberts channeled decades ago. Abraham is much more powerful in my opinion, they talk all about the power of attraction and not just visualizing the reality you want to create, but adding genuine emotion to it starting in the belly. The rational is that if you want something and concentrate on it you will get it. I have been pretty good with this programming lately, have even been writing notes in a journal I was given at Christmas. These phrases are so beautiful and powerful, I transfer them by pen to paper as I want to revisit them again and not just the next time I read the book. Well right now I am inbetween time which is probably why I am blogging. Yesterday was fun, spent the whole day with Shannon. We ate breakfast in a very over-priced but fun breakfast(brunch) place in the South End called the Buttery. Then we drove to a matinee(?) at the kendall theatre called "little Children" It was excellent, the perfect kendall, forget about yourlife, live vicariously through others type movie, Starring Kate Winslet, and Jennifer Connoly for those who need "eye candy" like me. Then we went to whole foods on river st. in Camb and had dinner at the salad bar. We both have a great affinity for everything about whole foods and I exclaimed over salmon pasta, that I never know where I am unless I come into this whole foods regulary. Then we did a little food shopping, grabbed a bottle of Ravenwood zinfandel and went to a friends house where we proceeded to drink the bottle along with some single malt Scotch that was provided by the hostess. I can't really rememeber drinking Scotch in the past, all I can say is I think it opened up my chakras.... Went to a really fun macrobiotic dinner party in the South End Saturday night, with good conversation and great people. Over the holidays, I think I racked ten or so dinner/parties including two hanukkah parties. Somewhere in my mind a dradle is spinning.......... Anyway, my attention span to this writing is starting to move into a new interest, so I am gonna go. Will try to write more often this year. Peace, S.