Sunday, November 18, 2012

Get Alone

For the most part this was a very productive week.  I have two days in Portland and then it is off to New York state to see my folks.  I'll be traveling with my art school buddy, Ed.  It will be nice to take a break, though I wish that I could have gotten more done with this series of work before I left.  I suppose I'll have a little time in the next two days though.  We'll see.  I am not usually too productive on the days that I work in the deli.

This week was notable especially for noticing the similarities between commonly used subject matter.  I always think of my work in terms of different series, but of late I have been cross-pollinating these different subject matters in order to  arrive at a different set of imagery.  It's been good not only in developing new compositions but also in realizing all of these subjects are really driving at.  It was a very good week all around.

Here is some of the yield.

I think that my body of work is really starting to make a jump in quality.  There is something about reacting to prior actions and size and spacial restraints that really gets you thinking like an artist.  I am very pleased with the results.  As my friend Ed said today, "You've really been working."  I had wanted to get 200 pieces done in October and November.  Admittedly that is a ridiculous clip which is preposterous to keep up with, but I can say that I have finished over 40 pieces thus far, which isn't so bad.

Hope all is well with you.  I'll be back soon.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

On a Roll Like Joltin' Joe

Sometimes you just understand things better, you see better, draw better, perform better and generally live better.  You feel on fire.  You feel like the thoughts that you were on the verge of unveiling are all coming out at the same time.  You see the connection between disparate ideas as clear as day.  You develop and you grow.  All of these feelings seem to follow a slew of bad ideas, misunderstanding and trouble seeing the big picture.  You find yourself struggling through these moments to reach the moments of clarity.  It's as if you are on a drug that pitches you manically from the super high to the super low. 

I have been riding the high for the last day and a half.  I have shut myself off from the world.  I have had epiphanies.  I've slept very little.  I have made some work that I am pleased with.  There are new opportunities in these pieces and that makes me very happy.

I am looking forward to this weekend.  I'm going to make soup and eat bread, work on more paintings and listen to new music.  If I manage to make it out of my house I am going to go see the Man With the Iron Fists finally.  If I don't, then I will listen to some more Wu-Tang than I was planning on.

I hope you are all riding your highs.  I have to try to come down.  Kitten time.


Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Eons Later

I was so upset for the majority of the day.  I think I started off on the wrong foot when I was trying to work on the animation that I've had in my head and couldn't get it to work with the animating plugins in Photoshop CS3.  I looked at my clock and realized that I was going to be late to work.  That was it.  I was cranky pants for the next 9 hours and that's all that it took.  I never did figure out the issues with my animation, but I did get home from work in a very cranky mood, ready to make something new.  I started to look at the stills that I had drawn out from the animation and realized that there was something more in the drops than I was getting into.  I drew out one with the idea of painting the drops at the forefront of my mind, worked up the colors and was somewhat pleased with the results.

I had promised a friend I would meet him around five.  He was hanging out with a photographer friend.  They were talking some serious shop.  I do not know this jive language and soon became bored.  I started to think about this piece some more and as soon as I reached home again started thinking about cleaner color and less line work.  I came up with these two revisions.

I have been doing quick drawings which depend on painting in the negative space for so long that it seems odd to paint in the positive space again.  However, by working with that flat space for so long I've determined that I really enjoy the colors flat and have carried that flat treatment over to these positive filled pieces as well.

While working on the last two, I realized that my bad mood was dissipating.  I called my father and listened to him chat while I drew and eventually painted the second piece.  By the time I was done on the phone I had realized that what I really needed was to spend some time on my work today, to push myself to do something slightly different, and to accept that you don't always have to follow through with good ideas.  I put on Peggy Honeywell and let the soothing banjo and alto voice carry me into a blogging and social state.

I hope you dig the work.  I'm very excited with the possibilities of crossing this with the last several series.  Hopefully it yields something interesting.


Sunday, November 11, 2012

Late Nights, Commissions, and the Upswing

This week I had a serious breakdown.  I felt completely burnt out.  The idea that I could take a break didn't really occur to me.  Nor did the idea that maybe I was expelling too much effort in one direction when perhaps I should consider a more balanced method of attack.  My roommate spent a few hours trying to convince me to make my work travel down the prints and greeting cards route, while my friend Ben suggested that I make more conceptual decisions with my work.  Really, I keep coming back to the idea that the two bodies of work are separate entities.  I make creatures and illustrations which are cute and inhibit the ideas within my more conceptual work.  Eventually the two will coexist in the same evironment, but I have an entire lifetime to figure out that dilemma.

For now I consider myself fortunate to have a number of different projects to keep me occupied.  Somewhere in the past couple days I realized that it is better to have a couple things to work out in your studio and creative practice than to have it all figured out.  Having something to work toward keeps the process fresh. 

After the talk with my roommate I looked up prices for making Giclee prints of my work, something which I think that I will do after figuring out the real costs.  I enjoy the idea that an image doesn't need to be killed off after it is sold.  However, I do not think that I can ever exist only on attempting to sell prints.  As it is though, I will be offering signed prints of this image for a ten dollar fee through my Etsy store or if you prefer to just contact me at mike at lewisacrylic dot com. 

The original is still available as well through the Etsy store for roughly twice that.  I find it interesting to attempt to price work.  I do not feel justified to charge extraneous amounts for work that I produce incessantly.  I think that thus far at least my work has been produced at such a prolific rate that to charge much more for it would be inconsistent with my views on work to profit relationships.  I'd be interested in hearing what others may have to say about that.

I've also been producing new images in the Vertical Series as well.  I do not think that I will ever attempt to make prints of these.  The concepts that drive this work depend upon multiplicity, but my own multiplicity of production, not a fabricated production.  Reproductions would inhibit the idea of these images I feel.

Today I also met with a friend who is commissioning a large scale rendition of a work produced in the same manner that my thesis was produced.  This is very exciting not only because I have get to do a large scale work for someone but also because I get to work out the issues that I discovered while working on my thesis six months ago.  I couldn't justify attempt to re-envision the piece without some financial motivation, but now that I have that, I am so excited to work on this new work.  I will share the sketches from that piece soon, once I have everything a little more finalized as to placement.

lastly, the conversation with my roommate touched upon how worthless it is to show in galleries, which was immediately contradicted by an email from The Hive Gallery who is having a recycled cd art show.  I couldn't help but make something for this show.  I was just too excited about the idea and whipped this piece out last night as a result.

It amused me to reference a discman in my image for the Recycled CD show.  I will be sending that piece out on Tuesday.  Things are coming together again.  The upswing is always so nice, and while the rock bottoms in my mood that I experience grow harder and harder to deal with, the time that these rock bottoms last decreases each time that I get them now.  There is a lot to look forward to, a lot of work to make, and a lot of opportunities if I am just looking for them. 

Here's looking out.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Some Thoughts of Late

In the past I have tried to keep this blog and the notes in my sketchbook separate.  I always thought that what I mentioned in my books was too much information for the public to be ascertaining from my work, however in the past several weeks while looking at Keith Haring's journal entries, I've realized that some of these notes might really help me get closer to the truths that I'm after.  If people are more aware of the truths that I am after, they may understand my work better, and they may also be able to more adeptly make comments and observations via this medium.  Essentially, I am wondering if I am more open with my process, if this blog could become a more valuable resource for readers to understand, influence, and be involved with the work.

I have two major projects on my mind.  One of these is the vertical series which I posted a good deal of last night.  The other is a piece that is similar to the piece that I did for my thesis work back in May.  A fellow who frequents the same coffee shop as I do has commissioned a work from me that is similar to that piece.  The Vertical Series on the other hand, I wish to cater to the Portland Museum of Art's Biennial.  It would be spectacular for me to get into a museum show at this point in my artistic career.  I would really like to make a success of that.

While sitting in Bard the other day I started to reason out what I thought the connection between the public viewing my artwork and me making my artwork was.  This quickly got me sidetracked as I am always interested in the channels of communication.  I wrote "it is always the people, always about the connection.  Solidifying the connection", and then I referred to a Hooray for Earth song lyric, "if a wire connects between two houses does that really mean we're all connected?"  I am very curious about this connection, where it fails, where it succeeds.  Who finds this blog?  Who reads it and who just looks at the pictures?  Who, when sitting in front of my work, gets what I am thinking?  Does anyone? 

I will go into further depth with some more examples later tonight, but for now I must be getting ready for work.  I will leave you with the initial sketch that I have drawn out for Mr Packard's commission.

I hope this week finds you well.  It's back to the grind for me and I'm ready for it.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

It is November Already

Sometimes it is crazy how fast time flies by.  The past couple of weeks I have spent a lot of time hanging out with friends, running errands, providing a shoulder to cry on, being that guy that provides amusement.  It was good, but by about Monday of this last week I felt spent.  It is hard to be completely social and still attempt to work on a bunch of art work.  The two mind sets are not the same for me.  I definitely need my social time, but I have been neglecting my art time way too much since about August.  Monday was the night that Sandy hit the Maine coast and I spent it re-organizing my half of my apartment so that it is nothing but one big studio space.  I set the futon up as a couch which I've been sleeping on and set up the desk in my room as a study, much like in a Sherlock Holmes movie.  I just need a pipe and a deer stalking hat.  I already have the roommate.  He's a manager of an art store, but we'll call him Dr. Koniezcko for now.  Anyway, my studio looked dope by the end of Monday night.  I started to read.  I have a book of Keith Haring's journals that I have just recently started.  It is amazing and provides all of that support that I needed to complete my thesis six months ago.  That is irrelevant, however.  The book has been making me think again, making me consider my own artistic dreams, and reconsider some ideas that I had a while back.

A little over a week ago, I was also given a number of panels from a good friend whose studio and gallery needed to move.  It couldn't have worked out more perfectly.  With the new found energy I cancelled my trip to Lewis County in New York and didn't tell anyone here in Maine.  I spent the next three days holed up in my studio.  It was lovely.  My head started to think again.  I started to play a little more with the vertical series, to the point where I no longer think that I can get away with calling it the vertical series now.

I placed a number of the panels in a grid as I finished them.  The first grid was just a four pack, but started to make me think about the various layers of missed connections and interrupted lines of power.

I was pleased with this, but then started to think about how many of these I could actually place next to each other without effecting the continuity of the piece as a whole or the pieces serving as the constituents.  I came up with this block of nine by the end of this evening.

I was very pleased with this collection of pieces.  I found myself really thinking about combining old school cross hatched illustrations, Mondrian, and comic book illustration.  The layout of color was very much influenced by Mondrian, while the colors that I picked were more referential to Lichtenstein and the Sunday Comics colors.

Here are a few of the panels in greater detail.

This has been a great project so far.  I'm excited to continue working on it tomorrow.  Everything seems to be coming together nicely again.  Until then.