Monday, November 7, 2011

Maine-hattan

Maine-hattan, 2009, Oil, Latex, (and a Ruler) on Board
36" x 36"
I can't believe that I haven't blogged about this painting yet. I finished it over a year ago. I really am a slacker sometimes. Well...I don't know. Maybe not. But time management never was my strong suit. For example - it's after midnight and though I should have gone to sleep already, and 5:30 is going to come earlier than I want it to, it doesn't matter in this moment because right now, there is no future. It's only now. Only the rain falling on the windows of this drafty old house, Florence + The Machine on my iPod, the dim light of my living room, and me staring at this computer, reminding myself that thinking about why I make art used to come naturally to me. So right now is what counts. Life keeps teaching me over and over again that we have to pay attention to right now. And here I am. So, for now I don't care about later. Later always seems to take care of itself.

Speaking of the preservation of moments, here's a painting. I called it Maine-hattan. Crazy stupid title. I get that. I'm a dork. It's a commission. Two very dear friends of mine split their lives between Maine and New York, and as those are two of my favorite places on Earth, I felt more than qualified to mix up a visual that could capture some of that.

The taxi cabs hum past. The trees whisper. The sweet buttery lobster. Your favorite cocktail. The smell of the food carts on the street. The lights. The way the colors blend. The way the granite feels under your fingers. The broken sun through leaves. Each of those things are wonderful, perfect things worth preservation. But it all becomes more when you add it to the pile of things you love. It becomes part of a world too beautiful to fully realize.

I guess the documentation of that pile is really what I'm focusing on right now. It's pretty important that I get back into the habit of articulating these ideas again soon. I can't get by with broken poetic sentences forever. At some point I'm going to have to start tossing around words like postmodernism and pastiche and simulacra. Maybe later. I used to think I was amazing at explaining my art. Maybe I got that idea because explaining my work to girls was the first time in my life I ever really felt like I had game. But lately, I'm not so sure that I know how to explain it all. I'll work on that. And in the meantime, I'll keep painting.


Wednesday, November 2, 2011

As Seen On T.V. (The Shared Experience)

In the process of coming to understand the documentation of my experiences, I've been compelled to consider the shared experience. There are things, as a culture, that were collective, and yet became individual. The most obvious example of this would be the attacks of September 11, 2001. We all know where we were when we watched that tragedy unfold, and though we were all watching the same events, our experience became individualized while still being shared.

I've been thinking about images that are tied to moments like that, or the everyday equivalent. Most of the things I think of come from popular culture. Some are world events and news images. Others are moments in movies and television or products, some album covers and posters. Because of that, I'm toying with the idea of a series of painted television moments that became part of the collective consciousness. It would be a remix of the things that we saw together, and that became part of our culture.

Some ideas include:
  • The Challenger.
  • The Where's The Beef lady slapping her hand on the counter at Wendy's.
  • Mario bashing a block to get the coins.
  • Vader force choking that subordinate.
  • Cliff Huxtable trying to get that snowsuit off of Rudy so she can go to the bathroom.
  • Baby Jessica coming out of that well.
When we share the experience of watching something, it bonds us. It reveals those of us who, for whatever reason, respond the same way to our popular culture. I suppose it reassures us in a way because it reminds us that we're not alone. Others like the things that we like.

I'm not sure if this is going to take off. It seems like my ideas take a decade to take off these days, but I do have an example prepared. It's the moment when Ross & Rachel first kiss on Friends.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Knowing Your Art Friends

One of my photography students is currently researching the photography Phil Borges. As he was going through the pictures of indigenous children of the world, he commented on how when we familiarize ourselves with an artist's work its like we get to know them. He's right. To know artwork is to know artists.

Let's take my work into consideration. What does someone see when they look at my work? They'd see boxes. Squares. Snapshots. Each holding a frozen piece of life. Revealed would be my favorite things - reminders of memories not to be lost. A closed fist wrapped around the past that we won't admit is gone. Out would jump the little monsters that dance in my mind. I'm obsessed with memories. I'm obsessed with the idea of validating our time here. Knowing full well that we have a finite amount of time here, I'm convinced it's the artists of the world's responsibility to represent that.

To know my work is to know that. To know that is, in essence, to know me.

So, my student was right. Good job Kyle.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Reconstruction

I've built things. I've gathered materials and supplies. I've taken pieces and assembled them. I've measured twice and cut once. I've planned, thought, and considered. I've respected the process, and I've been proud of the results. And yet, that may not be enough. The things we make are not destined to stay in a place of reverence. They are meant to age, tarnish, wither, and fade. The things that we construct must, at some point be constructed again. Reconstruction. Today's good ideas are not tomorrow's. We have to do it all again.

Today I worked for a couple hours on a background pattern/texture. Completely mindless work. Intricate line work with a fine brush. I find that kind of robot work to be a nice break. And in the end it looked good. I like it. It's part of the background of a painting about the notion of love. That's a big, fully covered topic though so I'm not exactly sure how that painting is going to come out. When I find myself in it, and have made that visible, then it will work. Until then, it's just paint on a board and another item on the list of things to be reconstructed.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Restart

It's been a while again. I keep doing this. But coming soon I'll be hitting the restart button on my blog. Which is good. I've been hitting restart on a lot of things lately. This is next.