How Theodore Roosevelt’s words, not “positive vibes,” helped this self-employed creative survive 2020.

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Theodore Roosevelt

Like millions of Americans, I own and run a small business. Like millions of Americans, 2020 ran me through a gauntlet.

A lot of people took the time to ask me how I’m doing. I’m a talker, even an over-sharer, so it’s a damn good indicator of how tough this year has been that I didn’t like answering that question. I didn’t want to verbalize how my brain has been like a kicked bee’s nest with each thought darting around like a furious and panicking hornet.

Sometimes…


These nine artists primarily work in pen and ink — and aren’t just reviving an often-forgotten medium, but redefining it.

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Artist Rick Shaefer at work on “River Valley.” Image courtesy the artist.

In a world of glowing screens, pen and ink seems elegant and antiquated, like writing in cursive. Each of the artists below, listed in alphabetical order rather than ranked, creates ink drawings that are diverse and wide-ranging in both their own personal style and the subjects they portray. However, they share mastery over a medium that’s equal parts demanding due to its permanency and need for control, and transparent, as their hands have nowhere to hide. …


An interview with New York-based artist, Jesse Stern.

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“Impulse Response II,” 24 x 20 inches. Image courtesy the artist & Arcadia Contemporary.

In this interview, The Blue Review’s managing editor, Lauren Amalia Redding, asks New York-based draftsman, Jesse Stern, both about himself and his exquisite, tense drawings.

LAR: Tell us a bit about yourself both as a person and artist. Where did you grow up, and when did you realize — either through experience or education — that you were an artist or would pursue art?

I grew up mostly in Cambridge, MA. We moved around a bit when I was little, but I consider Cambridge to be home. …


Remembering the very French art model and actor, whose work touched a generation of New York City artists.

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Image courtesy the author

It was my first Halloween in New York City. A few weeks previously, members of our art school’s incoming class had all been christened “mon cherie” by one of the models, Christophe. For Halloween, he gallivanted throughout Brooklyn with us, as comfortable pounding sidewalks and alcohol with students as he was stripping down and posing in front of them during classes.

At one point that night, Christophe led the shy, stoic sculptor I’d been dating over to the side of a Rite-Aid…


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Image courtesy the author

I recently visited the Kennedy Space Center and saw, up close, the Atlantis space shuttle. Its viewing experience was like that of a modern temple: not just one, but two short movies to watch after carefully-modulated timed entry, explaining its origins and its steep trajectory — not only into space, but rather into test-trialed existence. A swelling of music and dimming of lights after the second movie, and the black wall behind the screen became a transparent screen of its own, a now-familiar spacecraft nose laying on the other side. …


Enjoyable, informative, and inspiring, explore these art podcasts both during — and long after — the quarantines and curfews.

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Artist & previous guest of “Lo-Fi” podcast, Raymond Bonilla, in his studio. Image courtesy Raymond Bonilla

Whether you’re jogging, driving, painting, wearing a mask, not wearing a mask, stuck at home or outdoors, podcasts not only help pass the time, but might also teach and connect you to something along the way. …


With Covid-19 compelling many to stay inside, these online exhibitions prove that you don’t need to go beyond your front door to experience wondrous, impressive art.

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Golucho, “Bodegon,” oil on board.

Many of us now spend so much time staring: at news channels, at Netflix menus, at scrolling feeds. Now indoors to self-quarantine or to work remotely, we remember that never changing out of pajamas has its upsides. However, our sights — the walls and screens of our now-restricted environment — are becoming a little mundane.

Enter eight dynamic and diverse art exhibitions, their works now online without any barriers to view them. The silver…


The crucial difference between putting out artwork and allowing artwork to happen.

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Lauren Amalia Redding, “Aries, Argonaut, Astronaut,” 2019–20, silverpoint, goldpoint & silverleaf on hand-gessoed panel

Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books that are now written in a very foreign tongue. Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer. — Rainer Maria Rilke

It seems that all my…


By focusing on skill, these seven art programs prove that what’s renegade revolves around the revival of representational art.

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Laguna College of Art & Design alumnus & faculty, Brittany Ryan, advising a sculpture student at LCAD, image courtesy Laguna College of Art & Design

A romantic vision of art schools evokes dusty, skylit interiors crowded with paint-crusted easels. Sitting upon each stool, rag-tag students repeat the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’ names. But they’re referencing the Renaissance artists Raphael, Leonardo, Donatello and Michelangelo, and not the cartoon.

This vision, of course, doesn’t exist — nor ever did.

If you read US News & World Report’s Graduate Fine Arts Program rankings, you’ll see many familiar Ivy League names, especially as Yale University dominates.


I lived in New York City for a decade and left it a year ago. Seeing it now on screen, rather than in person, makes me ponder my thoughts on what it was, what it’s become, why I loved it, and why I left.

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Where everyone wants what she’s having. Katz’ Deli, image courtesy Imogene Huxton, labeled for reuse.

A funny thing has been happening to me since I moved from New York City: I can barely stand to watch movies set there. …

Lauren Amalia Redding

Artist, writer & co-founder of H&R Studio in Naples, Florida. www.laurenredding.com

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