Sunday, January 10, 2010

Looking Back - A Tiny Retrospective

As you all know, I've been working on graduate school applications for the past several weeks. Today I finally started to give my portfolio a once over. I usually hate looking through my old work. I don't like remembering where the work has been, but this time, it has been really good for me I think. I had nearly forgotten what my work used to be like, which is a shame, because, I miss it. Now that I am looking at it, I am thinking how much I miss it. It had an emotion that I haven't been working with the past 2 years.

Somewhere along the line, I lost something. It wasn't anything specific, it was more a vitality thing. The life is not the same. So, upon looking through my stuff as a large body of work, I started to think that mentally I am throwing out the second half of this last year, not because it didn't have its good points, but because it is not what I want to pursue so much as what I was pursuing in the spring of 2007. The spring of 2007 was awesome, and yet incomplete. How do I take some of the painting skills that I have bettered over the past couple years and combine them with some of the rawness that I had freshly out of school?

And then I think to myself, "holy crow, I just justified reasoning for wanting to go to grad school in the first place". That is a much better answer than I want to grow as an artist. I have a purpose; I want the vitality of my older work combined with the painting delicacies of the new work and voila, I have something oh so much closer to what I wanted in the first place.

I've decided to share a couple photos with folks:

This is a piece from my first solo show at Gallery 110 in the summer of the 2006. At the time I was really into machinery and mechanics. I look at this now and start to get excited about mechanics again, which is an awesome feeling. The show at Gallery 110 was so awesome too, I miss the naivety I had about the art world at that point as well. I thought that the first solo show was all I needed to "make it". Now I wonder what "making it" is all about anyway.

This is a piece that I working on in my studio on Shilshole in Ballard, WA. I met my buddy Paul there and eventually traded him this piece for a sweet sculpture which is in my studio today.

At the time, I was still obsessed with mechanics but had moved on to water flow and pipes. This was not so much a precursor to the pipes in the sky pieces but kind of another extrapolation of the same concept. If you know my work and have been following me for sometime, you can see that this piece was originally a robot head drawing before I started working the bonsai tree in. You can catch the jaw line around the arrow. The pipe lines started as teeth lines as well. Weird, but awesome to look back at now.

I remember offering this piece to a local charity who was all about taking the piece of art for a raffle fund drive, but was not so into the idea that they were willing to drive from West Seattle to Ballard. Their loss in my opinion. I hope Paul still likes the piece.

Next up is another image from the Gallery 110 show. I did have other shows, quite a few actually, but this show is really ringing in my subconcious now because of the way it made me feel, the things that I learned, the other things that I should have learned, and the over arching theme of the day: How do I combine yesterday with today?

I "LOVED" this piece. It was the biggest pain in the butt to put together, and I remember Molly Norris-Curtis ended up attaching the piece in the back when it sold so that the buyer wouldn't be too frustrated. Remember I said I learned a lot from this show? But I look at this piece today, and remember my television plants phase, and joining panels together and how raw it felt, and how awesome it felt finishing pieces at this time, and I think again, how do I go there again, how do I feel so energetic and excited again? Somebody shed this cowl that I have over myself. I want that back. Preferably right now.

Lastly, I give you a piece, that I don't really have a very good picture of, but I didn't even think that I had documented at all. I finished this piece the day before my show at Lunar Boy Gallery needed to be delivered, at about four in the morning. I love it, but the painting is lost somewhere in Seattle. Who knows, maybe it just ended up in the dumpster. To anyone who might know where that stack of paintings that was at Latona went, could you give me a heads up? And to any young artists out there, always makes sure that you are the one dealing with your art, not somebody who you are "pretty sure" will grab it for you after you move 14 states across the country.

I still love all of this. It feels like is has been so long, and I guess really it's been almost seven years now that I have been trying to make it as a professional painter. Seven years. I've come so far, and yet, some would look at me and ask if I've gone anywhere at all. I don't have a good answer for that anymore, but it is so awesome to be able to look at some old work, and remember that it wasn't a chore. I didn't and still don't mind being poor. I have had an awesome seven years and I very much would like to get into graduate school and continue this journey, because I finally think that I am ready to listen to someone tell me how to work again.

Please keep your fingers crossed for me. And thank you so much to all of you that actually read this and follow my art. You are all so kind.


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