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“Uncover Discover”, EXTRA SERIES, No. XX

6 Apr

Post explosion point of No. 17, “Cloudbusting in the Air” came this piece. This hones in on two parts

1. The furthering of the consciousness series by creating a 12 part segmented divide of real time events bordered by a fluorescent fault line within the face.

2. The idea of by going to forward, we redecorate the past. In this case, I’m taking the classic ray burst background that has defined me for so many years and redecorating it with the current ‘stream of consciousness’ pen work.

Rewind 7 to 8 years ago

The development of the ray in my paintings supposedly came about late one night in 2004/2005, in a basement that served as an artist studio in South of Market, San Francisco. It was 3am, and I was in mid artist blackout painting furiously for a street show that never ended up materializing. I looked at all the other paintings that were sloshed together. Most of them looked the same… a two tone face with a one tone background. I was keeping it simple because I didn’t really have a system of keeping track of the colors I used. ..

When I looked at the collection, I grew bored of myself. There was nothing to distinguish myself from any other artist out there. It just was a portrait of a ‘woman’, with colors I wasn’t sure of, behind a solid background… and in entirety, the whole collection was just a bunch of ‘women’ with solid colors in the back.. The theme was muted, and bland, and therefore it just seemed like a ‘study’, rather than anything that had to do with a statement or heart.

I sat there with Bjork, and found a ruler… and made rays around her head. I think 16 in total. This brought of a very familiar process and imagery of my past even before.

Rewind 7 years more, and I’m in Atlanta, Georgia. Freshly sore from my reality check of being a studio painter at SCAD, I moved to Atlanta to pursue a career in Fashion Design… with a focus in marketing, history of costume, and fashion sketching. My model sketches all bore ONE similarity, and that was this circular halo over their head, with ruler sunbursts exploding from the center. Every collection that I drew had this one thing in common.

Fast forward 15 years to the present, and this massive light bulb shoots over my head like the 4th of July with a nostalgic boomerang in its hand, and I realize that these rays weren’t experimental as they were subconscious patterns brought up by my Catholic upbringing.

Oh yes. The rays weren’t accidents whatsoever happening in that basement at 3am in San Francisco, nor at the drafting table in the classroom on a downtown Atlanta school evening in the late nineties. The first time I ever remember using these rays was when i was a child attending Saint Augustine’s Catholic school in the South learning to draw the saints at such a young age. And in fact, all of my early drawings and beginning sketches were learned from drawing St. Jude, St. Catherine, and Saint Theresa as a small child.

And it explains when ever I’m at LACMA or at the Louvre that I’m STUCK in the religious section transfixed because this where I learned form and figure to begin with!

It seemed like my whole career as a painter was tunnel visioned into this exploding horizon of where I came from.. This piece suddenly, already drafted in rays, became a blank canvas of my present and future drawings. Mind you this piece has no religious subliminal advertising. This is more so a realization piece on where I got my form from and the massive attachment to rays throughout my work. It is my primary background template that first housed my pigment codes in a pattern that communicated color to you. It was the FIRST template where I wrote PO20 (CP Cad Or) on one ray, and wrote Pb29+Pw6 (LUTL) on another ray, to paint the contrasting yet complimentary color scheme to you. It was not only the origin of my form, but it was the origin that helped me house my geometric code.

In this piece, the panels go over:

  • Directions of uncovering and discovering
  • Rarities
  • Family ties
  • Everything but the kitchen sink
  • Shapes and secrets
  • Eyes and music
  • Sun and Moon and more.

PS: Most of this was done in a Laundromat off of Hillhurst and at the La Brea Tar Pits off of Wilshire Blvd.

 

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“Universal Product Code”, The Human Condition Series, No. XX

26 Mar

The common expression I get from this piece involves a combination of raised eyebrows and a slightly agape jaw. The common sentence I get from this piece from others is either “Oh my goodness” and or “What does Disney think of this”. I should say, first and foremost, this painting has no hidden meaning and there is no agenda whatsoever in the statement. There is however a history to it, which I will explain below.

Now while I’ve been a painter, and thats what my skill set is in , I have held careers that are quite the opposite of that. I double majored in business, and used that end of my degree to work in the corporate side of things. I was in accessory buying at Amazon.com, production management in the music industry, and as of 2008, I got offered a job in category licensing (marketing/procurement). Specifically I worked in the Health and Beauty sector at Disney, managing relationships with our licensees, sales teams, and brand management. It ranged from the steady peg fillers as Oral-B toothbrushes, down to the ultra glamorous MAC Villains campaign.

For the most part my art was always separate. I’d crunch numbers in the daytime in my jobs, and come home and paint. My shows were generally at street level and catered to the cabaret, drag, and nightlife crowd. They were mildly successful in their own microcosm (World of Wonder Gallery, Hollywood), but never near the level that Disney artists had. I’d walk the hallways and see these great renditions of Mickey by Trevor Carlton and Mike Kungl in the corporate hallways, and aspire that one day I’d be at that level.

In 2009 I had done a dual portrait of Mickey, which was somewhat of an open call for Disney artists to do (even though I wasn’t an artist for them). This was for the “Mickey By” Program which involved artistic interpretation of Mickey’s classic standing pose. My dual Mickey, comparatively to my work now is vastly different. The lines were shaky, the form was blotchy and strange, and I could only comprehend CP Cadmium Orange and Light Ultramarine Blue code at that time. Granted it was shown in the main hall at Disney Consumer Products with the other work for 2 years (I think it might be still up there), but it wasn’t even near on par with the other works around it. This piece was a haunting reminder to me of where I was at that moment. No opportunities really came from it.

In 2010 I had brought a portrait of Divine into my cubicle. I was having my first solo show in San Francisco at the Glama-Rama Gallery, and was severely behind in my work, so I’d paint on my lunch breaks in an empty conference room. An administrative assistant happened to walk by when I was working and said “Thats a pretty lady, …” To which I slightly paused, because I couldn’t tell whether she was being serious or sarcastic. Before I could answer, she said “why aren’t you a creative for Disney rather than in business?” and I just told her my thing…. that I couldn’t see color, and that photoshop and illustrator would never really work out for me, … and that studio painting just seemed to be what I loved despite its ancient craft.

Truthfully, I knew I was good, but I didn’t know that I was good enough for Disney. At least not yet. I was just learning how to reuse my hands in this craft after losing my ability a bit before that. I was learning how to make my lines straighter, my forms tighter, and things on par.

She showed her boss, who happened to be the head of creative for Fine Art, Fashion, and Home. He loved the work, and I began to do more pieces. I painted more and more, and really they were just for the interiors of Disney Consumer Products. It was then suggested after months and months of working on pieces here and there, that I be pitched to Disney Fine Art. I built an entire collection for them to see, and in 11/2010, after multiple conversations, and presentations… I was accepted into their Pop Art Division.

Mind you, I came into this position as a temp worker in the business sector. I never had an INKLING of an idea that this was ever going to happen to me. I was too busy struggling to survive to really have any dreams of being an artist… let alone, an artist for Disney. I thought a lot of about Disney Consumer Products when creating this piece. Literally this company is more than just animation and art, its the number one licensor in the world. This Universal Product Code is literally just a fact, these are products… Products that inspire, products that keep children healthy, products that provide entertainment and make people laugh. Sure there is some incredibly harsh criticism about the company over the years over their actions, but this piece has nothing to do with that. Its simply a factual statement against a recognizable background with a history of where I used to be.