Tuesday, August 14, 2007

The motives of an abstract artist

I heard the statement below uttered once amongst a forum of artists that truly shocked me....

"Art started as a history, a way to record the past! not, Ohhh! look at what the poor, depressed artist splattered on the canvas, then came up with an explanation for!"

Unfortunately, I believe this to be a sad social commentary on the general atmosphere that seems to surround the abstract artist.

It is true that there are artists who embrace abstraction purely for its markettability...but their dollar driven choices do not speak for all who choose to express themselves through abstraction, just as I do not expect a predominantly realist artist to even begin to attempt to speak for my motives as a painter of the abstract.

The sort of archaic way of thinking quoted above is the same sort of thinking that led the Impressionists of the 19th century to break away from the academically realist French Salon and create their own venue in which to be seen and hopefully, finally be taken seriously as creative forces with ideas and messages to convey - no less important than their realist counterparts. From this spark ignited an art for art sake revolution, leading us through Pollacks overly analyzed drip paintings at its height. Just why is it so incredible that more than one person might find paint splattered onto a canvas purely about the medium with which it was created fascinating in an early 20th century America and beyond? Is it more incredible that people would continue to piggyback off of an idea, be it splatter paintings, clothing styles - or if we really get philosophical - just about any idea or advance in an infinately evolving society? Furthermore, would it really be so amazing to consider the possibility that when an artist like Pollack has an explanation for his work, he might not be speaking out of his ass?

Could it be that when Joseph Albers painted his "Homage to the Square" series of minimalist, smooth, precise blocks of color, he really did want to "proclaim color autonomy as a means of plastic organization"? Or is it truly so incredulous to wrap ones mind around the thought that Albers had a vision and wished to convey it through large colored squares reminiscient of giant post it notes?

What about Chris Ofili's contemporary works, utilizing elephant dung? Is it outrageous to think that his fecal smeared portrayal of the Virgin Mary was a sarcastic commentary rather than an elaborately composed creation made to shock and dismay, lacking substance and meaning? What about the possibility that Ofili's driving force as exhibited through his use of elephant dung, racist symbolizm, pop icons, and the typical African American stereotype, is really meant to denounce the black stereotype in society? Or could it be possible that he looks to celebrate cultural differences through sarcastic and ironic works, all perpetuated by a Nigerian born artist living in a predominantly white UK? If we know the background of some of the choices made, does it change anything?

I am not laying these questions all out to confuse but to consider - I have my own thoughts and individual answers for each inquiry. Generalizing based on assumption or ignorance is a crime committed throughout time for when faced with confusion we as a species like to fit it into a little box and set it aside, rarely taking the time to open the box back up and consider the possibilities within. And I suspect as technology advances and life gets easier, even automated, the box will fill more and more with elements of life we believe to be trivial and too time consuming to understand. I believe that is where the abstract artist shines the brightest as we have the unique opportunity to unlock the box and create work based on our understanding of the elements long forgotten. It is through this constant sifting, creating, and presenting to the public a new perspective that we hand the keys to the box over to the viewer, even if it is just for a minute or two....

Monday, July 23, 2007

Just a thought....

Understand that the world is art and it is up to artists to expose that beauty.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Featured on DeviantART!


My painting, "Glow" was featured as a daily deviation on the DeviantART homepage on the 19th! Course, I didn't see it until today! Been so busy with commissions and such that I hadn't been on dA in about a week or so when I signed on to order some prints for a few customers and found 200 - some odd messages about my being featured :)

Awesome! So thanks, jesusIV for the feature! Truth be told, you rock socks too :)

BTW, as an aside, I am offering prints of that piece in a variety of sizes! I'll be listing them in my Etsy shop in the coming days.

Woo!

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Artella Daily Muse interview!

Today I am the featured artist at the creative web magazine Artella Daily Muse for their "In the Studio" section of the site. Below is a copy of the interview :)

Daily Muse: How would you describe your art?

Aja: How I would describe my art would simply be 'abstract impressionist'.

DM: Tell us more...

Aja: How others would, and have described the majority of my work would be 'Wow -- those are naked chicks, aren't they?'



DM: What is your favorite piece of your own art? Why?

Aja: Right now it is my newest piece, “Glow”, and it's nice when that happens. I can name a handful of pieces that made me go, “Wow, did I really paint that?” and those pieces raise the bar for me. It's a need at that point to shock myself even more. It's then that you know you are on the right path.



DM: What people, places, or things inspire you most?

Aja: I am inspired by all around me but have an affinity for the Abstract Expressionists such as Rothko, de Kooning, and more contemporary examples such as Susan Rothenburg and Cecily Brown. Selling in such venues as eBay and Etsy has opened me up to a treasure trove of inspiration.



DM: How do you organize your art supplies?

Aja: I am not familiar with that word, organize. Sounds like something I should look into, haha....



DM: What art supply can you not live without?

Aja: My palette knife, oil paint, and canvas. They go hand and hand. I lost my palette knife once and nearly cried as I tore apart my studio looking for it. Tell me more about organization?



DM: What favorite book(s) can you recommend?

Aja: A compilation of contemporary painters called Vitamin P. I purchased it while at the Whitney in NYC, and it has become my handbook of sorts. Someone somewhere said painting was dead. This book has hundreds of pages of examples to the contrary.



DM: What is your favorite charity, volunteer interest, or cause?

Aja: Diabetes. Really. My grandmother, grandfather, great aunt, and best friend's mom all died of it. Now my mom has it. So, when I can, I donate to the American Diabetes Association or related organizations. I also recently donated a painting to the Seneca Falls Historical Society Charity Ball – my great-grandmother is heavily involved, and I am happy to contribute.



DM: What movie(s) do you consider your favorite(s)?

Aja: I love the ones that make you think, or challenge you somehow. “Donnie Darko”, “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas”, “Memento”, “Requiem for a Dream” -- they all challenge your mind and make you consider something you might not have considered previously. I also must throw in Grind House flicks. I watch them regularly on IFC – they are like visual crack.



DM: What music do you love to hear while you’re creating?

Aja: Oh, that so depends. I love my hardcore and metal, truth be told. Type O Negative, Opeth, and a now defunct local band from upstate NY called Section 8 are all faves of mine. I also love classic rock. Pink Floyd's work is some of the best music ever created.



DM: What is your favorite quote?

Aja: Honestly, I am not “in the know” really when it comes to quotes. Half of me wanted to Google something witty... but then that would be cheating. I'm more of a lyrics kind of chick. It's so hard to think of something like that when music is blaring in your ears...

Maybe... "Do or do not... there is no try." I think Yoda said that, didn't he? I am such a dork.



DM: Who is, or has been, your mentor, favorite teacher, or favorite artist?

Aja: Easy. Thorpe Feidt of Montserrat College of Art. He is the stuff of freshman legend. The professor with little patience for the half-assed art student looking for an easy career doodling on tablets all day, like so many parents are afraid of. The cliché. He has challenged each and every student that has ever crossed his path – told me the first time I had a review class with him that my work was too contrived, and I got into a 20 minute debate with him on just why I felt he was out of line – even though he was absolutely right. He is the reason I am the artist I am. Even now I look at my work sometimes and go, “Thorpe would kick me right now... this looks to comfy.” He taught me to paint, even though I thought I already knew.



DM: What is your number one tip for budding artists?

Aja: Don't second guess yourself. Did you know Matisse literally had hundreds of scrapped canvases sitting in storage rooms to remind him of what not to do? But he painted them anyways, and then kept them. He never stopped to go, “Wow, that sucks, I am so done with this, and I will never be the artist I wish to be.” Now that's persistence and devotion to one's craft. Let your vision guide you, and don't betray it, not even for a second. It will haunt you.



DM: What favorite “quickie recipe” for creating a piece would you like to share?

Aja: Canvas goes on the easel; paint on the palette, palette knife mixes gobs of undiluted color and dances across the canvas without a second thought. It's best to consider the whole in one's mind's eye instead of obsessing so over the parts. It's when I obsess that my work takes on a stifled, stuffy appearance. I know it. The viewer knows it. And generally those pieces are the bane of my existence. Those pieces become other pieces. And those pieces are rarely seen. Not because they are rare – but because I demand more. Abstract artist as perfectionist – the oxymoron?



DM: What suggestions can you offer for moving through creative “blocks”?

Aja: For me, it's loud music and stepping away from the studio completely. Writing. Right this very moment, I have a 16 x 20 inch canvas that I keep eyeing through typed words, contemplations on the questions laid out here, and headphones at max volume blaring Opeth's “Bleak” into my ears... frantically chain smoking and considering the possibilities of the blankness before me both in word document and primed canvas. It will become something. I've thought too much about it. It's why I am here. Stop thinking. Just do. If it's mud, it's mud. There is nothing worse than a blank canvas at that point, because you have no excuse except perhaps for the fear of failure. Think of the possibilities instead of the ramifications. Even ramifications can be beautiful sometimes...



DM: What do you do for rest and relaxation?

Aja: Rest and relaxation is all relative. Sometimes I work to relax. Sometimes I scratch it all and drink the night away to relax, only to realize my mind is on the painting sitting on the easel. It can be a bit torturous at times, the things I put myself through. The things paintings put me through. Not to say my work is torture, not at all – or I wouldn't do it. It's self-exploration and self-sustainment. This can be exhausting and relaxing at the same time. Goodness... now I'm confused.

I have a four year old, on top of it all, who keeps me going. I guess what I do for rest is sleep. Moms never rest, and an artist's mind is always at work. It's nuts.

DM: If you could go back in time and have lunch with anyone, who would you chose?

Aja: Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec – he hung out in Parisian dives all day painting can-can divas, liquored up and void of any pretentiousness so affiliated with the perception of the serious “artiste”. An afternoon with him would be an afternoon in psychological surreality with an artistic demi-god who never saw himself as such. Fantastic, if you ask me.


Saturday, June 9, 2007

Individuality - the "originality" issue in art confronted

Originality. Not derived from something else; fresh and unusual...short and sweet in its definition if reducing reality to black and white is a comfortable practice.

The question and debate surrounding originality is as much a focus in the creation of art as the artists exploration for their creative voice. This is a truism particularly in the ultra competitive atmosphere of online auction venues such as eBay. Yet as subjective and complicated an idea, some have taken it upon themselves to single handedly tackle the abstract concept of “wholly original” art, deeming theirs the only truly “original” work available in their chosen style. These artists not only preach their originality, but attempt to police it through the formation of elitist “clubs”, email intimidation of artists whom they believe haven’t been innocently inspired by them but are actively attempting to copy their styles, colors, or subject matter in order to simply sell their wares, and make libelous public statements regarding those artists.

I have been both fascinated and disgusted by the course of events inspired by the issue of originality in art as of late. The delusional notion that Contemporary artwork can be entirely original free from elements derived from artistic influences from the field’s predecessors is a rather arrogant notion at best. Unless an artist lives the secluded life of a hermit in a cardboard box of sorts, free from media or educational guidance, it is virtually impossible to emulate the very definition of “original” through the creation of a work of art. Through a bevy of movements and the masters who forged the paths through the great artistic revolution from academic realism to art for arts sake, inspiration has inevitably trickled down from the first cave drawings to the modern day artist in the search for an individual voice of expression. This unavoidable chain of influence is purely human in its existence, as it is our nature to retain inspiration in the conscious or even subconscious where it may resurface without preconception or coaxing in the evolution of society.

So, it becomes not the question of “originality”, but “individuality” after all things considered.

So just who is qualified enough (if anyone could be qualified in such an area of subjective considerations) to differentiate between originality and individuality in something as ambiguous as an artistic creation? Some may believe they have the authority to make such judgment calls, but it all really boils down to personal opinion and little more.

Artistic “essence” and vision can not be duplicated, even when “copied”. There will always be the residual artistic fingerprint in the finished piece. Unless replicated artificially through technical means, an artist can not single handedly undermine the artistic integrity of another through inspiration and the creation of a work of art considered to be “derived” from another. No one can steal the essence of another anymore than they can steal their soul. If that was the truth then may the art gods smite me for believing otherwise as I am quite confident that no one could duplicate my emotions, visions, and artistic voice -- even if they were to reproduce my work to match it. There is just no way - I refuse to believe it. If I did then I would have to stop creating because I would know my voice was no longer apparent, or unique. There is a difference between having a sincere emotional response to the world using ones personal artistic voice and instincts and the rip off that strives to have the passion of the latter.


And so...the debate ventures forth into the future as this question will not be answered in our time if at all, destined to become more complicated and heated in its delivery and reception as time progresses and artists come and go. “Originality” as an issue in the art sellers market is nothing more than an advertisement tempting the viewer with catch phrases and buzz words playing on implications and semantics. But the conceited marketing geniuses behind the incessant tooting of their own original horns don’t want the general art buying and collecting public to know this...

Or they might be out a slogan.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Semi-homemade Baked Beans. Yum.

Semi-homemade baked beans by sagittariusgallery :)


So last night, much to the other half's delight, I made my baked beans. They're wicked easy and really good. Eat at your own risk they are artery clogging, methane inducing delicious ;)


Simple Ingredients -

1 28oz can Bush's Boston Style Baked Beans
1 16oz can Bush's Country Style Baked Beans
1 package center cut bacon

molasses
tobasco sauce
onion powder
garlic powder
black pepper

Simple preparation -

Fry entire package of bacon on stovetop until crisp and allow to cool on paper towels and reserve a small amount of bacon fat (probably the amount of liquid fat from 4 slices of bacon).

While bacon fries...

Turn oven onto 375 degrees.

Empty beans into 8x8 caserole dish. Sprinkle 7-8 liberal shakes of tobasco sauce, drizzle a tablespoon of molasses, and skake a very fine layer of garlic powder and onion powder over beans. Stir together. Mix in bacon fat. Break up 3 strips of bacon and mix in as well.

Cut up the rest of the bacon into 1 inch strips with scissors so they don't crumble apart. Make a bed of bacon over beans. Sprinkle more onion powder, garlic powder, and black pepper lightly over bacon and drizzle with thin ribbons of molasses.

Place in oven and bake for 30 minutes. Let stand for 5 after pulling beans out for sauce to thicken a bit.

Enjoy :) It's so bad for you but so yummy.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Ouch.

Yeah...so I dusted off my Winsor pilates dvd yesterday after a particularly calorie heavy Frito pie lunch and felt the burn for an overzealous 40 minutes - first real workout I have done since November I'm afraid. Today I feel like someone punched me in the "powerhouse" for 40 minutes instead of my creation of longer, leaner, sexier abs heh. I'll pick it back up tomorrow...unless of course tomorrow is a repeat performance of today.

As for tonight, I ran to Michaels today for some canvas and more white paint (I'm horrible with the white paint....) and will be nursing my poor midsection with a palette knife in one hand and a nice rum and coke in the other. It's one of those nights - cold out, raining all day (of which I was out in like a drowned rat most of the day doing all of my running around) and it's time to relax over drinks, painting, and some on demand movies.

Sounds fabulous to me :)

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Feeling the love :)

An awesome patron and fellow Etsy seller lespetiteschoses lespetiteschoses purchased the piece in my previous post, "Summer Wood IV" this afternoon and posted in the Etsy forums about how excited she was about the purchase. Support for my shop and work poured in from so many people I just had to post about it here - it made my day!! You can take a peek at the awesome etsy forum thread here :)

Thank you everyone, especially lespetiteschoses, for that!

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Before and after - a revision....




I listed this piece entitled "Summer Wood IV" earlier today thinking it was done. Sometimes after a ton of time staring at a painting from night till day and back you lose perspective. It doesn't help I am a bit impatient, even though my technique - as free flowing and chaotic the knife strokes may be - requires a certain amount of patience. I know that may sound obvious but I mean patience - paint, let layers dry, paint, let layers dry, paint.... A lot of time ends up being involved to create organized chaos :P

So, I thought it was done. Until the other half with fresh eyes walks out and says "it looks really good *so far*". That's all I needed to see what the painting really needed and I was back at the easel to finish what was left undone.

The top pic is the before. The bottom the after. Yes. Now it is complete :)

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Entered....



Yep. Entered my pieces "Restoration" and "Portrait of a Vixen" in the 24th annual art competition held by The Artist's Magazine. It would be fabulous to be featured in the magazine's December 2007 issue should I be one of the lucky 13 to be honored...of course the prospect at a portion of the 25,000 in prizes isn't too shabby either ;)

Monday, April 16, 2007

Virginia Tech shootings, media spin, and politics....

Ok...so I've been watching all day about the shootings that happened on the Virginia Tech college campus early yesterday morning...and I have to say if there is anything worse then the shootings themselves it would have to be the obvious media and political spin placed on every aspect simply to boost ratings and discourage law suits. I've been entrenched in this horrific incident since about 11 am yesterday morning...much like I was when 9/11 happened. TV on, flipping from news channel to news channel to get the latest, in search of answers for an incident that so defies clear explanation....I foolishly look to the media like so many others.

Just the facts ma'am. Plain and simple is the way we want it. Leave the yellow journalism for the uneducated masses of yester-year....

As a viewer who's tirelessly kept abreast of the events of the day you begin, after 15 hours of continuous coverage, to get a feeling for the disgusting game unfolding right before our very eyes....First hand reports and first impressions from witnesses on the scene perverted throughout the day, a shadow of the truth.

Lets take the kid with the cell cam bravely playing the role of the videographer in a war torn area, shots fired every few seconds - he becomes the new pseudo-correspondent for the largest news network this side of the Atlantic for the duration. Nice. Like some discovery channel special on the lion cubs long, arduous journey to head of the pride we witness the metamorphosis of college student turned CNN correspondent in hours - shaking and recounting his initial feelings that "life will go on" and little more upon undertaking his new role as "I Reporter" through composure and eventual spin, mentioning finally in the past few hours that the gunman confronted the police, bursting through the doors and then back in again...a fact never, ever relented previously. A fact so deviously and transparently spun through the glowing screen of the television screen that I was prompted to voice my disgust for the whole damn thing through the creation of this blog.

You never said that earlier, brave kid with the cell phone...why now?

Why now do the police speculate there were two gunmen? All eyewitness reports claim the same - one gunman, Chinese decent, tall, maroon cap, oh...and the jacket that was introduced 7 hours into talks with *the same eye witnesses*. Never any mention of a jacket a few hours into the investigation. Students calling in to speak with CNN, MSNBC, Fox news...not one mentioned a "vest that made him look like a boyscout" early on. We mention the maroon cap and the ethnicity but never the vest. All the sudden, after Virginia Tech and the president offer their news conferences, do these same people who gave very clear, very identical descriptions of the assailant change their stories. Ah, and we never actually hear the majority of these witnesses who were so ready to speak to the press early on with their initial recounts changing or adding to their stories later on - on news anchors telling us of these changes after the fact. I wonder why that is....

At 1pm calls poured into the major news channels and they lapped it up, asking every question from here till Sunday to obtain a scoop over the next guy. Calm and collected each eye witness gave their description. One even says she was there for the dorm shooting, knew it was a domestic fight between the gunman and his girlfriend, and the R.A got in the middle and both ended up shot and left for dead as the single gunman ran off - only to disappear for 2 and a half hours while campus officials rammed their thumbs up their rears and tried to figure out a way to notify the campus of the murders - murders students should have been made aware of from the get go - in a calm and collected way as not to incite mass hysteria.

So for 2 hours they polished their campus wide email and press release, allowing the assailant free reign. Time to collect more ammo. Time to grab the chains that he used to barricade the entrance with. Time to execute his next attack. Time for 31 students and faculty in Norris Hall to perish at the hands of a very prepared, very determined gunman with nothing to lose.

It's come up through all of this how very accountable the campus should be held for the inefficiency of security and their lax attitude toward the initial two murders in the dorms at 7:15 am of the girlfriend and the R.A - never ordering a lock down, never even contacting the rest of the campus about what had happened in the dorms until 9:26 am - 4 minutes before the gunman's second attack on the engineering building across the campus.

That's when the spin began.

All of the sudden speculation arises. The wheels turn and the search for the second gunman is on. They're still "searching" for him, whoever he may or may not be. Perhaps he's on the grassy knoll....

See, the thing with all of this, and with most bullshit spins executed throughout history, is it's usually caught by anyone within ear shot.

"You furnish the pictures, I'll furnish the war".

It went from one deranged individual to two to a terrorist attack within hours. It's all still "speculation" even though I'd be inclined to believe initial, unadulterated reports. They slaughtered the story just as the lone gunman slaughtered the victims in cold blood. I've heard everything today from a modern day Mexican standoff from our good friend the cell phone cam guy to ethnic connections between college campus gunmen and terrorist conspiracy theorized by CNN. There's a fascinating wiki on this very subject and the BBC even has its own "inside sources" to the incident. Everyone is "in the know". Has an "inside track". Even when stories begin to unravel and things just don't seem to add up - if it's packaged neatly enough and people only tune in for the end, the beginning is irrelevant...isn't it?

Right. If you believe that I have a bus ticket to Hawaii I am just dying to sell you real cheap.

Everyone wants something. The college wants a reason not to have the pants sued off of them. The police want to look like heroes so the Mexican standoff scenario is a brilliant speel to feed the hungry masses looking for even more drama then the actual story, that's dramatic and disgusting enough already, even when it is obvious from glorious video what really transpired. The media wants the next story of the year, no doubt sick of chewing the liquid fat of the worn out Anna Nicole story that is as dead as she is. Correspondents from here, there, and everywhere want a chance to psychologically profile the unidentified gunman, so rather than wait for confirmation they too speculate and add fuel to an already blazing fire. Even sweet old Jamal the cell phone camera dude wants recognition for his "brilliant" journalistic feat as honorary "I reporter" for CNN.

The spin is ridiculous and I personally find it disgusting. Do they really think we are that stupid? That blind? That ignorant?

Now I am not saying the witnesses have been corrupted, or the police or even the campus didn't do what they felt was right - but hind sight is 20/20. And they weren't right in the end. And now to spin it just to look better in the face of very real backlash and accountability is the lowest of the low. Take responsibility for your short comings. Yes, you should be sued. The school should have been locked down immediately after the school was made aware of the first murders in the dorms at 7:15 - emails over 2 hours later are not sufficient enough when a gunman is on the loose and *you don't know where he is*. Why it took everyone 2 hours to take anymore action then notifying those just in the dorm where the 2 initial murders took place is beyond comprehension - and someone needs to be held accountable.

31 people are dead because the ball was dropped and that's the bottom line. No political or media spin will negate that. You can't hide from the truth. I only hope the families of the victims demand more for their loved ones lost in this tragedy then officials and the media have. Because if the spin wins, that would be the greatest tragedy of all.

Wading in a Velvet Sea

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Exotica



Fresh off the easel is this 8x10 abstract female nude oil painting I've named "Exotica"...just how it felt to me. A lot of the time I will name my paintings the first word that comes to mind because generally the first impression is a keeper lol.

I've just finished another piece that's sitting on the easel right now awaiting natural light to photograph tomorrow. I'm delving further into the female form, getting closer yet more abstracted at the same time.... You'll see with tomorrow's piece what I mean.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Projekt30


Thought I'd let everyone know I was juried into Projekt30's April show! Please click on the pic to see the work I have in the online exhibition :)

Flourish

The Wall

Forget the past. Toss the tinfoil hat in the toybox with the legos and lincoln logs where it belongs... lock it up, swallow the key, and choke on naievity. Show those conspiracy theories and plastic building blocks who's really boss. Unless those skeletons in the closet or monsters under the bed pick the lock and then I'm really screwed. Best to speak softly and carry a big stick to beat the fuckers to bloody submission. They know they have it comin so I can forget about shock and awe, just like I know I have it coming...that's what the big stick is for.

Fester in the open wound that is ironic existence and walk the goose step to the tyranical oppression of one's self. Beat myself with the stick for a moment or two only to turn around and deny self-infliction. If anyone asks it was anyone but me. Plausable deniability so transparent the hollow eye sockets peer through the cracked closet door and see right through. Can one really discern pitty in the empty orafices where the windows to the soul used to reside?

Sure...why not?

Keep the masses at arms length, build the brick wall piece by piece against my will but in line with my better judgement. Skeletons can't get to you when you have no closet. Let's hear it for loop holes.

Yeah right. Like I wanna confine myself in a one room brick shanty of which was self-constructed. I got too much livin to do.

I wanna be the subject of a power ballad circa 1989 and keep it a secret. I wanna open up a 454 on a secluded Montana highway in the middle of July topless. I wanna drink cheap alcohol for a month straight on an expensive resort island in the tropics. I wanna paint every clock I encounter black and forget time even exists...and not have reprocutions. I wanna climb a tree, smoke a joint, and watch the sun set...and then watch it rise completely baked feeling alittle bit more free and a whole lot of gravitational pull. I wanna ride a train across country, pretend I have multiple personality disorder, and chat up unsuspecting passengers in horribly executed accents while sipping on malibu and coke and periodically arguing with one or all of the other 9 personalities I create.

I wanna find a remote field of flowers and frolic through it like in the movies...while on an eighth of shrooms. I wanna have sex in the grass on a rainy summer night. I wanna spend a week in Vegas and not remember. I wanna be loved so deeply and love so deeply in return that it actually makes me cry.

Now where in the hell is that door in the wall...I know I built one just in case.

Testoster-world

Wrote this some time back, thought I'd share it here. When I am not painting I'm writing....


Welcome to the machine. Step right up and take your best shot, win a teddy bear if you hit the mark. Win an excessively large one with a velvet red ribbon tied around its neck like a noose if you do one better. Take the prize and ride the conveyor belt to your destiny - do not pass go, do not collect 200 dollars...it'll all be sucked back into the machine anyways so why even bother.

Locate a match and light another cigarette, one stick closer to demise. Quench the thirst with a frosty cold one and dehydrate in your refreshment. These are the days of our lives. Tip your hat to the passerby who clenches her purse, what a horribly polite mugger you must be. While you're at it hold the door for her and she'll scoff at the gender role you have presented without even trying. Fuck that shit.

Live and let live. Smash the machine with a sledgehammer...brandishing it at the snotty feminazi might be fun too. Who the hell cares anyhow, her opinion has already been made and she's fit you into a box with all the other stereotypes in recent memory so why not go out with a bang? Brandish the sledgehammer and its attempted assault. She pulls a gun and shoots your ass and she's heralded on the front page of the local paper as the courageous young woman who beat the odds and becomes the poster girl for feminine self-defense classes everywhere. How typical.

Speed away in the car you pay an exorbitant amount of money to insure toward the waiting police cruiser who might have let you off with a warning if you had the gift of cleavage and could cry on command and pout seductively. Ain't that just a bitch.

Fine line blurred but the line is still there. Fight for the right to just be you, forget the balls and the dick, just a human sans gender bullshit. Shed a tear, watch a "chick flick", ask for directions when you're lost and hold your head high despite the societal shift in favor of the "fairer" sex.

Pick some friggin flowers in a sun kissed field already so you can smell the roses for once cause it's truly never been tougher being you

"Contemplation" - a freestyle of sorts....

Stop the masses....Behind rose colored glasses I see reality as I have made it. Strange realization in the distance the cloud of resitance never can quell this persitence to break through the pestilance swarming my mind to the point that I can not find what is, infact, right in front of me. Take it on the run I carry this gun, with Napalm fun I slaughter the soldier barackading my inner peace. Whisper thoughts of distaster into my ear that which I dare not admitt to fear, always stear clear yet find myself in it's haunting gaze none the less.

What has happened to the last dog of war, barked up the wrong tree long before I could settle the score, shoot straight to the core and find the door to eternity. Tattered, torn, and worn, I blindly work my way through myself to the site I was born or reborn perhaps, over land mines passed subconscious signs in the confines of my soul. Where did it lead me? Could it have ever really freed me? Has anyone in here seen me...broken party of one, call on line none, tell tale sign of what is to come.

But what is to be found, a shadow of redemption without a sound of pretention I present myself for scrutiny and inspection. Rose colored glasses lay broken on the ground and with thorns crowned I martyr myself to my inner demons. Strung from the gallows, read my last rights I set my sites off in the distance to sleepless nights when the sun couldn't rise without a tear shed from the eyes of she who is bound now in these ties.

Without trial straight to execution, retribution approaches to heed the call before my last fall from which out of the depths I'd be forced to crawl. Reason for being is what I am now seeing, darkness parts freeing me from the confines of self-consecration and the degredation of an entire inner nation.

Who is he that holds my hand now, leads me away from the hell I would allow? Follow the swallow far from the sorrow, take me to the light that envelopes the night I had endured for so long. No need to run with the gun any longer, except to protect my heart that straight from the start fell where I didn't expect it to fall....

Three



Monday, April 9, 2007

Heat

The death of inspiration




Wow. With the click of a single image inspiration has been thrown right out the window and utter confusion has stepped in to fill the void over what could have ever possessed Cecily Brown, one of my greatest inspirations, to give up on being the incredible entity she once was.

Now I know this is entirely subjective and many might think the monstrosity above to be a shining example of "high art". Yet to me, an artist who was first inspired by Brown's early work as a sophomore in college in 2002 and was so taken by the seductive complexity, clever sexual puns and in your face provocation of her creations that to gaze upon the work above with its sloppy execution, muddy palette, and predictable and overdone subject matter I feel like the child realizing for the first time Santa Claus is a figment of the imagination. And that just sucks.

We've seen it before. The legendary tales of Picasso's utter arrogance, signing a blank piece of paper and telling creditors that should suffice. And the awful stick figures...artists giving up for all intensive purposes because they lost sight of their craft and only saw dollar signs in the value of their names and not the work they produced. Of course Picasso took several decades to get to that point.

So what's Brown's excuse? Already had her fill of being "revolutionary"? Her work only really broke out into the art scene less than a decade ago...is that all it takes? Nearly 10 years and enough collectors with deep enough pockets and you lose sight of why you painted in the first place? A master in her own mind. Hit the pinnacle before she's even given it much of a chance.

There is no excuse....

There is such a thing as "selling out" in the art world. And I don't mean painting what the masses, Forbes, and Art in America deem to be hot commodities. I mean becoming so self-involved and diluted you actually believe anything you create should be revered and will be the talk of Sotheby's. Oh...and thanks Gagosian Gallery for being so pretentious that you actually snatched up the above piece like it's something to truly be proud of. The celebration of mediocrity. Maybe for a lesser artist that piece would be an accomplishment, but it should atleast be aknowledged that Brown has taken several steps back in the artistic journey.

That should not be celebrated. It should be pittied.




Summer Field

Thursday, April 5, 2007

At the end of the day....

So I'm sitting here at nearly midnight trying to take it easy after a long day of running around, dealing with a nasty landlord who has every excuse why he hasn't gotten a mason over to my building since September to address the bricks falling from above my main entrance to the sidewalk, spring cleaning, rearanging, school obligations for the little one, and the dual stomachache/ headache thing I've got going on. And I'm sitting here thinking. I feel exhausted and awake. I didn''t have a chance to do my hair through the chaos today. Walked around in my skuzzy clothing because that's all the time I had to myself.

I feel...cracked.

I know everyone has those days. But it just seems real evident to me *today*. My eyes sting. My neck aches. My back burns. My heels are pulsating. My right leg is halfway asleep. I got it all done...I always get it all done. But at the end of it all I feel so...unfeminine (is that even a word?)

I suppose that is one of the reasons for my nudes...they are the height of femininity. Buxom. Gorgeous. Physical perfection to the point of near Barbie doll-esque dysmorphia. They at the end of the day are all I feel I am not, even if my feelings are unwarranted. They are on their way somewhere, constant and never ending, and they are frozen in their supreme beauty on that journey.



Yeah.

"Contemplations on Being a Woman"


From my "Contemplations on Being a Woman" series begun in 2003 while I was pregnant with my son, "Exposure" (currently available at my Etsy shop is the newest addition to this ever growing, ever popular series of work. This almost iconic representation of the female nude that has presented herself in over 100 of my paintings to date has become almost a signature of mine.

She does not confront the viewer or even aknowlege their presence - we as the viewers walk through her abstracted reality with her through the 4 sides of the canvas, becoming part of the scene for as long as we choose. I love this series - it was my first "project" so to speak. It was in response to the hormonal mess that was me, 5 months pregnant with my little boy, just trying to figure out what was going on within the confines of my own mind. Since then I have painted this scene over and over, different settings, different company, different moods...all in an attempt at getting to know my role as woman, mother, individual, and mere entity among many....

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

mARTyr

Lofty censorship of personal opinion and individual contemplation of spiritual, religious, and political beliefs...at the end of the day all that is censored in such a manner is censored based upon more individual opinions and personal beliefs. What it must be like to be “right” eternally...such a heavy burden to prove others wrong because your opinion is the only one that counts.

Subjectivity breeds irony.

Smear some shit on an international icon, crown her with female genitalia and watch the masses label you a modern day heretic. Burn him at the stake that free-thinking heathen, or better yet toss him in the Hudson River with weights tied to his ankles...perhaps his opinions will rise through the murky depths and arrive cleansed and pure at the surface and he shall be martyred.

The truth be thy word.

Crusade against the tools of the trade and the images brought forth by them. Draw and quarter the canvas. Tar and feather the camera. Dust off the Iron Maiden and christen it with the clay that might have become a less then worthy idol at the hands of, God forbid, an individual whose creative vision might be contrary to your own. Stain it with alizarin crimson and make an example out of it. Set it on a pedestal in a public square and condemn what it “might have” become.

The stage has been set.

Watch la resistance plague the lesson with the demon that is the opposing viewpoint. After all, to be right is to be wrong in at least one others mind. Fresh, plump, ripe tomatoes tossed at a tangible statement , pulp the hue of the indignation pumping through the veins of the “morally stunted”. Riot in the square...the gallows await your arrival.

How dare they defy the example set? For your word is the only word. The truth shall set them free...

Who is the martyr now?

Outsider Art - the great misunderstanding

The debate on outsider art and the terms usage in auctions and the art world in general is about as interesting as two cars crossing the double yellow lines and careening into one another head on. No lie, I've seen that sort of mess and it's pretty damn ugly for a few minutes and then somebody realizes how stupid they were and sits in the middle of the road with their head in their hands shaking of shock and embrassement, hoping no one noticed their folly.

People get so offended when the term outsider is used - they think of themselves as "true" outsiders and people who have any sort of education pertaining to art certainly can't be "outsider" artists. Well, too bad these people who feel this way don't have that education or even the basic knowledge to back up their thoughts on the matter or they would see that in their literal take on the term outsider they fail to see the irony in the fact that they themselves can't be "outsider" artists either and are arguing moot points in reality.

In their fight to champion their "outsider" status they only reveal that their basic understanding of outsider art is non-existent. In the truest sense and definition, an outsider artist is either a recluse or locked away in a mental institution, devoid of any and all social contact. The synopsis of true outsider art maintains that the true outsider artist neither sells their creations nor has a real grasp on the fact that it is being sold in the first place.

Cast your mind: Mountain Man Joe scribbles and sketches flora and fauna in between sapping maple trees and shooting a pheasant for dinner with his trusty 22. His niece Daisy visits him every few months and good ole' uncle Joe gives her a sketch or two for the muffins she baked for him and so generously hiked 3 miles to give to him. Daisy reads in the newspaper a few weeks later that "Outsider" art is highly sought after by the aristocratic debutantes and eccentrics who long for conversational pieces for their foyers and dens and are willing to pay top dollar to wow their friends with such work. Daisy, who has found herself under a mountain of bills for *insert social dysfunction here* decides to sell the Mountain Man's work to a New York Gallery who in turn sells these poorly executed, childish creations to the above mentioned "social elite".

And the outsider artist is born.... At least by pure definition. Uncle Joe who owns absolutely no books besides his atlas and dropped out of school at age 13 without any art education to speak of (macaroni and glitter decorated holiday cards and clay ashtrays aside) continues to scribble cartoonish Bambis and Thumpers without the slightest idea that his work has been featured in Art in America twice. See what I mean?

Thus the outsider status has actually emerged as more a style than a lifestyle. And when people go on and on about those horrible artists with them there edjumacations they only illustrate further their lack of understanding of the history behind, and evolution of, outsider art. The interpretations of "outsider art" are as widespread and open ended as any debate that includes strong personal opinions and nothing more than a few facts lifted from here and there to validate a perceived understanding or lack thereof.

So, in keeping with this tradition, I will quote Michel Thevoz, Curator of the Collection de l'Art Brut in Lausanne:


"Art Brut", or "outsider art", consists of works produced by people who for various reasons have not been culturally indoctrinated or socially conditioned. They are all kinds of dwellers on the fringes of society. Working outside fine art "system" (schools, galleries, museums and so on), these people have produced, from the depths of their own personalities and for themselves and no one else, works of outstanding originality in concept, subject and techniques. They are works which owe nothing to tradition or fashion.

Now, if this is a generally accepted definition of "outsider art" then can anyone who sells their work through ebay or on the internet in general be defined outsider artists? If representing one's work and offering it to the masses in a realm surrounded by creations of all educational levels, isn't there an inherent influence obtained through marketing and selling around such works? So I guess the argument then becomes where the invisible boundary line exists between the culturally aware, highly educated and gallery represented artist and the weekend hobbyist whose artistic influences include Thomas Kinkaide tapestries and Norman Rockwell calendars at the doctors office. Is there a boundary to speak of? If both artists sell side by side in a venue such as ebay, are the distinctions between these too so clear? Are they black and white really? I would think that the hobbyist who sells on ebay would browse around and become subject to any number of works created by highly educated artists. And if we look back at the definition above provided by an individual who has obviously invested a good portion of his career in the attempt to understand and interpret outsider art, can we then deduce that the hobbyist has obtained a certain amount of understanding pertaining to art and sells in a virtual auction style art gallery and therefore can be no more categorized an "outsider artist" than the formally trained artist selling an auction listing away?

Have we not just spun around in a complete circle and ended right back where we started? Perhaps, but I have yet to pose the biggest question on my mind on the subject.

Why do people care so much about the keywords used by artists in an attempt to obtain the same goals as one another - sell the work and make a living at something they love? I guess it all goes back to perceived competition as I have mentioned time and again is the thorn in the creative side of the ebay arts community. No where else will you find artists debating so heavily and passionately about the implied and literal usage of a single term that has no clear cut definition anymore.

Artists themselves rearranged the clear cut definition eons ago as far as the internet and ebay goes and recreated the understanding of what outsider art is, and can be. Artists themselves defined it as more than the sterile thought that outsider art could only be created by a madman or hermit on the extreme "fringes" of society. Or what of the definition that states outsider art is nothing more than art created by those who do not recognize themselves as artists? Well, those that toot their own outsider status and poo poo on the educated who choose to associate their style with that of the "outsider" should take a long hard look at themselves and rethink whether they want to confront that catch 22 with a response....

New Florals and a note to patrons


I'm working on a new line of impasto, expressionistic florals such as "Secret Garden II" (left). There are 4 so far in this new series with plenty more to come. They are being sold exclusively on my Etsy.com website.

Also wanted to let my patrons know how much I truly appreciate your patronage! I am offering goodies here and there - 20% off to first time purchases and random participation in Etsy's Friday Happy Hour and Saturday Night Specials worth 15-25% off original art from my shop!

Thank you again for everything, it means to world!!!

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Listing Blitz!


I've been painting like mad and listing them as they are finished. It's been nuts - I sold 3 paintings today alone, mere hours after listing them. My patrons rock something fierce :)

I have two new pieces listed - a 16x20 piece entitled "Static" (shown above) and an 8x10 painting entitled "Into the Blue". Both are my signature thick oil laden female nudes and who knows how long they're gonna last at the pace today's going lol.

I have more canvas in waiting and will be painting more this afternoon to list tomorrow. Hooray for motivation and accomplishment! Hope everyone's having an awesome day!


Monday, March 26, 2007

Etsy Haters.

So...a bigger reason for my joining blogger then its prevalence and another source through which to muse away about this, that, and the other, would be my coming into contact with certain individuals who feel the need to smear their verbal vomit all over the likes of perfect strangers for nothing more than a self-righteous, feel good moment at the expense of others.

I sell on Etsy.com and love the place. But as the new constitution nears completion and we exist in a gray area there are those who have taken it upon themselves to create sock puppet accounts to target upstanding sellers whom they deem "offensive" for one reason or another. Now I am all for free speech. You know what they say about opinions, and everyone has a right to theirs. But the obvious vindictive tone some have taken with fellow sellers in the past few weeks is truly deplorable. Calling out and hot links to endless items in a lame attempt at soiling the good names of honest, innocent artists and crafters isn't only morally wrong but in some cases it is illegal.

I don't think some people get it. When you post online you are opening up your little world to a billion other people who all have access to what you have to say. "Opinions" become public - and when you skate the fine line between "public awareness" and defamation you skate the fine line of legality, my friend.

When you transparently attempt to tarnish the reputation of another and thinly veil it as a "service" to the general public you damn well better be ready to face the consequences. Have your opinion. Let others see for themselves if you feel so strongly about it. But be aware of the can of worms you are opening and take the consequences like the informed, mature, justified adult you attempt to portray and stand up for what you believe in. Anything less and you are nothing but a complete coward.

I won't post anything on the internet that I wouldn't put my name to. And neither should you. Shame on anyone hiding behind a screen name and playing cyber warrior. These are real lives you are toying with through your championship of righteousness. It's not a game. If you wanna play a game there are plenty of online realities for you to delve into where you can do a whole lot more than argue feebly with complete strangers because you have too much time and anger on your hands.

Or you can always assume the identity of a 14 year old tart in the cesspool that is yahoo chat. You might be better suited there anyway.

Artist statements...and an introduction.

New to Blogger...though I have other blogs and have pretty much tried them all (my reason behind having not started yet another blog after like, 4 others hehe...) But, eh. I caved.

So, I'll start off with artist statements of mine. Seems like a good way of introducing myself in a professional manner before completely dashing it through the no doubt overly opinionated posts to come from yours truly in the future....

Yeah.


::Midnight Sonata - Artistic Process and Anti-process::


An impulse. Surging through my being like some addictive substance from within the farthest reaches of my mind. Unavoidable and stubborn in its progression, it overwhelms and never fails to propel me towards the fresh opportunity ready and waiting at the easel...

Middle of the night, the world around me at quiet slumber, 75 watt overhead bulb illuminates the studio and glares in blood shot eyes. Maybe mix just a bit more cerulean in. No, prussian and just a dab of white....

Addiction? Obsession....

The process is conscious yet subconscious -- an image is rarely preconceived, but rather it materializes through each oil laden swipe of the knife. It's rather chaotic in its conception in that traditional sketches and research are not only abandoned but ignored entirely. Spontaneity dominates the so-called creative "process", yet the formula remains constant -- atleast as constant as a spontaneous creative "process" will allow....

Ground and foreground interact with the spark and exhaustive release of a night spent. Melting together and separating at the shift of a hue, only to melt back into one another moments later. Pigments are chosen as a reflection of emotion as the contemplation evolves into being. Continued from corner to edge to corner and between, the white of the once fresh opportunity is devoured piece by piece, moment by moment. Window into a new dimension unveiled upon completion, its inhabitants emerging only after the scene has been set.

They journey through the contemplation, melting and resurfacing like the atmosphere in which they reside. Stepping further into the canvas, they entice their audience to do the same. Walk the path and consider the possibilities of the unknown. Consider the notions set forth by their seemingly blind journey toward an end undepicted. Consider something more....

Methodical yet frenzied, the creation comes to fruition in one continuous sitting, no matter how long that may take. Just as a thought lingers in the recesses of the mind until acknowledged or confronted, such is the character of the muse within. That impulse that craves satiation. So it shall be satiated...until tomorrow.

Palette knife comes to rest, mind slows to but a comfortable crawl. Eyes gaze upon the piece of my soul plucked from my subconscious like a Polaroid into my imagination. The silence of the early morning reminds me of my exhaustion. 75 watt bulb a mere memory. Sleep may now embrace me....




::Artist Statement 5/2004::

Contemplations of an existence beyond the flesh. I think most artistic creations convey a personal expression parallel to the living and breathing reality we inhabit, creating an alternate universe in essence, living and breathing in the minds of those who choose to visit.

My work is born from that alternate reality, living out its existence within the confines of the four synthetic walls of the canvas. The canvas is a window -- four panes opening one world to another. I invite the onlooker to peer into this new world, a realm built on pure human emotion. I am but a projector, extracting the images deep inside my soul, thrusting them forth into this space we call ours. Through spontaneous creation this realm is forged, its female inhabitants personifying human curiosity, vulnerability, inner strength, and devotion. Emotions flood the atmosphere in the broad spectrum of hues realized from palette to application. Their creation is a profoundly personal pit stop on the journey toward understanding.

The crusade ventures forth, through oil laden valleys and imagined forests saturated with pure pigments and textural nuances in the great expanse that is the new frontier. The vision is that of unspoken honesty, corrupted only by the eyes of the jaded and doubtful. This place is free from plaguing inhibition and manipulation. Obvious female perfection destined not to deceive but to entice. Entice an otherwise unchained audience to journey as well. To make the pit stop in this realm beyond the flesh, and maybe, just maybe, join the crusade...

If only for a little while....





::Artist Statement 10/2003::

Woman. A remarkable entity embodying a thousand different characters. She is the mother, the diva, the slut, the crone. From her womb emerges the first breath of life. The weight of the world rests on her shoulders. Without her there would be nothing. She holds the power to create and destroy - after all, wasn't it Eve who tasted the forbidden fruit sacrifycing a utopian forever all to satisfy her personal desires? No wonder she's got so much on her mind. On my mind, for that matter.

My paintings reflect all this weighty stuff in sort of a driveby blur of pure, undiluted pigment. Just as contemplations have a tendency to aggressively fight their way to the surface of consciousness even after what had been assumed to be resolved. And through residual fingerprints of contemplation after contemplation she emerges. Venus, the every woman. She inhabits our subconscious in anonymity. Void of recognizable features we know her none the less. She exists within that contemplative residue and represents that tiny voice in that back of our minds that speaks to us without saying a word.

I see my intuition, conscience, inhibitions, and personality in my maidens. They represent everything that is honest and sincere because that is how I create them. They are born from somewhere deep inside. That unexplainable, unarticulated place within us all. They are that other side of us - like in those cartoons where an angel whispers morality and goodness on one side and on the other a demon screams evil and darkness. I haven't quite figured out just which side they call home. I think both.

Max Beckman wrote in Letters to a Woman Painter, "The visible world in combination with our inner selves provides the realm where we may seek infinately for the individuality of our own souls." For me, that search manifests through juicy, vibrant swirls of smeared oil forming a hand here, a back there in a contemplative response to my personal version of reality.

As human beings we are inherently narcissistic. It is in our nature. From the idealized feminine icons of Titian's Venus of Urbino and Ingres'Large Odalisque to today's artistic erotica, the female vision is one of objectification. Sort of a two-dimensional "cheap thrill". In a fast paced society built on buzz words and what sells, it's no secret that the body has become seperated from the person. Cattle shuffle through everyday life thinking "feelings...emotion...who's got time for that?" That time is the stuff of my work. Through it's creation, I hope that when one gazes apon it for a single second, they then have made the time