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.

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“Alles Ist Wundershön”, Loveless Letters Series, No. 68

16 Nov

Alles Ist Wunderschon

 

I came back to Berlin from Paris feeling very sad. I had just spent an incredible week filled with painting in the daytime and dancing in the evenings, that returning to a place where I really didn’t know anyone on a personal level, made me quite melancholy.

I was afraid that I was going to lose that drive to create something when I returned, but I found that quite the opposite happened. I’m not sure whether it was that I had finally gotten over the 9 hour time difference and jet lag, but my experience of Berlin the 2nd time around was completely different. I had fallen in love with the city. It was like I was seeing the same thing, but my eyes had completely unfocused and refocused to see the picture differently. The people were different, the food tasted different, and the weight of my feet as they walked down the street was different. Everything seemed to open up like awakening calyx, and all of it was wonderful.

Now I understood why Berlin was called the “Belle Epoque” for our generation. Everything was happening there. At every second of the day, everything creative was happening.. and it was a different kind of creativity that I had never experienced. It was as if all the stars in the sky were aligned with this city, and all of the heavens were pouring into the city streets at every moment. The city was alive with the world at its fingertip, and being in that moment.. in that city, it felt like I was alive for the first moment of my life…. not just breathing and telling time.. but actual living… beyond my mental scope.

I did the same thing I did in Paris. I painted wherever I could. I carried my rolled up canvases on the U-bahn and traveled to the most random of places to paint. Curry Wurst vendor stands, coffee houses, and restaurants… even just on the streets. I painted in Schöneberg, Mitte, Kreuzberg, Neukölln, and Prenzlauerberg. Sometimes I even just rode the U-bahn for hours with no destination but just a stop to get off and experience things new.

I decided to create a piece based on that awakening, and that vision of the universe pouring itself into the city. This piece is called “Alles Ist Wunderschön”, which means “Everything is Wonderfully Beautiful”. Each building tells an intricate story of the city and my time there. There are names here of people I met like Sammy and Josh from the East London restaurant.. where I did a lot of my painting there, to Sergio and his puppy Oscar… to my hosts Chantal and Gary (and their children Mira and Elliot).. who I met in Echo Park at the diner.. and thats how I found a place to stay in Berlin. There are names of districts and U-bahn stops all over this map as well. And of course little things I experienced like the hearing the church bells ring every hour, to the protests and marches over the country’s elections, down to the simplest things… like the overwhelming amount of bees that swarmed around the pastry shops and attacked the pastries I was eating. Everything was a integral experience of my time there in Berlin, and when I left back to Los Angeles.. I felt a little lost, and yet a bit found at the same time.

Berlin changed a lot of things for me, and not all of them were immediate. Even as I type these words the changes inside me are still happening, and I think for a long time these changes will still continue to go on.

Inside this Mickey head reads.

“Mehringdamm and Yorkstraße, Berlin,

Germany, October, 3rd, 2013

Everything is wonderful here in Berlin. The streets are alive with art here in Kreuzberg. At night the avenues fill up with thousands of starry eyed people laughing and cajoling with each other. They shake off the cold weather and grey clouds and run into the night with their arms open wide to embrace all that the city has to offer. The floodgate in my heart is open here and I cannot for the life of me stop painting. I carry this painting wherever I go here. From Warschauerstraße to Mitte to Neukölln to Prenzlauerberg and beyond. Sometimes I just ride on the u-bahn for hours with no destination in mind just to get hopelessly lost to find myself. And I have. I have! I have found myself. I came here to Berlin as a stranger, a lost kid amongst the stars. I leave this place as a person found, a person now hungry for the universe and all its wonder. I can breathe here. My soul and lungs are full of stardust here. I am alive here in Berlin. I am awake and its wunderbar.”

This is the 9th in the Loveless Letters series, and 78th in the TENxTENxTEN collection

“Dimension Mouse”, Extra Series, No. XX

15 Nov

560O0036C Dimension Mouse 14X14

 

It’s amazing to see the progress not just on the technical details of this project, but the development of my aesthetic for this 10x10x10 project. This piece is one of the forgotten blog pieces of this project. It was created in January of 2012 in my Los Feliz apartment off of Vermont and Franklin. This technically was the FIRST of the Contemporary Modern Series (or Modern and Abstract Series)

This was based off of Bridget Riley’s “Movement in Squares, 1961”

Sitting here and looking at this portrait, and comparing it to everything that happened past “WAKE UP AND SMELL THE SOUND OF COFFEE” really puts things into perspective. These pieces have become almost like journal entries in which each piece represents a time and place where I was at with not just my art, but my life in general.

I’ve tried to get this one back so I can work on it further and make it more complex, but then again.. that would diminish the idea of this project.. which is about not just the mouse, but the exponential growth and the telling of it during this project.

While this isn’t the 77th piece of the collection, … it more resides in the first ten of the collection.. I’m going to keep it here in order not to reformat everything else in this blog and use it as an icon of where I was and where I’ve progressed.

“Mon Cœur Électrique”, Loveless Letters Series, No. 67

14 Nov

Mon Cœur Électrique

 

I arrived to Paris ORLY from Schönefeld in Berlin. I had spent a week in Berlin because I had heard it was the ‘Belle Epoque” for artists. I flew to Berlin to find something hidden in my head, as other artists claimed that if you wanted to expand your visual understanding of things, well.. Berlin was the place….. and while I found much inspiration in that city, I felt the need to reconnect back to Paris to see, … just see if there was something more to this “Belle Epoque” idea. 
 
The minute I got off the plane, something in my head and chest began to tingle. It was almost as if there was this tuning fork in my body that someone (or something) hit inside of me. Visions of work started flipping through my brain like an out of control zoetrope. I ran through the airport to the metro and took the train to my friends apartment in Northern Paris. 
 
When I arrived to Txeo and Romain’s flat, I immediately threw down my luggage and rolled out my canvas to paint. It was the strangest sensation. It was one of the first times where I was so overloaded with an idea that I had to get it out as soon as I could. The next day I took the painting all over the city. I painted on the street with my art book as my easel, and sat down on the street corners of Le Marais, Marcedet de Poissonniers, and Barbes Rocheouart. I painted on the steps of Sacre Cœur in Montmartre, as well as the concrete field of the Centre De Pompidou. I painted in cafés, restaurants, but most of all I painted on the street. 
 
This piece is a loveless letters painting that goes over that emotion of being overwhelmed with inspiration. In each corner there is a skull that represents a part of the body and the natural occurrence that attaches to it. 
 
1. NW. Mon Esprit (My Mind)- Speech = La Tempete Électrique (Thunder Storm)
2. NE. Ma Voix (My Voice)- Speech = Ouragan (Hurricane)
3. SW. Mon Cœur (My Heart)- Speech = La Foudre (Lightning)
4. SE.Mon Âme (My Soul)- Speech = Seisme (Earthquake)
 
Here is some additional information on the piece:
 
Left Side Background- These are the directions that I wrote to get to my flat. It says “METRO RER (B) to GARE DU NORD to METRO 4 to SIMPLON.
 
Upper Background- While it rained in Paris, it was not depressing. Rain at times saddens me beyond belief because I was oversaturated with it in Seattle (Seriously.. 18 months in Seattle and it rained  a total of 15 months of that time.. sometimes nonstop for 90 days.. and thats taken the … love of rain away for me 🙂 ). There are clouds that are raining, but they are raining symbols that I’ve taken in. The clouds say “Connect here because wonderment never ceases”
 
Right Background- It says “Inside all of us are these tuning forks and certain places in the world hit us in the most mysterious ways.. to let us know in vibes where we belong”
 
Lower Background- It says “In from the heart and out into the world” as well as “Espoir” which means ‘Hope” in French.
 
Here is the blog inside Mickey’s head.
 
“Arrondissement XVIII, September XXV, 2013
 
You can feel it in the air here in Paris. I can’t explain it. It is like this subtle vibration. You can feel it in your bones. Something exists here but what it is I cannot tell. I arrived from Schönefeld to ORLY and rode the metro to Simplon, and on the train my head began to create visions of work. It is here where I dream best… underneath the thick metropolitan French clouds. There are thousands of pictures rotating in my heart like an overloaded washing machine. I never want to leave here. Some of us I feel were born in the wrong place for a reason, like.. we are falling stars of meteors that just landed in the wrong spots, and we our whole lives we travel to find out where we were supposed to land. Maybe thats the vibration.. its a signal for home.
 
Or maybe I just have the flu”
 
On the outskirt of the painting (which you cannot see here), there is another piece that says:
 
” This painting started on a friday afternoon in the 18th arrondissement in Paris, France. It conspired in a 5th floor residence off of Ornano st, near Simplon Metro. In the history of this project, I have never had such a fire lit underneath me. Every city I have been in, in my life has never affected me as much. I initially came to Berlin to feel something, become one with the Belle Epoque, but I found it here, underneath the floorboards of this Parisian Apartment.”
 
I also drew the front and back of my 5 day metro pass to its exact detail.
 
I left back to Berlin with my heart fully aching. Although I had finished the piece in Paris, I felt that a week wasn’t enough time to get what was in my head out. This piece is an amulet of my experience there, and I can only hope that one day I will have the opportunity to return to incorporate a body of work that this city of Paris inspires. I am truly in love with that city. I cannot tell you enough how much a love it. 

“Exclamation Appointment”, Contemporary Modern Series, No. 66

10 Oct

Exclamation Appointment 14x14

Back when I was a child in Georgia, my school had taken me to the High Museum of Art in Atlanta. This was the place where I felt the most comfortable with my often eccentric thoughts and ideas. Armed with a walkman, I would peruse room by room, listening to music, and lose myself in the vaulted white walls that carried frames of contemporary art for me to contemplate. Art, back then, did not register as a thing to understand historically, but rather they were elements of introspection for my child self. Each canvas was like a mirror that showed me what I was really supposed to see. Each canvas was a sounding board for my infantile emotions.

I never registered much beyond that until I turned that fateful corner one day, and my eyes car wrecked into a Roy Lichtenstein painting. I saw this woman, splattered with dots, crying over her lover. My eyes could not take in what I was seeing and I felt my heart disconnect, reconfigure itself, and jumpstart my body into a million chills. This was the first time that art and I connected beyond the self.

My teacher eventually found me 45 minutes later, still staring at this piece.

“There are so many other rooms for you to see” she said.

“Yes but I can’t stop looking at this painting. I like this one the best”

25 years later, I still remember that moment when I connected with Roy Lichtenstein’s work. He was, and is, my greatest influence for my own body of work. His subjects, his precision, and his entire collection is paramount to anything I have ever seen. It was no surprise that he was the leading artist in the new art movement, and furthermore it was no surprise that he was my leading inspiration to paint.

This piece is called “Exclamation Appointment”, and is a tribute to Roy Lichtenstein’s work. This however was not formatted with Lichtenstein’s classic ben day dot approach. Instead I made 2,712 squares to the get the center point of 678 circles, and drafted them by hand. After much work, I removed 1/2 of the circles, and painted the background with Roy’s classic blue (Cerulean PG7x1/PB36x4/PW6x1). Because this piece took a lot of time, I carried this with me across the United States while traveling for work. This was painted in

Denver, Colorado
Anaheim, California
Philadelphia, Pennslyvania
Washington, D.C.
Brooklyn, New York
New York City, New York
Los Angeles, California

This marks as the 9th in the Contemporary Modern series, and 75th of the TENxTENxTEN collection.

“Cazador De Sueños”, Contemporary Modern Series, No. 65

9 Oct

Cazador De Sueños 14x14

Further abandoning the sacred line and the safety of an enclosed geometric shape, I studied the formats of Neo-Expressionism and its dismissal of perfecting the ‘known object’. This is a hard concept when it comes to an icon like Mickey that does, for the most part, rely on its known shape to be considered authentic. Sure the shape can change to the aesthetic of the artist, and we’ve seen this with many artists (Ex: Keith Haring, Ron English, etc) and Mickey Mouse in the past… but formulating my own voice and aesthetic in a Neo-Expressionist fashion, without compromising the structure of the tenxtenxten regulations (the silhouette must remain the same)… well… it was just a different story.

In coming up with own voice, I decided to research through the pathways of one of the most notorious Neo-Expressionist painters, Jean-Michel Basquiat. This was somewhat of a dichotomous subject, as Basquiat’s work was mostly on sociopolitical gatherings rather than commercial commentary. Furthermore the idea of Mickey Mouse integrated as a main subject HAD to appear mentally salubrious to the viewer.

This provided a challenge.

I realized that this was a focus on aesthetic rather than actual parallel communicative content to Basquiat’s vision, and pushed further through the piece painting it as a surface level execution. This piece asks the question, how would a Neo-Expressionist painter approach the idea of visiting Disneyland and paint his or her transgressive experience?

That very question was answered in this piece.

This is called “Cazador de Sueños”, which means “Dream Hunter” in Spanish. It reflects an abstract vision of visiting Disneyland in Anaheim, California. There are areas here that relate to Disney such as “Main Street”, “Downtown”, “Parade” and “Fireworks! Ooh! Ahh! Yay! Kaboom!”, and carries familiar words associated with its brand like “Vista” on the left hand side and “Buena” on the right hand side (Buena Vista). There are two hats which say “Lost” and “Found” which represents beyond the surface level idea of a department, and more hones in on that ‘lost’ feeling we so often get in our lives, and that ‘found’ happiness we have when we visit the park. Beyond that, the central most hat with the eye represents an opened consciousness when coming to the park.. and that newfound vision of bliss we see when entering the park and enjoying all that Disneyland has to offer.

This comes as number 8 in the Contemporary Modern Series, and is number 74 in the TENxTENxTEN collection.

“Susquehanna”, Loveless Letters Series, No. 64

28 Sep

560O0108C Susquehanna 14X14

Travel is what moves me.

I spend many hours of my life in my apartment sitting at a drafting table to create these pieces. Being an artist can be quite lonely, and with all the hours of the day that rise through the sun and pass through the moon, I find myself desperate to inhale inspiration from my apartment walls to breathe out imagination in my work. After returning to Los Angeles from San Francisco, I felt myself quite frustrated with my predicament. I walked around Los Feliz with my pieces and felt ultimately blocked from anything to burst from my fingertips through my brushes.

I wish I could be that artist who could find inspiration in a stationary state, but my mind refuses to work like that. I have to be consistently in a state of visual immersion to feel something. I am always… just trying to feel something.

I saved up all the money I could from the job at the diner, and planned flights across the United States. I knew that if I took myself out of my own environment, the clockwork in my brain would begin to work ,and the gears in my head would eventually sync up with the gears up in the stars.. and I would think again.

This piece started in a little restaurant in the middle of Curtis Park in Denver, Colorado. I was arriving in town to speak with a gallery about a possible piece about Denver. I sat there struggling to come up with an idea.. and watched two women enter my vicinity. The woman was talking about her boyfriend and how their astrological signs did not match up. She said to her friend, “Oh.. he and I just don’t match astrologically… we are just trouble written in the stars”

Suddenly, like a cannon blast, my brain shot forward through my heart, and a thousand images split and multiplied in front my eyes within a quick second. My hand shot forward with my brush against the canvas, and just like that, I found myself painting something in Mickey’s left ear. What came to fruition was a picture of the galaxy. I drew the woman as the constellation of Andromeda, with circular shapes and dots representing the ‘trouble written in the stars’ around her.

What I realized at that point, was that other locations were not the only beacons of inspiration to jumpstart my imagination, but that other people were as well. This piece suddenly became like a sounding board of other people’s fascinating and intricate lives, both eavesdropped and personally conversed. I wanted to finally paint a piece about the strangers I encountered and how their words transpired visions across the map of Mickey himself.

Here are the explanations below:

1. Left ear to forehead: Previous explanation of “trouble written in the stars”, Diamond represents strength.

2. Right ear: At the Denver Art Museum (DAM) I watched two young men complain about an abstract expressionism piece involving simple displays of circles and lines. One of them said “I don’t get it. I just don’t get the circles. I don’t know how this is called art. This makes me feel stupid”. Underneath the ear are dripping patterns representing rain in Los Angeles. A woman was talking to herself  on Edgemont and Hollywood Blvd about how she purposely moved away from the Pacific Northwest to escape the weather, and how she felt the rain was following her.

3. Background // Conversation Bubbles: Two women in a Echo Park diner in Los Angeles were talking about their friends. One girl said “I can’t tell if three of my friends have multiple personality disorders or whether they are just dedicated actors” I chose three characters and multiplied their poses in the speech bubbles”.

4. Background // Right // Left // Mountains: I drew these in Philadelphia Pennsylvania. I sparked a conversation with friends about the overwhelming beauty of Denver, and it began this long conversation about American mountain culture.

5. Background // Bottom // Clouds: In Anaheim California during the D23 convention, a woman burst sashaying with her friend through the gallery where I was painting. She said “Oh… you haven’t been to the Southwest?? Oh you just have to go. The skies in the Southwest are spectacular. And as soon as she said this, she was sashaying away to another space, This phrase resonated a memory of a song called “Little Fluffy Clouds” by The Orb, and I immediately started drawing clouds.

6. Background // Upper Left // Cloud + Lightbulb: While painting the clouds at the D23 convention in Anaheim, California.. a child came up to me and asked me how I painted clouds. She didn’t believe that I painted them. I showed her a live demonstration on how a cloud is painted. She then asked me to paint lightning.. to which I painted a light bulb popping out underneath it. She asked me “Why did you do that?” and I replied “Lightning is just someone up there testing on the light switch for us”

7.  Background // Upper Right // Skulls: This was a test of a Lichtenstein dot pattern. This was going to be left blank until I heard a conversation in a cafe in the Adams Morgan District of Washington D.C. A couple was talking about Dia De Los Muertos, and how the East Coast didn’t properly represent it. The woman said to her boyfriend “Well if you are ever going to see it right, .. you have to visit Tijuana or somewhere San Francisco’ish”.

8. Background // Middle Right // BELLE EPOQUE: In a restaurant in DuPont Circle in Washington D.C. I was having coffee with Leslie Combemale of Art Insights, a gallery out in the D.C. Metro//Virginia area. When she asked me why I was traveling to Berlin, I mentioned in my awful version of French that it was the “Belle Epoque” for artists in this era. Laughing at my terrible French, she corrected me and then said “Oh, now… you must put this on the canvas”.

9. Tongue: TRAVEL TICKET. This is the epicenter of the piece, mentioning of my travel ticket to find inspiration.

10. Clouds within the face // Eyes: HWY 431 was the highway that I wrote down to get to a specific town in Pennsylvania that I missed. The cat and rocket and coffee cup represented “Rocket Cat Cafe” in Fishtown in Philadelphia.. where I went to pick up my keys to the place I was staying in. Eggs represent the food that I ate in a diner in New Jersey later on that week, and scissors represent the tools I used for a project.

11. Clouds within the face // Upper left side: The skull represented me being happy about being back in Philadelphia.. a place I used to live. I smelled flowers outside in the garden of the complex I lived in.

12. Clouds within the face // Lower left side: My friends took me out roller skating in New Jersey one night in where a good friend and I skated together to live organ music among the colorful Northeastern crowd in skating costumes. We then drove to a diner and laughed about the past and living in Philly.

13. Clouds within the face // Upper right side: This was also directions I was writing down in case I was going to take my rental car to my next destination, New York City.

14. Clouds within the face // Lower right side:  I decided against the idea of driving to New York City, and instead I wrote down the directions to get there via the old way I used to when I lived in Philly. I took the blue line headed to 69th street from Berk Station (Fishtown) to another station (Center City), and transferred to a train north to Trenton, New Jersey, to get on ANOTHER train (NJ transit N.E. corridor line) to Penn Station // NYC.

In the end I wrote, like all the other pieces in the Loveless Letters section, a history of the piece. It reads:

“WASHINGTON D.C. // PHILADELPHIA

It all started with a conversation in a restaurant in Denver, Colorado. A young woman next to me said that her love and her were ‘trouble written in the stars’.. so I drew the concept in the ear. This piece is about other people’s words all over the U.S. and how people’s words can change the course of our lives and our art.  Everything is directional. Nothing is frozen. Everything is happening NOW”

This piece is entitled “Susquehanna”, which was the street in Philadelphia where this piece was finalized. If you look at the circles in the piece, you will find all the places of where I transcribed the power of peoples words into this creation.

– D23 Expo, Anaheim, CA

– 23rd/Fairmont, Philadelphia, PA

– Hollywood Blvd/Edgemont Street, Los Angeles, CA

– 28th and Race Street, Denver, Colorado

– 16th and Tremont Street, Denver, Colorado

– 25th and Gilpin Street, Denver, Colorado

– Melrose and Fairfax, Los Angeles, California

– Franklin near the 101 HWY, Los Angeles, California

– New Hampshire and T Street, Washington D.C.

This is the 7th in the Loveless Letters Series, and 73rd in the TENxTENxTEN collection.

“It Is What It Isn’t”, Battle of the Senses Series, No. 63

24 Sep

560O0107C It Is What It Isn't 14x14

 

I found the inspiration for this piece in a basement office underneath a gallery in Oldtown Sacramento. While on a 5 minute break from the 1st day of debuting the TENxTENxTEN collection at Stage 9 Gallery, I found myself stuffing this massive sandwich down my mouth as if I was in an eating competition, and simultaneously drinking coffee to keep myself afloat (as I had been up since 4:30am for ABC and CW’s “Good Morning Sacramento”). In minute regret over my speedy lunch, I sat there in wild confusion while sitting at this conference table. I was so engrossed in my meal that I didn’t pay attention to my surroundings, and then I found myself transfixed with everything that suddenly blossomed in my carb induced vision.

This office was covered from wall to wall with notes, drawings, artist scribblings, and flyers. There were so many things to look at, so many post it notes, so many pinned tiny pieces of paper… that when I focused back to look at the big picture…. it made it seem the walls were wearing fake fur coats of paper.

I knew that I only had 2 minutes left on this break, and yet there was so much to look at… My eyes wandered in wonderment over all the little details that this office contained..

… and then I found it. .. This one piece of paper.

It said “Try to name the colors without saying the word”. Underneath this sentence was the name of colors, and I read them out “PURPLE, BLUE, RED, GREEN, PINK, YELLOW”

I didn’t really understand the concept of the note, so when one of the people from the gallery came down to ask me to come back up, I asked them about the note.

“Oh, yeah, the words have actual colors in them that aren’t representational of the word, so you have to say the color, and not the actual word”

“What?”

They explained it to me again.. and then it all made sense.. because the one color I could see, wasn’t in the word yellow.. it was registering as another color I couldn’t even begin to decipher.. It was then that I realized that this game could play an integral part of the Battle of the Senses series.

I took this painting, and worked on it in Denver, Los Angeles, and Anaheim. In each city, as I worked in restaurants, cafes, parks, planes, and other public places.. people would walk by the portrait… and would begin to tell me automatically “Oh these are all the wrong colors” or “What are you doing?” To which, I would begin to play the game with them and ask them to say the actual colors without slipping up and saying the actual word.

It was fascinating to watch people’s brains work. .. as if the clockwork in their heads began to break over the separation of word .vs. color // definition .vs. object. Their eyes would scrunch and strain, their mouths would cup over a word, but then move slowly to say the actual color.

Furthermore, this brought people to understand how I use color objectively. While each of these pieces are wrong in color coordination to the objective word, this in the right way, is how I am able to determine how I can paint to the rest of the world.

Color, to me, is just a word. And that word connects itself to other colors like grammar. There are colors that do not go together in a pleasant format, and I treat those combinations as if it were an incorrect sentence. There are colors that compliment each other, and I view those colors as words that go politely together in a sentence. AND THEN, there are the colors that POP and CONTRAST, and I view those colors as slang .. as they are words that are not meant to go together, but they do, and when they do, they POP.

This piece is titled “IT IS WHAT IT ISN’T”, which is a opposite play on that popular phrase “IT IS WHAT IT IS”. This is the 9th in the Battle of the Senses Series, And 72nd in the TENxTENxTEN collection.

“Infinite Summer”, Human Condition Series, No. 62

14 Sep

560O0103C Infinite Summer 14x14

A few months ago I was commissioned to create a piece that would imbue the idea of hope. My mind twirled 360 degrees around the moon and beyond the stars over this idea, because to me hope was such a complex emotion.

As an adult, when I envisioned the idea of hope, my mind went to the business side of things. It created stories around charts and graphs, where I would see the protagonist arrow travel through the treacherous canyons and hills of a crisis to reach the upper right corner land of ‘hopeful’ profit and productivity of the present. I felt shallow because I knew hope stretched beyond the realms of the boardroom.

I tried again and again, and began to get frustrated over the complexity of this emotion. Everything I came up with too specific and untranslatable.

And then it hit me.

Hope wasn’t complex.

Hope was quite simple.

It was the situations that proved to be complex and out of shape. It was kind of like my understanding of a higher power. I put so many situational events and interpretations of how I was supposed to believe in something greater than myself. .. that the very idea of a higher being became too overwhelming to understand because I believed it to be too complex for me to process. But that was just it. ..

It wasn’t complex..

It was quite simple.

The belief of a higher power existed, and in that understanding, the idea of it became straightforward. It was the people that made it complex. Thats kind of how hope worked for me. Having hope wasn’t neccessarily a complicated emotion.. it was the situations where I needed hope that were beyond my control and therefore made it convoluted.

I focused back on this idea when looking at the piece and closed my eyes. I took this into a color context, as I rely on the psychology of color to communicate to a color seeing world. My client wanted hope over their ailments of life so I used the following colors of blue, yellow, and green.

In looking at all these colors together and what they objectively spoke about, I realized their relation to hope and how they connected me to my past and my beginnings of how I began to first have this feeling.

Growing up in Marietta, Georgia I often felt afraid, confused, and misunderstood. As I’ve mentioned in many blogs before, I spent most of my youth sitting on my bay window at night and looking at the lights of the distant city of Atlanta grow from the top of the hill at night. I dreamed that in those lights were places that would tell me not to be afraid. I spent many nights staring for hours and romanticizing about getting out of my town and moving to a place where people understood me.

It was in this, that I had hope.

When things got incredibly bad as a child I would run out into the yard to beg whatever magical force to take me away from where I lived. I’d lay out in the lawn for hours and stare at the sun and clouds and talk to the sky to strike up a bargain for my ticket out of where I lived. I would imagine, that someone eventually would hear me, and the grass and all its army of millions of legs, … would begin to move my body down the lawn, out of my town, and past my county line.

And while the grass never moved me, I did plant the seeds to manifest my reality. .. I eventually, when the opportunity became available, left Marietta, GA*.. and I traveled all over the United States and found understanding, conquered fear, settled confusion, and found the love I so desperately sought.

In this piece, called “Infinite Summer”, I chose to use these three colors as a nostalgic amulet for hope. The blue represents the sky I used to stare at. The yellow shards represent the sun that I used to converse with. The green waves represent the grass that I prayed would transport me away from my situation. Furthermore, I found specific meanings of the color to the client (as seen below)

1. Light Ultramarine Blue [PB29 + (PW6 x 2)] is the color of protection. In Greek Mythology, it was believed that the Gods on Mt. Olympus created the sky blue to let mortals know that they were protected. It was a color to ward off evil. In our path in life where hope is over our ailments, we often need protection to keep on keepin’ on.

2. Brilliant Yellow [PY86] / Diarylide Yellow [HR-70]. This represented the vibrancy of light, and was believed in pagan times to be a direct link to the power of life.

3. Spring Green [(PG7 + (PY86 x2)] Condensed Spring Green [PG7 + PY86]. This was an objective relation to color to grass and leaves that multiple religions used to emphasize the feeling of healing and renewal.

While I have never spoken to the client as this was a piece commissioned from one of the galleries that carries my work, I hope they find hope in this creation… as I did creating it. Hope is not complex. Hope is what carries us from point A to B to N to Z and beyond. Hope is what keeps us living.

Hope is having life.

This is the 9th in the “Human Condition” series, and serves as the 71st in the TENxTENxTEN collection.

*Disclaimer: Marietta, GA is a wonderful place to many people. I must emphasize that just because I did not fare well there does not mean its a terrible place.

“Lemon Blueberry Juxtapose”, Geometric Spectrum Series, No. 61

13 Sep

560O0104C Lemon Blueberry Juxtapose 14x14

When you are colorblind, you have to learn color through an objective nature. You do not associate visually with what others see, but you begin to understand how the word of the hue attaches itself to object (IE: The sky is blue, the sun is yellow, the grass is green, etc etc etc). Being an artist, I use color beyond the normal scope of what is seen, and more so communicate it as a 2nd language to you, the chromonormative viewer. Furthermore all these pieces are beyond paintings, but they are letters to the viewer that translate stories of touch, sound, temperature, taste, and feeling to them. This is where the chapters of storytelling through color in my core character series and sequential comic series ended and the “Battle of the Senses” chapter within TENxTENxTEN began.

At first glance, this piece, called “Lemon Blueberry Juxtapose”, would appear to fit naturally within the “Geometric Spectrum Series”, a chapter focused on the basic primary shapes that twitter about Mickey’s silhouette. But upon deeper introspection, this piece moved beyond just shapes, and sought to communicate to the viewer a story of synesthesia in realms of crossing the sense of color into taste. In this piece, the colors of bright yellow speak of tart acidic tastes of bright citrusy sharpness. Next to the yellow is a light blue to approach the tastebuds on a icy cool fruity berry like flavor. In combination, these colors communicate a mouth watering melody of soft summer berries and tangy citrus fruits.

The title of this piece is where the communication lies. Without the words, you and I both are left with what you see and what color codes I read.. .. but through the power of speech lies the translation of senses to each other. This is where you and I are hearing the same language through the power of color in its objective sense.

This is the 8th in the “Battle of the Senses” series, and 70th in the TENxTENxTEN collection.