Archives: art

Back in the studio today after a long time away. Two models at the same time, which was a new challenge, but look what happened! About a half hour warming up led to a two and a half hour sprint through to this:

back to back-a

I think struggling with oils unkinked my artbrain.

Oils? Yeah, I’ve been working with those too:

whisky glass-a

in the chair-a

Those were alla prima attempts done all in one sitting each, separated by a couple of weeks. You have to go fast, and the paint is always wet so you can’t fuss too much with fine detail because you keep smearing it away accidentally. Alla prima favors the bold.

Something I haven’t seen talked about much is the way working in different media helps you improve in the media you aren’t using. Every time I take a break from pastels, for example, to do a bunch of inks or watercolors or oils, I come back to pastels and suddenly they work so much better. This has even worked with photography. Focusing on one form of making images pays off in other forms.

I’m guessing it’s similar to the thing that happens in your brain when you practice something right before sleep. You go away from one set of problems and practice against a different set, but both problems use the same wiring to solve. What you learn in one is useful in the other. But the real key is that unless you jump to a different related problem, you don’t learn as much because you keep hitting the same routine solutions in the problem set you are familiar with.

It’s almost as though we are wired for a kind of altruism. Fix someone else’s problem to fix your own.

These are hard lessons for an introverted functional nihilist to absorb. Sometimes focus doesn’t pay. Sometimes play does.

Oh! Also I let loose another one of these:

The Occasional Bitslice: Volume 3 Number 1

It’s a newsletter I sometimes do, when I have something worth talking about. It tends to be more personal, sometimes, than the writing in this blog, though this one is split about evenly between recriminations and a long pep talk about the virtues of branding yourself. Lots of the people who read this are my friends, but it’s aimed at a wider audience. I like the idea of there being a channel of writing that slides into your inboxes rather than sits out exposed, staring off into the empty horizon, contemplating it’s loneliness.

The bitslice is too needy for that Clint Eastwood routine. The bitslice needs to be warm, inside your mail client. Read the bitslice, so it stops shivering. And if you like it, adopt it by subscribing:

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That’s all for now. Stuff is being worked on. There’ll be more soon.

the bleed

I’m paralyzed with intentions. Every time I move toward one action the pull of five others stops me. There are a dozen photoshoots, three web projects, a comic, some videos, two audio projects, and lots of physical artwork.

If even two of those get done this year it’ll be an accomplishment!

ink

Where am I?

November. Still sketching, but more to purpose this month. The goal is to accomplish a large piece this month. A thing with some weight.

cold

I’ll tag the posts that include work towards this project as ubi sum.

Where am I?

That’s the question this effort is meant to advance.

ubi sum

Zak Smith once drew an illustration for each page of Gravity’s Rainbow.

Today he has been tweeting a series of commandments for art criticism that are so good I’m going to collect them here for my own future reference.

The whole thing started with this lament:

To which someone asked:

and was answered:

then the floodgates fell:

For lots, lots more click continue…

society 6 page

I’ve got six pieces of artwork available to purchase as prints on Society 6.

These are pieces I had in a show here in Los Angeles back in the winter of 2011. They are some of the first figure work that I felt were complete enough to let out into the world in a form other than blog photos.

Available in multiple sizes in three formats:

  • Unframed: Gallery quality GiclĂ©e print on natural white, matte, ultra smooth, 100% cotton rag, acid and lignin free archival paper using Epson K3 archival inks. Custom trimmed with 1″ border for framing.
  • Framed: The Scoop frame is made from solid wood with a contemporary, scooped profile measuring 1.06″ wide x 1.06″ deep. A gesso coating gives the moulding rich color and a smooth finish. Premium shatterproof acrylic protects the art print, while an acid free dust cover on the back provides a custom finish. Includes wall hanging hardware.
  • Stretched Canvas: Fine art print on bright white, fine poly-cotton blend, matte canvas using latest generation Epson archival inks. Individually trimmed and hand stretched museum wrap over 1-1/2″ deep wood stretcher bars. Includes wall hanging hardware.

Click through and check them out!

Selling this stuff is a new frontier for me. It’s been a hobby and meditative practice for so long I’ve kind of gotten out of the habit of aiming this work at the outside world. There’ll be some more activity like this very soon, and I hope you’ll follow along.

Heh.

Calling it a meditative practice just set off spasms in my own skeptiglands. I know that sounds a bit woo woo. I was about to edit that back but instead I’ll leave it. That’s essentially what it has been. Three to eight hours per piece I’d have a model posing, and drawing from life really shuts down all the chattering meat in your head. It allows this wave of shape-seeing and translating that into physical motion in your body, the evidence of which is, in these cases, dust deposited on paper. Your whole mind is engaged in that. I leave these sessions feeling quiet and open.

Then for something like ten hours more per piece I’m working on it alone with no reference but memory, feeling out what the colors and values want to become. The desire there isn’t part of the paper or the chalk, that’s also the mind doing translation. It’s surfing perceptual static set in motion by what has already been recorded, catching surges of something, intent maybe, or memory. Things that happen to the left of consciousness.

Just stay in that zone until it feels unwise to keep manhandling it.

I’ve never been able to do meditation any other way, but this feels like what it’s supposed to feel like, I think.

So, woo-effing-woo. Buy a print! I meditated them up for you.

It’s about time for a check in on some new pieces and some old ones that have been worked on since they were seen last.

drawing

wake

venomous

tendrils

maybe the world should burn

These are four different models who I’ve been working with on and off for a couple of years now. This started for me as a way to meditate creatively. Having someone sit and drawing them from life shut down the work obsessive parts of my brain and allowed me to free associate with shapes and colors. I deliberately started doing this with no goals in mind.

Now I’m several years into this practice and I feel like it is owed some greater effort.

More on that soon.

face

Here’s a peek at some photo and body art work I’ve been experimenting with. As with all things, I’m not sure where I’m going with it, but I’m sure it’ll get somewhere at some point.

curve

The bodypainting was a lot more difficult than anticipated. Go figure – but living skin is not a very good surface for this. I could not get fine detail, especially once we had applied a full covering of cream based white. It was like painting on top of a layer of wet paint.

The original plan was abandoned and I had to improvise. We’ll try again with some kind of stencil scheme, I think.

painted

Animating paint with muscle driven skin could be a point to connect to the performance work I did decades ago.

Maybe there’s a way to take this in a tableaux vivant/performance art/dance direction, and produce pieces that can be shown in the context of a performance but the components can still be sold in pieces?

Bonus experiment: I’m still trying to make these anaglyphs work. Eventually I’ll have to give up and build a rig for mounting two cameras and slave them to each other so I can fire both shutters at once. There are limits to what can be done asking someone to stand really still and moving the camera slightly between shots. (You need those red/blue glasses for this to work.)

3D