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“Home, Here is Love, Love is Here”, Loveless Letters Series, No. 13

30 Mar

This is the third piece of the Loveless Letters Series. The first was exploration through an accident. The second was the uncontrollable gush from years of pent up imagination and desire of freeform. The third piece is about regaining control through environmental restrictive measures. I couldn’t be in my studio to create these anymore, because left to my own devices after this experimental phase of the stream of consciousness series, I would go further into a spiraling blather of blunderbuss nonsense. I needed to regain a sense of structure, yet continue in my imaginative pursuits of rediscovering the icon in various different ways. I set myself with these rules:

  1. Every element on this canvas had to be used from something I didn’t own. These elements could not be anything that belonged to me, or resided in my studio.
  2. Much like all of these canvases in this series, they had to go with me WHEREVER I WENT. This included cafes, temp jobs, beaches, the gym, and even hiking up 1600 ft to the top of Mt. Hollywood. If I was outside, the canvas had to come with me. However unlike the other ones, this COULD NOT be created in my studio.

With those rules, this canvas was made with:

  1. Coffee from the House of Pies , 1869 N. Vermont Ave. Los Angeles, CA 2/15
  2. Coffee from Bru cafe, 1866 N. Vermont Ave, Los Angeles, CA 2/16
  3. Coffee from Fred 62’s 1850 N. Vermont Ave, Los Angeles, CA 2/16
  4. Coffee from an office job 1910 W. Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 2/16
  5. Highlighters from an office job 1910 W. Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 2/17
  6. White out from an office job 1910 W. Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 2/17
  7. Staples from an office job 1910 W. Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 2/16
  8. Red Sharpie from an office job 1910 W. Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 2/17
  9. Tapatio (later sealed) from Swingers Diner, 8020 Beverly Blvd, Los Angeles 2/18
  10. Pen from a random stranger outside a church courtyard in East Hollywood. 2/18
  11. Pen from a stranger inside Bru cafe,  1866 N. Vermont Ave, Los Angeles, CA 2/16
  12. Black acrylic paint sourced in SGV 2/14

When coffee is mentioned before, its literally the coffee from my cup from various different establishments near my studio. Since I couldn’t work in my studio, since that was the rule, I’d skip over to the diners and coffee houses and work there, often spilling coffee onto the canvas, and pressing the base of cup in a circle to make a stain. At one point, a patron at a diner tried to stop me during one of my pourings, exclaiming “What are you DOING?! You are ruining it!”

When an office job is mentioned, I randomly pick up temp jobs here and there to support myself as an artist in launch phase. In this case, I was working for two days as a desk clerk at a local union in Echo Park. I brought my canvas with me, since the work was slow, and with permission began to use all their office supplies to create a piece. People seemed pretty intrigued rather than bothered by my work, except for when I used a stapler. One of my coworkers asked “Why are you stapling the canvas”, to which I replied “Because I have to”, and thats the truth…. if the object is there, and it is readily usable for the piece, then it has to be used.

It did however get a little awkward when I was called into a meeting to take notes for the director, the lawyer, and the client on the phone. Everything was fine until I realized that they were drinking out of smaller coffee cups than I had used on my canvas in my staining in the cafes and diners. I’m taking notes, and I can feel this pressure in me to figure out HOW i was going to get their coffee onto the canvas. I was diligently taking notes, and suddenly there was this momentous pause in the conversation, I quickly grabbed the lawyers cup and poured a little bit onto the canvas, and pressed the cup into it to make a circle. He paused and emitted a ‘uh…p” noise out of his throat while watching me use the piece to make my work. There was this awkward silence while I did it, but the conversation continued without a blip. They looked thoroughly amused at my eccentricities, and honestly I wouldn’t have done it if I had thought it would have caused an issue. .. but nonetheless life went on, and as you can see, there are two smaller coffee rings from the incident on the canvas.

One notable thing about this piece is the patterns inside the “HERE IS LOVE. LOVE IS HERE”. This pattern was something I used to be known for in my early work when I was a sketch artist (pre painting). I had lost that ability to create patterns like that in 2006, and suddenly found my hands redoing them out of the blue. You will see in future pieces that this becomes an integral part to the Loveless Letters Series.

(UPDATE AUGUST 30th: SOLD)

“Light Bulb City, Population: Infinite”, Loveless Letters Series, No. 12,

29 Mar

Six years ago I lost my creative synapses and the use of my hands. My brain was downtrodden with pollution, physical intoxicants, to the point of consistent delerium. Slowly, very slowly, I began to lose everything, and the world closed into this tight heated cramped space of living. I had, in essence, become less of shell of myself, and my ultimate defeat and crash in 2009 left me burnt with nowhere to go. It was rock bottom.

Surely what cured me was to retrain myself in painting. I spent the next few years diligently retraining my hands to work again. A compass and a clear plastic ruler were my teachers. I spent 60 hours a week, consistently painting, isolating myself from the world in this dingy studio off of Kingsley and Santa Monica in Little Armenia… a slightly run down sector of East Hollywood in Los Angeles. The thought process was there, but I lived by the ruler and compass like a pair of crutches.

I have been afraid to leave those crutches, and in fairness, with my recent launch over the past few years and exposure through Disney, people have relied on that geometric aesthetic as a representation of what I do.

However in January, something happened. I was being filmed for this documentary called “Tie It Into My Hand” by Paul Festa. I was the 89th teacher in this film, and what I was teaching was incredibly ethereal in concept, but totally tangible in reality. In essence, I was to teach Paul, the violinist, how to play the violin concerto by Tchaikovsky, better. The thing is with me, and the for the most part the rest of the teachers, is that none of the teachers were violinists… they were artists in other fields. So in this documentary, I decided to use what I commonly am plagued with, which is synesthesia. Synesthesia is not common for sensory deficient people. For the most part, our brains make up what we cannot see or feel. Like tasting a headache, or smelling a temperature. … I’m very used to crossing these senses to get a glimpse of what you may see in color.

So in this film, I’m teaching paul to play a color that represents the emotional cortex of the piece. In essence, since this music piece is somewhat of a love/lust letter, I’m imagining that he should be feeling deep warm colors mixed in with high heat colors. I’m hearing him play, and when he’s losing momentum, the piece is beginning to feel cold… which could roughly translate into blues and turquoises… muted cools. So I’m asking him to play again until the color represents the piece for him, and the musical temperature represents the piece for me.

When Paul Festa left that night, I closed my door and sat down at my drafting table and peered out over the edge to the window, which was slightly aglow with the city lights muted against a deep dark night. My head was humming with things that I hadn’t felt in a long time. As if, my shell cracked, and my yolk was about to spill. I could feel the crackling in my form begin to happen… and this vastness in my head began to manifest itself. The narrow, hot, shallowness began to widen into white open coolness. It was at this point where I started to realize that something strange was about to happen.

The draft of No. 12  “Wake Up and Smell the Sound of Coffee” was the gateway into this series, and this was the initial gush of nonsense that first came out. It was as if an infinite number of light bulbs were popping like popcorn in my body. Lights glittering ablaze against the brick walls of my head. .. That is what I felt, and that is what I painted. This piece is a cityscape, infinite in form and population. Each window in this piece has a tiny story. There are valleys of words, and at the base, is the borderline of where the colors I used existed, and became an actual beings for the piece. I cannot tell you what colors I used, because there is absolutely NO structure to this piece to ever recreate this piece again.

In the face resides the editorial for the piece.

MAIN FACE EDITORIAL:

“FEBRUARY 12th, TWO THOUSAND AND TWELVE, LOS FELIZ VILLAGE, LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA

WARM PACIFIC WINTER, SIXTY THREE DEGREES, EAST HOLLYWOOD:

I’ve often wondered how people portrayed a depiction of an idea before the invention of the lightbulb. Did they use a candle, or a flaming big torch up above their head? How did people communicate a symbol of an idea? Possible I should have researched it before writing this, BUT that is the point of this. I fully come into this piece not knowing the origins of a depicted idea. All I know is what happened while creating this. You have to know that I require structure to create the lines, divide the color, and I feel safe as a blind person to hue to have structure to section off where things need to be. .. It is more therapeutic to have that. But THIS. THIS VERY PIECE is a lightbulb turned on after so many years of quiet darkness. The room is lit up and the space is beautiful. My head has become this city full of noise and sound, … and its so nice to have it.”

SIDE PANEL EDITORIAL:

“When I was 8 years old I moved to a town called Marietta, Georgia. The bay window faced south east towards the city of Atlanta.  As I grew, so did the expanding waistline of the city. The window faced this hill/street that ended at the top cul-de-sac and all you could see was this faint glow… and the older I got the brighter the light grew. I thought the light was something heaven bound, the beginning of another world, far better than this redneck town. I didn’t know that is was the city getting bigger, as the reality of my dreams were slowly more exposed as I came into my teens. I learned that the light that I stared at contained far more possibilities than where I lived. There in the city lived people who would understand… and the traffic, OH THE TRAFFIC, it would be busy as my head. Sure enough that glow, the one I followed, brought me THERE, to this MOMENT HERE.”

BORDERLINE OF WORK AND PLAY:

“Please colors, identify yourself and what you worked on today, and don’t forget, please turn in your time cards at (and) the end of your shift, Thank You. The Management

“Wake Up and Smell The Sound of Coffee”, Loveless Chronicle Series, No. 11

28 Mar

There are no mistakes in life, and there are certainly no mistakes in art. There are no wrong turns, just unexpected ones. After all, what would be the point of our life if everything was a linear path? IF…. our lives were built on a straight shot from point a to point b,  how misguided would our potential be? Our lives were built for swooping circles, twists and turns. These unexpected blips of chaos are the very ones that remind us why we are alive, question our purpose, and ultimately guide us in new directions.

With that being said, the whole different direction of this project was created off of one accidental pen mark. I’ll explain further below.

So far No. 1 – No. 7 were relatively safe executions. These were pattern saturated concepts with understood color schemes that I was safe with. No. 8 through No. 11, were at best starting to split from the normal ranges of work but still geometric in form.

No. 12 was the gateway into a new series I call the “Loveless Letters” Series, and it all happened to do a rough draft that was due to be used and destroyed for printing press purposes. In my line review of my work, No. 8 through No. 11 came with some criticism. The barcode and dollar signs were immediately nixed, and I was asked to change the television piece (Toon In, Tune Out, No. 09) ‘s text to “TURN ON/TURN OFF” to something else because it might be misconstrued. We agreed to change the word to “SWITCH” in order for the piece to go to production.

So here I have this blank uneven canvas (which is unable to be stretched), a Mickey drafted out, and I’m creating the words “SWITCH” in the ears. When I was done, I looked back at it for a moment. Here was the dodgy piece, just kind of laying there, and it just felt unused, and filed with white space (which is something I cannot stand). I had slipped my sharpie marker from writing something next to the canvas, and created a V-shape over Mickey’s head by accident. I immediately drew an uneven crown to leverage against the mistake. I paused and sat back. The silence in my head was deafening. It was then my whole vision tunneled towards the canvas, and I, for the next hour completely went into an artistic blackout.

When I emerged, I saw this strangely structured stream of consciousness piece in front of me. This was beyond anything I’d ever done in the past few years. I was so used to well thought out, perfectly designed structural pieces, that this… was the antithesis of everything I stood for as an artist.

This was not clean, safe, and sound. This was raw, deep, organic, and textural.

The face was the last thing that I worked on, and rather than design a pattern inside like I was used to, I decided to write instead.  I wrote this in homage to Paul Festa, the catalyst to all of this really. I will share with you in the next piece why Paul was an instrumental figure into this awakening.

“FEBUARY SEVENTH, TWO THOUSAND AND TWELVE

LOCATION: LOS FELIZ VILLAGE IN LOS ANGELES CALIFORNIA

9:45 PM.

I just recently came back from Las Vegas in where I had the most peculiar wave of sensation happen. Granted I’m used bouts of synesthesia but this was intense. I’m at the casino at Circus Circus and I get this huge taste of lemon/lime and its so acidic that its almost unreal and I haven’t had anything lemon lime that I suddenly realize that Im not actually tasting it in my tastebuds, but I’m hearing it. All the casino sounds were translating a sense of taste and it was absolutely crazy. I was overcome with the cross sense that I began to wonder if it would ever go away (and it eventually did). As a kid I used to think that these kinds of incidences were bad, but I’ve come to know that things like this are beautiful and rare and that when tasting a sound or smelling a touch or maybe even feeling a temperature to a color. That is a gift. A slap from heaven saying WAKE UP AND SMELL THE SOUND OF COFFE!”

Update: May 2012 (SOLD)