|A public sign from the series sign posts around Knoxville during SGCI 2015|
Last week I spent my spring break attending the Southern Graphics Council International (SGCI) conference, the biggest annual convention focused on the Printmaking field in North America. This year the conference was "Sphere," hosted by University of Tennessee-Knoxville (UTK) in Knoxville, TN. I went to SGC with another fellow BFA student, Erin Wohletz, and we had a blast there!!
We arrived at Knoxville on Tuesday afternoon, and stayed at the Hampton Inn in Downtown Knoxville. It was only a block away from the conference center. On our first night, we decided to check out the Market Square area, located near Gay St., Knoxville's art district in downtown. Erin and I enjoyed a meal at the Tupelo Honey Cafe, where we ordered their classic dish of Hickory Nut Gap Farm beef and bacon meatloaf with rosemary tomato shallot gravy, and a side of Orange Cranberry and Spiced Pecan Quinoa and Sweet Potato Fries. I love their meatloaf, but not a real big fan of the Quinoa. After dinner, we wanted to check out some galleries but most of them were already closed, so we came back to our hotel and got some rest to prepare for the first day of SGCI.
On Wednesday morning, we went to Jerry's Artarama, a big art supplies store just like Nevada Fine Arts in Reno (but at way bigger scale compared to Nevada Fine Arts). They had quite an impressive collection of Asian papers (Japanese, Indian, etc.) in different shades of colors. Plus, their prices were quite reasonable too. I would love to support an art store like Jerry's Artarama if they ever come to Reno. Erin and I bought some glassine (for the SGCI Member Portfolio Exchange that we both participated) and a storage tube for each of us (since we know we would buy prints and papers later at the conference).
Wednesday was officially the first day of SGCI 2015 with most part was for conference registration, portfolio exchange drop off, some touring around the conference center (where they already put up tons of great art for public viewing), and a keynote talk by Red Grooms in the evening. After registration, each of us received a "swag bag" with a copy of the conference book, including schedules, maps, exhibitions, etc. and some exhibition catalogs (those exhibitions ran concurrently with SGCI such as the SGCI Member's Traveling Exhibition and CNTRL + P: Printmaking in the 21st Century by Univ. of Tennessee Alumni), artists' stickers, show posters, and information on some printmaking programs/shops/opportunities around the US.
I met a friend from my undergrad at UNT, Ava Everett, at the registration so we spent sometime together most part of the day. It was really nice to meet Ava again and I got to catch up with what she had been doing in Texas. Later that afternoon, Ava took Erin and I out for dinner. We dined at the Nama's Sushi Bar, a Japanese sushi restaurant located at the Gay St. area. I got a sushi platter that was "custom designed by the chief" with my favorite salmon and tuna on it.
|A picture of Ava & I at Nama's Sushi Bar|
|TrendFACTORY by Leslie Mutchler|
|A picture of me admiring this piece|
|Selected works from Karla Wozniak|
|One of Mira Gerard's paintings|
|My favorite piece from Jolley's installation: Metaphysical|
|There's a glimpse of Knoxville city but the lightning really hammered the view|
That night, the bar was really packed, with crowds of SGCI attendees coming in and out of its tiny space. I ran into Jeremy Menard, director of Frogman's Print Workshop, and got to catch up with him a little bit. I attended a bookbinding workshop at Frogman's in 2013 and hadn't met him again since then. As the bar got really crowded, many people showed up and quite some people also wanted to talk to Jeremy so we couldn't talk much. But I was happy to see him again.
We left the restaurant and went back to our hotel around mid-night. Our first day of SGCI ended and that night we slept tight and were eager for the next day.
(to be continue)