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The Distance Between Two Points, Geometric Spectrum, No. 69

30 Nov

 The Distance Between Two Points

Geometry goes beyond just the mathematics of shapes, but delves into the mathematics of circumstance, time, and connection. Our lives are built on the architecture of non physical, but circumstantial math that begs the question “How did we get here, and how are we connected?” The end piece to the Geometric Spectrum series paints a portrait of metaphysical geometry, closing this chapter as a means to awaken the viewer to the possibilities of our connections.

I started this piece as an accident one afternoon off of St. Marks Place at the Yaffa Cafe in New York City. Having just finished “Susquehanna”, a piece on TransAmerican conversations becoming an integral part of art, I picked up a rolled up blank canvas, and promptly set a coffee cup to flatten out its shape. The coffee cup was wet with its dark brew, and created a stained ring at the top of Mickey’s face. With my head heavy from seeing the multitude of connections created from “Susquehanna”, my view of this coffee stain was more than an accident. This stain existed at this specific time and this location, and therefore would never exist again at this same time and location on this piece. This created a beginning point of geometry where people, time, circumstance, and location formed a shape unknown and unformed until its end creation.

At that time and place, I realized that metaphysical and emotional geometry was a shape I could not see, but I sought to create. I would not know when I was going to complete this, or how it would look, and there was no formula in my life to bring this together.

Here is where it led me, and this is where it was painted:

  1. Yaffa Cafe, NYC, NY (Beginning, 8/25/2013 at 2:00PM)
  2. L Train to Brooklyn, NY
  3. Rented Apartment, Brooklyn, NY (Influence Point)
  4. Flight 2913 NYC to Los Angeles
  5. BRU Cafe, Los Angeles, CA
  6. Edgemont // Hollywood Blvd, Los Angeles, CA
  7. Flight 783 from Los Angeles to Chicago, IL
  8. Flight 2024 Chicago, IL to Berlin, Germany (Influence Point)
  9. East London Restaurant, Kreuzberg, Berlin
  10. Mehringdamm Flat, Kreuzberg, Berlin (Influence Point)
  11. Flight Schönefeld Airport to ORLY France
  12. Simplon Flat, Northern Paris, France (Influence Point)
  13. Montmarte, Paris
  14. Le Marais, Paris
  15. Flight ORLY France, to Schönefeld, Berlin
  16. East London Restaurant, Kreuzberg, Berlin (Influence Point)
  17. Mehringdamm Flat, Kreuzberg, Berlin 9/26/2013 8:00AM (Influence Point)

The influence points in the location sectors are people who helped me formulate how this piece would form. On the street, in my flat that I was sharing, or just people on the street, I asked “Where should this line go?”, and from there the form of the piece would change. The influence points are pivotal markers in the painting that ultimately changed the direction, and therefore connected the location and the people together.

Geometry is more than just shapes, and it connects us in ways we take for granted. As artists, we are conduits and storytellers that bring images to life by means of other people, time, and places. This painting is a reminder of this geometry that exists in the air within us.

This piece is called “The Distance Between Two Points”, and is the last of the Geometric Spectrum Series. In the top frame you will see two coffee stains. One is the beginning coffee stain, created at Yaffa Cafe, in St. Marks Place in NYC, NY. This stain was created on 8/25/2013. The 2nd coffee stain was created in the Mehringdamm flat in Kreuzberg, Berlin on 9/26/2013 at 8:00AM using the previous days espresso from the East London Restaurant.

This created a time difference of 768 hours (46,080 minutes), and the distance of 3,988.38 miles marking ‘the distance between two points” which is noted in the marriage of these two stains.


“Still Life With Mountains”, Geometric Spectrum Series, No. 52

8 Apr

"Still Life With Mountains"

As I grow closer to the close of this series, my ideas on symmetry, the VERY foundation of this chapter, grows further and further away from my safety zones. I suppose I have become sentimental about the progress of my work throughout this project now that I’ve gone past 60 pieces. This is primarily because I have seen such exponential growth in my aesthetic as this project unfolds. I never knew just how far this project would take me, but when you think about it, that this is a project where you really have to think beyond your normal scope to make this face unique and different each time… well when I look back, its just incredible that it has happened.

This piece was originally going to be about the emotion of ‘Insanity’ but as this unfolded at my desk in my San Francisco studio, I realized that this vision had to be expanded for a geometric piece instead. I felt that working in anything but this pattern would be a disservice to the piece, and began to saturate the entirety of the canvas in this fashion.

This is called “Still Life with Mountains”, and is a landscape breakdown in geometric form of mountain ranges of different colors that zipper and kaleidoscope around  and inside  his face. It is a blend of chaos and calculation in a primary color scale that make up a geometric foundation for the series. This is the 9th in the “Geometric Spectrum Series” and No. 60 in the TENxTENxTEN collection

“Pink Bermuda”, Geometric Spectrum, No. 43

9 Dec

"Pink Bermuda"

Continuing on the path of the “Geometric Series”, I decided to work on a few elements here, beyond just chromatic shapes. My focus on this piece was from a particular notorious period of style in the 80’s influenced by “The Memphis Group”

“The Memphis Group” was a Italian architecture and design group formed by Ettore Sottsass, whose primary aesthetic was the chaotic blending of Italian Futurism, Art Deco, and Pop Art. While this group primarily worked with sculpture, furniture, and accessories, their aesthetic was the MOST influential design movement that defined the very style of the 80’s. Often met with great criticism and considered one of the most obnoxious modern art styles (even to the point of playfully being called a ‘shotgun wedding between Bauhaus and Fischer-Price), Sottsass’s style was possibly one of the most notorious and yet the most misunderstood visions of our time.

This piece, entitled “Pink Bermuda” (in reference to “The Bermuda Triangle”, and the pink sands notoriously associated with Bermuda itself) was influenced by The Memphis Art Group’s “George J. Sowden’s “Acapulco” clock prototype in 1981. This piece, whose colors were cerulean blue and pink, which were considered completely unconventional and bizarre, YET became a staple for The Memphis-Milano Movement, and singlehandedly became the trend forecasted color combination for years to come in fashion and art.


“Vertigo, Vertigoing, Vertigone”, Geometric Spectrum Series, No. 41

20 Nov


It had been months since I had worked on something geometric. My head was overwhelmed with New York City and all the Mickey heads were blooming into other directions.My brain was operating in this attention deficit direction and my imagination was pointing into a million directions like an exploding octopus. At this point Disney Fine Art had established the core categories of the project, and I became focused on making some kind of headway into the other divisions. I began to shy away from the “Geometric Spectrum” part of the series because I felt in some way, that returning back to the basics would have felt defeatist in some sense.

I’ve come to learn, with all projects, no matter how short the timeframe, that returning back to the basics, can somehow reset the soul and settle the brain. I thought about Neoplasticism and its core operations of being, and how simplicity isn’t necessarily simple, and how geometric work, even at its primal executions, were still beautiful and relative.

I sat with this Mickey for a while, trying not to rehash the same elements of the series, and tried to push the idea of “Geometric Spectrum” further. The beauty about the elements of shapes is that they hone on the most fundamental and easily understood aspects of our surface feelings. Staring into a simple shape can evoke the most basic of emotions and for some of us, that brings the feeling of safety of recognizing how we feel about the art we see. In this piece, I created circles circling outwards, and played on light and darkness to give not just a feeling of dimension, but a feeling of depth and direction. I titled this “Vertigo, Vertigoing, Vertigone” for the shapes imbues a sense of soft confusion and warm dizziness. The background elements are red to emphasize a feeling of quiet madness, while Mickey radiates a light coolness, that emphasizes calmness and brings the viewer into a form of solace. This is number 46 in the series.


“Double Shadow”, Geometric Spectrum Series, No. 26, No. 27

23 Aug

Our environment is ever changing and asymmetrical. It is, at best filled with an impenetrable chaos filled with unpredictability and volatility. Painting in my aesthetic and the ridiculous balance it carries, is my way of coping with an unbalanced world, and my outright need to put order back into the chaos that surrounds me.

Furthermore, my need for symmetry is over compulsively inherent. I become obsessed with not only duplicity, but the idea of mirroring, and separating the twinning of something into positive and negative, light and dark, hot and cold, and so forth. This piece, entitled “Double Shadow”, is a statement to that obsession.

In this piece, there are two Identical Mickey’s in length and width. In fact, everything about them structurally is symmetrical. I decided to have them exist in the same world, but with different elements. They are surrounded by a world of broken nonsensical kaleidoscope shards of different temperatures. The one on the left is cold, and the one on the right is warm. They are exuding pigments of the opposite temperature to their background, that drips from their frame. Inside them, lay the words “DOUBLE SHADOW” in both light grey and titanium white that, too are opposite from each other.

Everything about them is different, and yet the structure and design is the same, providing a dichotomous effect of balanced different similarities. This piece, where the world is shown with unpredictability and chaos, Mickey is the anchor inside the storm. I consider these TWO pieces merged together, hence the idea of this being both 29 and 30.

“Mickey Pixel Drip”, Geometric Spectrum Series, No. 8, 1/2012

24 Mar

This is the first piece in letting go of my control of the geometric grid. This is against my artistic nature to let go of anything, yet at the very same time I am flexible to change outside my art. The two semi-dichotomous sentiments generally should be at war with each other, however in the process, the battle is traded in for an understanding. What you see is the beginning of retiring the comfortable nature of “coloring in the lines”.

I wasn’t that kid in class that colored outside of the lines. I was however the kid that took interpretive freedom with the subject that needed coloring. Sure there would be a coloring book page with a bunny giggling with an easter basket, and I’d do my best to use whatever crayon possible to acutely fill in the subject. I would however be far too engrossed in drawing other things around the bunny like a 7 headed scorpion monster from the realm of whatcha’macall’it to ever call anything finished. These two ideas, even as a kid strike a familiarity with my life now. Its the classic subject of the licensed character, and the tight rope of expression .vs. rendition…

This piece, entitled “Mickey Pixel Drip” is the gateway of freeing the grid. This is the bleeding of geometry while maintaining the template of Mickey intact. Sure the colors are tight within the frame, but outside, the checkers have no gravity, and they begin to drip. Mind you, there is STILL a sense of control in this, as the bottom of the bleeding pixels do not lose their boxed in frame to a circular (teardrop) base. It was suggested that I round out the bottom of the pixels, and I … couldn’t, because I wanted to still have a little bit of control, and maintain that box’ish aesthetic.

“Mickey Squared”, Geometric Spectrum Series, No. 7, 1/2012

23 Mar

Mickey Squared was the last piece where I executed a sense of control. Mind you, this is very thing that seems to define me as an artist. I’m known for a sense of rigid lines and every color has a place and everything makes sense. I work with a 1/4th angle brush to the bone until its obliterated. I used to strive for physical perfection in my work. I worked endless nights trying to make sure that every single line, angle, and square were perfect down to their measurements. This almost seems self defeating in a sense, since perfection in the cleanest line will read as a graphic design execution, and therefore removes the organic human quality of the piece.

It wasn’t until I found Roy Lichtenstein’s work at LACMA, that I let go the very idea of perfection. I saw he left pencil lines in around his circles and remember feeling this massive weight lift off of my hands, as if I was automatically granted permission to be human for a second from a teacher who had no idea I was a student. I remember being by myself, pointing at the painting and spontaneously screaming “A-HA!!!” at the piece, causing all the fellow patrons to quickly turn to look at me.

I forget that I am creating a body of work sometimes. It feels as if I’m having those dreams where I’m working, and the result never changes, and I’m left waking, realizing I’ve been dreaming the whole night working. My mind saturated with thought, process, that the art itself is a testament to my OCD behavior, striving for the perfect number, closing in on the perfect pattern, relegating the odd, and embracing only the even. The art is the process, not necessarily the final result.

This was, for the time being, the bungee cord piece. Where I stood at the ledge of creating my index of safety, before jumping off into more treacherous, and certainly more experimental work. I knew I’d be able to, and eventually would go back to structured pattern… but this was the first time I had the idea to even think about jumping into the depths of my imaginative capabilities.


“Diamond Grid Mickey”, Geometric Spectrum Series, No.2, 11/2011

18 Mar

This was immediately followed up right after finishing “Mickey Emits Rainbow Burst”. Originally the pattern in the face was a reversal of the background, but the thin lines of his lower jaw seemed to make the face disappear so I covered it in white. There are remnants of the background slightly underneath the white.

This was something, that I used to be SO uncomfortable with. I liked clean thin lines. I liked perfect solid patterns and spaces, with no history of my mistakes underneath.. however for some reason, I wanted have this inkling of my past tries in this painting, which you can slightly see. This was the first time I liked that idea (and you’ll see in more posts to come, where I eventually went with this).

This is painted with Light Ultramarine Blue (PB2) and CP Cadmium Orange (PO20) with a Fluorescent Orange overlay.

Disney Fine Art has this under “Diamonds are a Mouse’s Best Friend” which is hilarious.

“Mickey Emits Rainbow Burst”, Geometric Spectrum Series, No.1, 11/2011

18 Mar

“Mickey Emits Rainbow Burst” was the first piece that I did for the collection. The idea that was in my head at the time was that I was only allowed to do one to two pieces, and these (one to) two really had to count if I wanted to represent my style among the collective of other Disney Fine Artists who also were in the project. Previously with my work with DFA, I relied on geometric set ups to place my color choices. Everything is laid out to plan, kind of like a color by numbers grid, so that each pigment has a place. This is how colorblind people operate. If we cannot see the color, then we have to learn what color is by codes and words, and those codes and words are placed into purposely segmented areas to achieve a harmonious end result. In essence, the real art in a sense, is the communication from two different seeing color worlds (you from the world of color, and us from the world of codes and words).

Disney Fine Art retitled this “Mickey Emits Rainbows of Happiness” I believe.