February 27th, 2014
January 29th, 2014
January 17th, 2014
This is one of the first pieces I’ve created in 2014, and a part of what I hope will become a larger series featuring the beautiful architecture of row homes both in Philadelphia and beyond. I’m now on the hunt for houses. I carry my camera with me at all times, and can often be heard saying “Wait, pull over!” if I’m the passenger in the car. If I’m driving, it’s my children who do the talking: “Seriously, Mom? Again with the row homes?”
“That’s life with an artist, my darlings,” I usually respond, though I know they secretly enjoy being part of my process…when they come tip-toeing into my studio, the first thing they do is look at my computer screen to see what I’m creating, and they’ll often pull up a chair beside me as I work. Or, in the case of my seven year-old, will plop down directly onto my lap. He’s getting a bit tall for me to see over his head when he does this, but I love it nonetheless.
Sometimes I ask them for input as I work, and sometimes I finish pieces late in the night, long after they’ve gone to bed. They know they can always scamper into my studio in the morning to see what I’ve done while they were asleep and dreaming under the stars.
January 3rd, 2014
Tags: all in a row, food network holiday gift guide, food network magazine, michelle ciarlo-hayes, mkc photography, mkc photography studio, newsletter, NY NOW, pears pillow
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November 25th, 2013
November 1st, 2013
Those that follow mkc photography on Facebook already saw these two creations earlier this week, but I thought I might share them here as well. If the cobbler’s children never have shoes, then certainly the artists’ home rarely has artwork: it goes on exhibit, it sells, it never stays in one place for long. I decided to create something for our home with which I’d never be tempted to part: silhouettes of the boys at this wonderful age, surrounded by a Lewis Carroll poem (that’s another way you know it’s never leaving our house – I always use my original writing in my artwork, but since this is for our family, I’m okay with borrowing the words of my very favorite author).
I’m making gigantic prints of these and they will hang in our dining/music room, and when the boys eventually morph into unpleasant teenagers, my husband and I will still have these pieces to remind us of when they were all young and sweet and deigned to acknowledge our existence in public places.
October 31st, 2013
October 11th, 2013
These little – well, not as little as the used to be – hands belong to a kid who’s only been taking piano lessons for one year. Why only one? Because he likes to write his own music and do his own thing, and until he was eight, he’d refused to let anyone teach him anything other than the names of the notes. But that didn’t stop him from composing complex songs that sounded like they came from someone who’d been playing for years.
We never pushed him to take lessons. In fact, I wouldn’t let him until he promised he’d actually listen to his teacher, actually do the homework, and actually put in the practice time. “It’s not just about playing songs,” I said, “it’s about being willing to learn.”
Last year, he finally asked us if he could begin lessons. We made him sign a contract (“I will not roll my eyes or sigh heavily when I have to do my homework,” etc). After whizzing through one year and five levels of piano books, comfortably playing complex musical scores by Hans Zimmer, and being told by his very talented first teacher that he’s no longer able to continue working with our child because our child has already surpassed his teaching capabilities, I’m now holding a very delicate world in balance.
I don’t want the terms “prodigy,” “gifted,” “special,” or anything in that vein to be applied to him. It’s too much pressure. I know he was born with this talent, but there’s a lot of living left to do for a nine year-old and I don’t think it’s fair to burden him with external expectations. Is he amazing? Yep. But he’s my kid, so I’d think he was awesome if he could only pluck out “Mary Had a Little Lamb” with his index finger on a toy piano. But I don’t tell him he’s special. I don’t tell him he’s the best. I tell him I’m proud of all the hard work he’s put into learning this instrument. I tell him I’m happy to see how much he practices, even though it’s tough work sitting up tall and holding his arms properly. I tell him things, to borrow a phrase from my dad, that he can take to the bank.
I’ll still always make him sign no-eye-rolling contracts, though, because I’m his mother and that’s my job.
September 26th, 2013
September 6th, 2013
Many of you who follow the mkc photography Facebook page know I’ve spent the summer getting ready for (then exhibiting at, then coming home and making art to fill orders from) NY NOW. Many of you also asked what the heck it’s all about, so here is my attempt to summarize this crazy sole-proprietor-of-a-small-business whirlwind for you with a few photographs shot with a very unprofessional iPad. Hey, don’t judge…there was not one single spare inch left in the car to pack my trusty Nikon.
(For bonus witty commentary, feel free to mouse over the following photos. Actually, I can’t promise that it’s really all that witty. Or much of a bonus. But feel free nonetheless.)
Step #1: Ask your children for help redesigning your 8×10 booth space for the summer NY NOW show. Try not to laugh when they hand you a perfectly scaled, yet oddly colorful rendition of that booth, complete with Lego mom who has better hair than real mom. And Lego heads. Because no booth would complete without them.
Step #2: Insert every item necessary to build the above booth (minus Lego heads) into the car. Okay, so there was probably enough room to squeeze my camera right into that spot behind my head on the left. But I didn’t.
Step #3: Drive to NYC. Or, rather, have husband drive to NYC while taking annoying iPad photographs along the way.
Step #4: Arrive at the Javits Convention Center and begin glamorous job of unpacking car.
Step #5: Start setting up booth. Try not to cry when you look at clock and realize it’s taken you 1.3 hours just to get this far. Go get more coffee. Get yelled at by three union guys for trying to install your own lights on their turf.
Step #6: Seven hours, three cups of coffee, two tired people, and one dozen roses later, the booth is complete. Time for dinner in the city!
Step #7: Spend 10 hours every day for the next four days in this 80 ft. space. Meet a TON of gallery and boutique owners, members of the press, and fantastic artist neighbors. Write orders with really wonderful stores and realize your work is now in nearly 50 stores across two continents. Also realize you won’t be sleeping very much once you get back home to the studio…time to make some art, people!
In closing, I’d just like to say that my two children managed to get pretty close with that Lego model, didn’t they? They’re hired.