Monday, December 27, 2010

The Jar Project

I am going to be participating in the Jar Project, a local show here in Portland, ME this coming Spring. The show is being held at Whitney Art Works, which is really exciting because it is the first non-boutique style gallery that I will be showing in since I showed at Gallery 070 back in 2007. The show will be comprised of approximately 50 different artists, so I am sure that my piece will not seem incredibly large or anything, but I am still excited about it.

Thus far I have been really stuck on one of my wooden productions inside my jar'o'art. Here are the painted blocks thus far. I figure that if I find that I do not like this particular set up I can just make this into another one of the trim pieces and then move on with a different Jar Project. I have until the end of the month after all.

Here are the blocks:

I thought this line of blocks actually looked kind of cool not even in the jar yet. I still want to incorporate some kind of graphic element as well, but I am not sure why or how I intend to do it yet. This is an ongoing debate that I have with my adviser at school.

We'll see what happens. So far so good. At least some different things are happening. It'll all connect in the end, I'm sure.


Fractions of Image Plains

If you've been following my progression over the past several months you are aware that I have been seeing everything in rectangles and hard edged shapes. I have been putting together some installation work and many sketches for future installation work. Most recently I have been thinking about models for larger pieces done in complete obsession as a finished work. This is more about my obsession recently with Jim Houser and with touching upon some old imagery and thoughts in my sketchbooks. It occurs to me that I wasn't wrong that I was just too immature as an artist to create some of my ideas from earlier years.

I have been cutting and painting trim scraps and thinking about placing all of this business as a new sort of trim around my studio. I do not know if that is a deep enough intent for the academic art public, but I plan on running with it for a while and failing if need be. I've determined recently that I want to fail more. I do not think that I will be as successful as I would like to be until I start to go out on a limb a bit more often and attempt to fail. Failure is key.

Here is the first bit of trim work in the form of a complete piece that I have finished.

It is the top trim of the room. I decided to trim the double doors leading out of the studio first. This is the view that a normal height person gets of the piece. And here is the view of a really tall person or me on a chair.

Failures on this first attempt include:

the wire.
the head work in the back and the trim aren't perfectly married yet.
The layers do no fit together smoothly.

I am looking forward to fixing these issues. So here I go, Charles Mingus on the radio, saw in hand. Best of wishes to all of you for the rest of 2010. 2011 is a new year with new posts, new art, and perhaps new sensibilities. You never know.

Talk with ya later.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Of a Tree a Squirrel and Me.

I am very excited to show you folks the development of this new piece! It is hitting some of the same notes as the head installation but feels more significant to maintaining my identity as an artist over the last decade. All of the seriousness of art theory and and art classes, intent and content and practice have me thinking, and what they have me thinking about is joy. I've been making artwork for years, and I think the reasoning behind it was best put by a zine writer that I once read. "We Were Ugly, so We Made Beautiful Things". This is not to say that I think I was ugly, but rather to say that I felt edged out of the norm as a young adult, and that has forever shaped who I have become. I am rather a soft personality, and I love to make people laugh and smile. I do have "intellectual" things to say at times, but it is good to sit back, and realize, that I make things to help you my viewer and me, myself, to communicate, and hopefully to share a laugh, or a smile.

So now, after that preamble it might look like I am trying to pull the wool over your eyes while I make a piece with no substance. Not true. I think this one is going to be great, and has a lot of inside meaning to me, which I've determined over the past six months of school, never really needs to be shared, because you will read it how you will read it, and I don't want to mess that up. Everything means something different to somebody else.

So without further ado, here is the original sketch:

In keeping with the shapes from the last semester I want to use the different panels as different textures in a painting. I have been really into these textures but at the same time have no desire to re-create textures using a paint brush. It is more interesting to me to obtain the textures in a found material.

The tree does look a little different than in the sketch, but I've been thinking of the actual production of the pieces as a little more liquid, so that doesn't really bother me that much. I think that I am attempting to approach a little of Barthes' concept of Greek Rarus, or the concept of using chance and dispersion together to enhance the art making and viewing process.

And here is the squirrel that I carved. I am very excited to be doing a little bit of this again. I don't think that I have worked on anything like this since my show for Gallery 070 on Vashon Island. I really like it. Hopefully author and reader agree!

Gotta finish up some Christmas shopping and go see a good friend I haven't seen in a while, then it's back to painting and maybe some late night gift exchange. Have a good holiday!


Monday, December 13, 2010

On Sunday Morning I met a woman named Julika

Sunday morning the MECA MFA students all piled into a very small studio atop a lighting fixture store in Williamsburg in order to peruse the exquisite work of Julika Rudelius. She spoke incredibly eloquently of race and money and power, and also of the social male. She claimed that men in this time are equally if not more concerned with their looks than are their female counterparts. As a moniker, she dubbed them "Dandies".

I have never aligned myself with this sort of man. I am more what my very good friend refers to simply as "a dude". And so I decided to make some work about the subject, about how all people, men included have their anxieties, their situations that they just can't handle, the shortcomings and inadequacies that are what make us all human.

So with the head project still pumping through my veins, and a new goal in mind, I started thinking on the bus ride back from New York. Here are the results of my thought. Finals will follow in the next couple of weeks.

The text in the one on the left reads "emotionally fragile". It's funny when I start to admit to myself that I do have my emotional tirades on paper, that it feels so much better. I think that most people do though.
I really like this second one. I think all these text pieces should be accompanied by men with Sam Elliot staches.

So beat. Time for bed. We'll have to chat again soon.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

I tip my hat to you

I've been working with some new hat sketches and some new sketches for installations. I am still fighting to include a graphic element in all of the installation work, despite the fact that professors claim that the work is stronger without it. But I wonder if it is worthwhile to be strong work if at the same time it loses the piece that is fundamentally me, the author. How do I reconcile cutting myself completely out of the piece? I don't think I want to, so I'm not going to do it.

New sketches, graphic element included:

This piece I think is going to include a head and a hat rack with several different hats on it that people will be able to take off of the rack and apply to the cartoon's head. I am not sure if people will really feel ok moving the hats, so if you have any suggestions on how to make people feel welcome to move the artwork around, let me know. I figure it is kind of like clothing for paper dolls, but wooden.

This is a more formalist piece that I have been thinking about. I am not sure that I am really into it, but I like the idea of a history and a texture through the wood. Not sure where it is going beyond that though.....

Lastly, I've been thinking a lot about where the art comes from lately. The material collection grows more and more interesting. I think that I am going to try to document where I get all of the materials from in the future for an added layer of history. I am after all relatively obsessed with maps.

Hope you folks like the work. I'm pretty pleased with the revelations that I have had of late. Hopefully it will equal some good work for all of you to view as well soon.

Til next time.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

The End of the Semester...Installations & Such

This semester was absolutely crazy. It was a mental marathon and one that I will take the full 6 weeks to recover from and I think. For the next couple weeks I intend to focus on some more illustrative fun work. Watching Beautiful Losers today, cemented that thought for me. In 2004, when I bought the book, it really changed the way I created, how I felt about my work, and where I felt I fit into the art world. It did wonders for the development of my artwork as a viable option for shows and illustration work.

I would like to pursue some more work in the illustrative vein and really concentrate on the vitality of that cartoon imagery, hopefully pushing it into the installation work and not leaving the two mutually exclusive. Someone told me earlier in the year that everything that I do is connected, even if the only connection is that I did the work.

The last piece of school was by no means finished but I believe it was still a step in teh right direction. It was more interventionist in nature, and left a great deal of room for improvement, which I found to be a relief and not particularly a crutch. A good feeling.

I have also started sketching out more involved environments and more detailed installation pieces. I think that the endpoint of these pieces will be more sculpture than anything else. We will see.

This piece I intend to make in the round, preferably to be displayed in the middle of a room. I am not sure that I will be painting on any of the pieces, or at least whether there will be anything representational on the wooden parts.

This piece I would like to make into more of a fete of engineering excellence. The thought of balancing the large piece on a small fulcrum is immensely interesting to me and makes me think of the problems I used to give myself when trying to work with Legos and Lincoln Logs when I was a little kid.

But for now. Illustration. Cartoons. Whatever I feel like really. I might even play some guitar and exercise some hobbies or something. I'm going to get another coffee.

Til next time.