Wednesday, December 06, 2006

The Big Give-away.

Appropriating Words

It’s the holiday season and in the spirit of this time of year I have decided to give away a piece of my art. Last year I had a similar event where I asked everyone to email me on a particular day, at a particular time. I opted not to do this method again, considering it caused quite a problem with my email provider when hundreds of emails hit them all at once. This year it will be a competition of wit and intellect. Are you up for the challenge?

This year’s competition is a competition of words, in particular, creating new words. This idea came to me after my friend and artist, Nicole McConville invented a word to describe her work: sigilation. In her case she took the word sigil and modified it to suit her own meaning, in a different form. Check out her site at I was fascinated by the concept of inventing a word to describe one’s art. This is nothing new,really, artists have been doing it for a long time. Dada, Modernism, Montage are a few examples of artistic inventions. Your challenge if you choose to accept it, is to invent a an word pertaining to art.

It could be a noun, verb, whatever, but it MUST be original and not appear in any dictionary.

Submission guidelines READ CAREFULLY!!!!!!!

  • Invent a word. It must somehow relate to art, artists, the artistic process, or creativity.
  • It can be any type of word, noun, verb, adjective, adverb, etc.
  • The submission must be original and not appear in any dictionary.
    • You can create it from an existing root word. For instance: Neo-shrinalist (a term I jokingly use to describe my art) would be acceptable or as in Nicole’s case: sigilation from the root sigil.
    • A nonsense word would also be acceptable (Dada would be an example of an invented nonsense word).
  • The word must be submitted as an actual dictionary entry.
  • It must have a pronunciation key. You might need to cut and paste the symbols into your entry.
  • Your submission(s) must be emailed to me at by January 3rd 2007
  • THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT: The subject line of the email must read: artspeak (it needs to be one word, in lower case. Any variation in the above spelling will never reach the selection committee.
  • Two submissions per person…that’s it no more.

The Selection Process

The judges will consist of Nicole McConville and myself. The entries will be judged on the following merits.

  1. Is it original?
  2. Does it pertain to art, the art process, or some aspect of creativity?
  3. Is it inventive or witty?
  4. Does it roll off the tongue?
  5. Is it catchy?
  6. Did the entrant follow the submission guidelines?

The Prize:

Keeping with the theme of the competition I have created an assemblage piece using a old dictionary. It is valued at $500

The Winner

The winner will be announced on January 19th via email. The winner’s entry and the entries of the twenty-one runner-ups will be posted on my site ( and on my blog (

Good luck and happy wordsmithing,

Michael deMeng

Sunday, December 03, 2006



the prospectus for the give-away will be posted in a few days. A few things have to be figured out.
I just finished the piece of art for the prize. It's an assemblage book-shrine. I will post an image with the info.

Also I've changed my site a bit. I'm getting it ready for some changes that will be happing in May.

thats it for now, I need to get ready for some skiing...snow is everywhere....woooohooo.

for now I'll give you something to look at...a recent commission.


Thursday, November 30, 2006

deMeng Holiday give-away coming next week

Hey eveyone,

ART Give-away
Last year I gave a piece of art away for the holiday. I've decided to do it again this year. Next week I'll announce the specifics, but to give you the heads up, it is more of a competition and should be pretty fun. So stay tuned and more info will come your way. I'll give you a clue (though I don't think it will help figure out the nature of the competition), go to Nicole McConville's site:
Next week it will all make sense...I can't wait. Now I have to go and make the prize.
Tell all your friends, the more entries the more interesting.

Are you curious yet?

Next order of business
thanks for all the comments on "My Favorite Piece...Ever"
to Jane:

to Carolyn:
Yes, anything I teach at Saluda will address the techniques used in this piece

to Hilari:
ding ding ding...correct! those are car beads

to Miz Carla
yep a ton of liquid nails...see you in Virginia.

to Peggi
I do love it when it comes together...finally!

talk soon,
p.s. I guess I won't have time to clean my studio.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

My Favorite Piece...EVER

Okay, so I've created my favorite piece of art to date. Periodically this happens where you finish a piece in which you surprise yourself of what you are capable of. This is such a piece. Sometimes you wonder what happened on that particular day. Was it the blend of coffee I drank? Was it the Seinfeld episode that was on the night before? Who knows? All I know it is moments like this that keep me creating. Making art is emotionally exhausting, and very seldom a blissfull experience. For me it is a battle with myself to find something worthy of sharing. Some pieces are less of a battle and fall right into place, while others drive me to the brink of smashing the art into smithereens.

Like most of my work, the piece is intuitive. At first I had no idea what it was about, then, at the end of the internal tug of war, I realized it's meaning. It's quite a personal piece and won't go into detail, but it has to do with the city of Sienna, Italy...thus the title "Sienna"

Hope you enjoy,

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Dia de los Muertos 2007

Hey all

As many of you know the city of Oaxaca is in is so sad. What a beautiful place. Hopefully it can be that same magical city and everything will calm down. This has put the Day of the Dead workshop (2007) in the land of question marks. I have been talking to Colleen Darling (my organizer) and we are looking at a few options. Perhaps things will miraculously turn around and all will be well in a year. Another option that has popped up is moving it out of Mexico (there are really only a few places that celebrate D.O.D. with the zest of Oaxaca), and into Antigua Guatamala (the picture above is Antigua- I was amazed at how much it reminds me of Oaxaca). Apparently Day of the Dead is well celebrated there. We are checking with everyone who wants to go and see what sort of consensus there is. So just thought I'd keep everyone informed for now.

And Gris,

If you buy that bet I'll be there with whoever wants to follow.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Came across some nice work by Peggi

These two pieces are by Peggi Meyer Graminski. Thought they were quite nice...not to mention appropriate in relation to my last post.. Check out more of her work at

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Happy Day of the Dead

Days of the Dead are underway. I just got back fromValley Ridge after a great weekend of teaching and friends and food. Oh...and I spoke to a dead person...actually she spoke to me. Not going to go into that right now, I must ponder this a bit, but very wierd, and I'll leave it at that.

The above image is my ofrenda (dia de los muertos altar), which I just completed. About 15 years ago my friend Bev Glueckert and myself started a contemporary arts festival based on the Mexican holiday. Bev and I retired from the organizing position about 5 years ago, but it is still going on. Tomorrow is the procession..thousands of skeletons and giant puppets wandering down the Missoula night time street. Check it out if your in the area...its amazing...but dress warm. I have to go as el Diablo, because I'm playing a judge in the Miss Dead Debutante Pageant...hosted by Burnt Parts.

Today the SteamRoller prints are being made (large banner prints for the parade pressed by steamroller). Very cool and done by the printmaking department of the University of Montana.

Here's the link to Missoula's Festival of the Dead

see you there,

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Okay okay...I know it's been a long time

Yeah, yeah, yeah.

So now I can sit down and write a bit. It's been a bit of a crazy month. Since I last posted, I have taught at Art n Soul. Which was great. I love maybe I do love it so much that I will marry it. I stayed with my friends Rob and Stace (who put on my, Sally Jean's and Nina's Italy workshops), great to see those guys. One of the classes I taught was the Holy Rolling Hot Wheels we had a race off at the end. Great fun. Here's a photo from the class.

After Portland I had to turn around and fly to Burbank to film a couple episodes of CraftLab for HGTV. that was fun. It amazes me how many people are involved in a t.v. production. some of you may know Jennifer Perkins, the host. It was great to see her again, and I have to say everyone involved was great and fun to work with. One thing, if I do this again, I'll bring a good book to read...amazing how much down time there is....luckily I had a eighties decor dressing room to hang in.

Getting ready to head to Wisconsin for my teaching gig at Valley Ridge. This is one of my favorite venues. It's in beautiful setting, and Kathy and Bill are great. I love the laid back mellow retreats. I highly recommend taking a class there if you find one you like.

In the mean time I've been doing some assemblage retratos (look it up). No peeking. I'll post them when I get a few more made.

ciao for now

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Retablos, Milagros Y Marigolds

Here something coming up at the end of the month for those of you in Southern Cal. Unfortunately I won't be able to be at the opening but at least my art will. Check it out if you can.
October 28-Nov 17 at the Boehm Gallery Palomar College, San Marcos. Participating artists [and my friends] are Helen Shafer Garcia, Judith Parenio, Michael deMeng, and Jane LaFazio

Reception is October 28, 4:30-6pm. Everyone is invited! (The artwork is for sale! Ask the gallery for a price list.)

Retablos, Milagros y Marigolds will be a fantastic exhibition! The four artists have very different styles and techniques, but the one thing they share is the love of DETAIL. Each piece will be textured, layered, fascinating, and demanding extreme scrutiny by the viewer. Helen Shafer Garcia, well-known as an illustrator and watercolor artist, will also have small altars on display, featuring her whimsical watercolors and found objects. Michael deMeng, of Montana, creates assemblage out of ‘old rusty things’ and then painting them to create shrines, altars and pez dispenser totems. Judith Parenio, whose work you may have seen at the San Diego Art Institute is constantly recreating her art with texture, and meaning. Judy’s created a whole new series for this exhibition. Jane will show her small, heavily stitched art quilts, along with the debut of her pieces in Ralph's Letters and Ralph's Envelopes. Theseese are made from 30-year old love letters and sheer organza, and will be featured in Cloth Paper Scissors magazine in January 2007. The four artist’s views of Dia de Los Muertos will fascinate and inspire you!

Boehm Gallery on the campus of Palomar College
1140 West Mission Rd, San Marcos CA 92069
Gallery Hours: Tuesday 10am-4pm, Wed/Thurs 10am-7pm; Fri/Sat 10am-2pm

Saturday, September 30, 2006


I have a new bunch of goodies. Haven't put them on my site yet, will do in the next day or so. Some new anatomy men assemblages. These are all cyclopian...not sure why.



For those of you who don't already know, I will give you the skinny on glues. Liquid Nails is my glue of choice and there are three to consider.

I use regular Small projects (gold tube with red tab…the glue is beige). Strong and great for making chunky texture. Takes paint very well.

I use Liquid Nail Clear for areas that you don't want to disguise with paint. Useful on glass or lenses. Similar to E6000 and just as stringy.

Now if you really want to get serious a product that is stronger than either is Heavy Duty. You have to buy a caulk gun. It is similar to the Small projects regular but stronger, much stronger.(gold tube with blue)

A few things to remember that none of these are magic. They all have limitations. Remember the more you use the longer it will take to dry, though in the long run it will be stronger. As far as the heavy duty and the small projects regular, they work best if you aerate the glue…in other words stick your objects together then take it apart and restick them together (for some reason getting air into the glue helps it stick.) Also these beige colored glues tend to be a bit ornery in humid or hot climates, and take a bit more time.

The clear is a bit better in these type of climates.

I have yet to come up with the ultimate glue, someday perhaps.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Excuse me M.A.M.

For those of you who don’t know…M A M, the Missoula Art Museum has just completed its expansion…dare I say reinvention. It is amazing. You will leave saying: “This is really in the town of Missoula? Cool!”

For those of you who want to read more can read more here:

Now for my shameless self-promotion

I will be teaching an adult assemblage class (something shriney…tba) at MAM on Saturday November 18.

They are offering a nice selection of classes there, so if my stuff is not you cup of tea, I’m sure you can find something that will get you excited. They are offering a variety of classes from a variety of instructors. They have everything from kid’s classes to found object sculpture to bookmaking to figure drawing to Day of the Dead ofrendas.

If you want to find out more call the Museum 406-728-0447

Saturday, September 09, 2006


The wildfires are killing me. Man, I have had the worst case of allergies and headaches. Couldn't imaging what it woud be to live further south and closer to the fire. There seems to be a thin layer of light soot on everything these days, and the sky is pale yellow most of the time. Makes for amazing sunsets as well as blood red moons.
Heres a photo of the Derby fire (the big one, 250,000 acres). We have had a couple fires here in the Missoula Valley this year where the slurry bombers zoomed in to drop retardant. We've been fortunate, however, the fires were put out fast. Shot taken byMike Granger, a fire fighter.


Friday, September 08, 2006

New Stuff on my site

Okay after hours and hours and hours of messing around I have finally updated my site. Lots of new pages, in an effort to keep things better organized. I'll be adding more new goodies by next week. For right now you can see all 21 of the Matchbook Sketches as well as know what exactly is for sale and what isn't.

what a job...whew. Let me know if you find any problems....please don't find any.


Thursday, September 07, 2006

Oaxaca Dia de los Muertos 2007

Okay, its begining to feel like Fall to me, which means that it is begining to remind me of the Day of the Dead. I wrote a little article in this months issue of Somerset Studios about some of my experiences in Oaxaca during this event.

Next year as many of you know a friend of mine, Colleen Darling, is orchestrating an art retreat during this grand event. Here's her letter:

deMeng de los Muertos

Once again Michael deMeng is returning to Mexico and invites you to join him in the magical city of Oaxaca, to create art and celebrate what is perhaps the most beautiful event in the world, Dia de los Muertos, the Day of the Dead. This year he will be conducting an assemblage class that teaches students to transform discarded cigar boxes into found object retablos and shrines. This class will incorporate a variety of techniques including collage, drawing, painting and, most importantly, assemblage. Anything and everything will be used to create this reliquary, (sawblades, gears, you name it). Of course, since everyone will be in Mexico, the land of found objects, everyone will have to be on the prowl for rusty goodies lying about. Along with the Cigar Box Retablos, the class will also create an ofrenda. Ofrendas are wonderful shrines that can be seen in homes, cemeteries, and local businesses; they honor family and friends that have passed away. Usually adorned with personal effects of the deceased, they are then decorated with marigolds, candles, skeletal toys, sand paintings, on and on. Truly amazing and plenty of examples will be visible throughout Oaxaca this time of year.

So join in the celebration…you will truly be inspired and amazed.
October 26- November 4, 2007
Colleen Darling
Home 805-688-1221
Cell 805-448-1509

Wednesday, September 06, 2006


hi gang,

I've been locked away trying to finish the text for my book. I usually do most of the writting at a cafe called Liquid Planet, where I usually have two quadruple Macchiatos (sp?).

I've also had some time to do some art. I started a new series of sketchs...matchbook sketches. Most of you have never seen any of my drawings, so here are some for you. Of course, I couldn't stand just having a drawing without some found object...thus the matchbooks. Check em out


Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Secrets of Rusty Things

Hey all,

check out my NEWS page to see the cover to my book! I'm quite thrilled! go here for a closer look

Off to AZ next week for Art Unraveled. During the shopping extravaganza I'll be debuting my Chamsah shrines (Eye of Fatima in Islamic cultures...eye in the hand to ward off the evil eye).
I'll post some images in the next couple days.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

sorry I've been gone so long

Hey gang sorry for the lag in blog posts. Been crazy busy.

Just wanted to share a couple of goodies. I'm featured in couple of new books by Terry Taylor...and yes that is my work of the cover of the Altered Object. So check them out.

My book, "The Secrets of Rusty Things" is coming along swimmingly. Cover shot might be available to see at ArtUnraveled in a couple of weeks.

Okay, back to work for now,

Tuesday, July 11, 2006


Hey all,

back from Ft. Collins and the Artists Nook. A great three days of junk, paint and art.

The work turned out great and it is always a great treat when the artwork produced is so individualized. I worry sometimes that as a teacher you can force a style onto people, even unintentionally.

Great times...once again I am leaving this week for another workshop, this time in Idyllwild, CA,
at Idyllwild Arts.

I not getting much done in the studio, but at least I'm meeting lots of cool people.

More later.


Saturday, June 24, 2006

The new issue of Belle Armoire is now in Barnes and Noble. Guess whose lurking around in the pages. They did a really nice job.

Also, check out my buddy Traci Bautista's article in the same issue.


Thursday, June 22, 2006

Here's to Heros

Hero of the Year
Hey everyone I just received an email from my friend Bernie Berlin. She's busy saving unwanted animals, and recently emailed me with the below info. In a nutshell she's trying to raise money for a shelter through Animal Planet's Hero of the Year prize.

Here's what Bernie wrote:

This has been such a busy 6 months for me with the animal down here in need & I'm still not unpacked from moving.. My sweet friend Carla saw a contest on Animal Planet to nominate a Hero of the Year for those who help the animals. I don't really like contests nor do I consider myself a hero. I do what I do for the animals, because it is the right thing to do, because I care and have been blessed to be able to do it. I wasn't too keen about it, but then she mentioned there is a ten thousand dollar prize. Hmmm... Chin scratch... Blink, Blink... After much thought, I decided, that I could buy alot of dog & cat food not to mention vet bills, raising awareness, and the building of my shelter. Carla and her art group have been very supportive of me and my rescue efforts for years and for that I am truly grateful. I'm grateful to so many, you all included for all your support and putting up with my animal fixation:) Trying to think about the bigger picture for the pets & my cause. I'm trying to get over my embarrassment in regard to the contest, so if anyone is interested in helping me help the animals here is her link with the information she put up to help spread the word: I guess animal planet is asking for certain info, address, birthday and phone. So here it is if you want it. Bernie Berlin 375 N. Jones Road Portland, TN 37148 414-732-3211 9/17/65 As I'm writing the Claudine is also working on something so please check out her as well: She is officially the Vice President for my shelter. We just received our official not for profit status!! So we are moving forward!!!

Just some eye candy. Off to Cincinnati this weekend...

Sunday, June 18, 2006

I haven't forgoten you guys

Sorry for the delay in posts, but I've been a little overwhelmed as of late. I've been busy writing, arting, junking, and plotting. That's right plotting. I have an idea...not going to give to much away yet, but coming in 2007 (i would hope) I'm planning another art give-a-way. This one will be of epic proportions...that's right...epic. Not just an art give-away but an adventure, because you have to earn the prize. Intrigued...well me too. It will take some time to work out the details but just wanted you to be prepared. Ha Ha! Nothing like a cliff hanger.


Monday, June 12, 2006

much to little time

As the song goes
Time keeps on slipping slipping slipping...into the future....blooooap, blooooap, bloooooap (that's kind of the sound it makes in the song)

another studio day...trying to get caught up. Mostly preparing for the photo shoot coming up at Northlight books in a couple weeks.

Here's a peek into a peephole of a piece i just made. what does the outside look like...well you'll have to buy the book for that.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Back from N.C.

Saluda was great. I highly recommend visiting this little town...quite purdy, plus plenty of lightning bugs (which we don't get in the west) so that is always a treat. I met some way cool people and Jane and Paul of Random Arts were great hosts. So in a nutshell if you're looking to take a class somewhere in the south, this would be a great option.

While I was in those parts, I hooked up with Nicole McConville and Terry Taylor of Lark Books (I'm in a few of Terry's upcoming books); the treated me to dinner and showed me the sights of well as the after hours tour of Lark Books. Very nice of them especially since my upcoming book is being published by NorthLight and I could have been a spy. ]

Nicole...who is an amazing artist as well...check out her work here: sigilation
She and her husband purchased an old bank building and it is a way cool place to live...wunderbar! Not to mention her creepy clown and crazy monkey collections.

Back for a few off to the studio.

Michael deMeng