Tag Archives: disney fine art

“ACTIV8 DREAMST8”, Children of the 1980’s Series, No. 87

1 Jun

Activ8 Dreamst8 15x14.5

 

Music was the bright eyed and determined captain of my ship out in the rocky waters of my youth out in Marietta, GA. Whether it be the turbulent carpeted seas of my home, or the tsunami of backlash form my peers.. I often sought to lay in my bed and stare at the ceiling while listening to Kate Bush and wait for the storm to end. In my ears, the siren like sounds would guide me out of my enclosed padded cell of a head, and out into the lush fields of a world yet undiscovered.

Later on, in my teenage years, music became less of an escape, and more of a soundtrack to a life that I learned to control. Through the linear path of my first romances, to my struggle to identify why I was such an outsider among my peers.. Music was this answering pathway to my present and a beacon to carve out my future.

In originally doing the mixtape piece, which was entitled “Rewind the Future”, the mixtapes were originally based on the core characters of Disney. The tapes were labeled with “Goofy’s Glamrock”, “Minnie’s Motown”, and more… and these pieces focused on merging 80’s nostalgia with the love of Disney characters. While I was super happy about this execution,  I decided to go back to make this piece a little more personal.. much like the Loveless Letter’s Series.

I was back out in Athens at the time in December of 2014 interviewing for my MFA at the University of Georgia. It had been a while since I had been back to a place that I previously lived, and the sights and sounds of my old stomping grounds began to sweetly haunt me with flashbacks of my teenage years.

It was here out in Athens, where music was the most important to me. .. as it was here that I ran away from home at 17 from the parking lot infested suburbs of Atlanta, and out into the deep molasses thick humid forested South of North Eastern Georgia. I was a mess of emotions from leaving home, and consistently had my headphones on while I got a ride to and from work. Sometimes, I couldn’t get a ride home, and would walk 7 miles down from the 2300 block of Broad Street (HWY 78) to an apartment off of Cedar Shoals Drive on the East Side. Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t hate the walk whatsoever, and in fact preferred to walk 2 hours with my walkman blaring different sounds that I loved. It was a chance to get out of my head, clear my weird path, and wonder about the strange and different future of a freedom I didn’t know how to handle.

20+ years later, here I was, back after my time out on the Northeast, Midwest, Pacific Northwest, and the West Coast… and all those memories came flooding back. I arrived with unfinished Mickey’s rolled up and poking out of in my backpack like a deranged man with a bagpipe strapped to his back..

The last time I was here… REALLY living here, was back in those days when music was my savior.. and I went back to all those mix tapes that I made as a kid… and they were like entries in journals masked into sound, with intricate details of little stories drawn on each cassette. . I decided to take these cassettes, and went through a youtube rabbit hole per se, while recreating a new Mickey based off of the time when music was my greatest saving grace.

Inside the Mickey you will read:

Athens, Georgia. Pulaski Heights. December 27th, 2014

“20.5 years ago I threw garbage bags that served as luggage out my bedroom window. I was 17 and running away from home. Below my window was 2 friends and a pick up truck that drove me 76.8 miles to Athens, Georgia. Armed with a Mickey Mouse back pack and a fist full of dollars and dreams I carved out my new life in this magical country town. I was a telemarketer in a trailer off of broad street. i sold magazines to the masses, and would come home with the sound of the telephone ringing in my subconscious … so many years.. so many cities have gone by in that time.. home has become such a relative term, and I’m back here for the holidays. My heart is in knots from the southern self that i’ve lost. I see myself as that lost kid wandering down Cedar Shoals Drive with Mickey by my side, wanting to see the world. and now that I’ve seen the world, all I want to see is home. Soon there will be a shift, a rift in space for my home.”

This is the last of the Children of the 80’s series, and is number 87 in the collection.

(Note: Fixing Subconscious spelling issue)

Advertisements

“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

“Rain City Blues”, Human Condition Series, No. 42

28 Nov

Despair was such a hard feeling to bring into the “Human Condition” series. I thought about it for weeks, trying to figure out how I could essentially communicate this emotion without changing the smile on Mickey’s face. Sure I could use a different expression, but that would derail the entire point of the TENxTENxTEN collection. I decided to return to where I met the most obstacles in my life, and purchased tickets to Seattle, Washington.

When I had announced that I was returning to Washington to research despair, I was met with many comments over my choice by Seattle locals who found it slightly offensive that I chose THEIR town to research this feeling. I should mention that Seattle was not a city of despair, but a city where I personally found despair. These feelings emanated from the consequences of bad decisions I had made in that town, and mixed deep with the relentless rain and lack of sunshine that the Pacific Northwest was most famous for. I was unprepared for the present at that time, and slothed back and forth for 18 months (2006 – 2008) through the muddy torrential downpours, miserable from regret of leaving San Francisco and that lovely apartment I had off of 8th street in the SOMA district. I had left back to San Francisco burnt from the inability to adapt to Seattle, and carried with me a list of addiction issues, and personality problems. I was … in essence, a very sad and troubled fellow, and what I carried with me weighed me further down in my downward spiral, until my ultimate crash and burn event in Los Angeles a year later.

Upon returning to Seattle in a far more sober state that when I lived there, and I was able to revisit the feeling of despair from a rear view mirror. I did not experience despair, but remembered the experience of despair, and in doing so, was able to forge a painting based based off this emotion. This painting is built off of elements of Seattle, Washington. First I worn down the canvas by dragging it across the sidewalk down Broadway Avenue in Capitol Hill. I then infused black gouache with coffee grinds from the coffee houses of Vivace, Stumptown Roasters, and Roy Street to create the base of Mickey’s face. The background was later used with coffee, ink from pressed flowers, gouache, and rainwater I had captured in a pickle jar from the weekends downpour. I lined Mickey’s face with elements of soft sharp lines to emphasize a feeling of cracking, and drew lines of rain dripping in straight linear lines in the background.

With these elements I forged a portraiture of despair. Despair to me was never at best, dramatic. Despair did not move to destroy, it was not made of anger. Despair while insidious, moved like molasses. It was quiet and slow and sat uncomfortably like a distant ache. It was not sharp. It did not destroy me, It taught me to be better, to get better, and to desire greener pastures. It taught me to acknowledge my rock bottom, so I could move upwards to the top. Despair was an opaque and multidimensional teacher, and Seattle was my classroom.

Some would consider my visit to Seattle a bit ironic, considering I experienced nothing but joy and requited love from the visit.. but considering the state of my consistent sobriety, and my acknowledgement that Seattle is and WAS a beautiful city that I had miserable experiences is .. well … its not very ironic at all, but a testament to my growth as a human being.

This piece is called “Rain City Blues”, and is filed under the “Human Condition” series. This is the 47th piece of the TENxTENxTEN collection

“Cerulean Alpha Centauri”, Contemporary Modern Series, No. 40

17 Nov

I returned to New York City a month later after landing a May solo show at the famed gallery “Pop International” in SOHO. I wanted to revisit the city not only to reconnect to the curator/owner over there, but to continue the inspiration in my head that seemed to be exploding back and forth like a pinball in rapture. I had already completed “Mr. Busy Head”, the 2nd of Metropolitan series about New York City, but this time my visit was to focus on the Contemporary Modern series by revisiting the Whitney to see Steve Wheeler’s work, as well as the Guggeheim’s collection of Kandinsky and Picasso.

While in my friend Michael’s apartment on the upper west side on Central Park West and 75th, I sat there with a partially finished abstract expressionist piece focusing on Steve Wheeler’s “Laughing Boy Rolling”, and became slightly bored with the fact that everything had already been drafted and color coded. I felt doing any more work on the piece, now that it had been laid out, would have just been filler. I decided to roll up the canvas and store it to finish in my studio in Los Feliz (Los Angeles, CA). I grabbed a new canvas and started staring blankly at the piece. I wanted to create something spontaneous…. something stream of consciousness that would be completely done in New York City.

I grabbed colors here and there and just started working on the piece which rested on a side table in the living room. I started thinking beyond just geometric shapes… (which is what I will ALWAYS initially gravitate towards). After laying a coat of warm colors down on the face, I decided to work on mixing the matte acrylic down and using the tip of my brush to flicker paint on the face.

At the same time I was doing this, I was hearing on NPR about the recent news about “Alpha Centauri” and this discovery of a new planet in its binary star system. While the broadcaster was talking about this, I began to parallel how stars in the sky always looked like Jackson Pollock masterpieces. I decided to tape up the Mickey and do a night sky with stars splattered against its surface in relation to the news. The sun rose and set in the New York City sky that day, and I don’t think I ever left the apartment. While the taxi’s honked and the people flittered about walking and talking below me in the city streets, I focused on creating a busy star splattered piece about Mickey Mouse.

This piece is titled “Cerulean Alpha Centauri” based off the galaxy like splatters, was primarily done with Holbein Matte Acrylic labeled “Cerulean Blue”. This is number 45 in the collection, and falls under the “Contemporary Modern Series” for its Pollock like reference. Here is a little video I look about the process in New York City over this creation.

“Ce N’est Pas Un Chapeau”, Contemporary Modern Series, No. 37

12 Nov

This piece entitled “Ce N’est Pas Un Chapeau”, is a part of the Contemporary Modern Series, and is in reference to Belgian surrealist, Rene Magritte. In order for me to fully understand the concept of pop, I wanted to research some of my predecessor’s predecessors. Magritte was one of the original pop movements influences (IE: Ruscha, Warhol, Johns) and in certain contexts he is considered to be the catalyst of the pop movement from his own ‘pop surrealism’ aesthetic.

I had never seen any of his work in person until my recent trip to The Metropolitan Museum in New York City. The piece that I had always wanted to see “Ceci Ne Pas Une Pipe” was displayed there (which funnily enough is normally at LACMA where it is permanently placed, but has been on tour I’m gathering forever). “Ceci Ne Pas Une Pipe” (translation: “This is not a Pipe”) or otherwise known as “La Trahison des Images” (The Treachery of Images, and/or “The Betrayal Of Images”) was a title that reflected the actuality of the painting, and in essence, all art where the titles reflected the nature of the work. The title was true, the image wasn’t an actual pipe, it was.. in fact a painting of a pipe. The statement of the work I thought was brilliant and to see the piece in person was fantastic.

This piece is in homage to his statement and aesthetic. It combines “Ceci Ne Pas Une Pipe” with his most noted piece “The Son of Man”, which Magritte paints an apple obscuring a man in a bowler hat’s face. Magritte mentions: “Everything we see hides another thing, we always want to see what is hidden by what we see. There is an interest in that which is hidden and which the visible does not show us. This interest can take the form of a quite intense feeling, a sort of conflict, one might say, between the visible that is hidden and the visible that is present.” In Mickey, the clouds, that are found in most of Magritte’s work, obscure his face. Some clouds obscure parts of the face, while resting underneath others (example, the cheek and smile), furthering manipulating dimension and multiplying unseen layers that Mickey holds. In the hat, the words say “Ce N’est Pas Un Chapeau”, which means “This is not a Hat” in reference to Magritte’s main points of his work.

“Mister Busy Head”, Metropolitan Series, No. 35

23 Oct

 

 

The 2nd city for the “Metropolitan Series” was for New York City. I decided to travel up there, since it had been nearly 10 years since I had been back. I ended up bringing my canvases up to my friend on W. 75th and Central Park West. I spent most of my days walking around trying to gather my head over what this piece was going to be about.

In the early 2000’s I lived in Philadelphia, PA. It was… somewhat of a weird decision to live there honestly… and I’m not sure why I did… but nonetheless, it was a culture shock from my southern roots.  I lived in West Philadelphia right behind “Queen Lane Station” in West Philly. I’d spend my free days walking to the SEPTA train, riding it to Trenton New Jersey, and taking the North East Corridor Line on the NJ Transit to New York Penn Station. It only took less than two hours, and I spent most of those hours drawing on the train in one of my awkwardly puffy sketchbooks.

I’d arrive and take the train to my friends apartment in Chelsea. It was, .. the strangest apartment set up I’d ever seen. He lived with a roommate that occupied the normal part of the studio, but in the middle of the living room was a hole in the ground with a ladder poking out. His actual room was down the hole in the center of the floor. Once you climbed down the ladder, you had to walk down this tunnel into a concrete slab of a windowless room. It was strangely comfortable. And that was in essence, New York City. Strangely comfortable. Sure, its compact, and slammed at all hours, and everyone is in your way… or YOU are in THEIR way. ..but there is something harmonious about it as well.

Coming back a decade later was bittersweet, and strangely nostalgic from a non NYC reason as I was staying with ex from San Francisco, and spending my days with my friend from Georgia. But I visited the Whitney Museum for the Yayoi Kusama exhibit and essentially got myself lost in the Metropolitan Museum of Art later on…

In the process I created this piece, which was done primarily in my friends apartment, and on the plane flight home back to LA. This is slightly comical and compact. Each building has a story attached to it, much like the city itself. In the lower left, there is a person singing, and another person telling them to be quiet… This was influenced by my friends neighbor who was a opera singer instructor… and throughout the day would be training up and coming divas belting their sopranos (it was quite beautiful actually, but I could only imagine the other neighbors reactions to it at all hours of the day). Duckworth and Anthony labeled buildings are for my friends from different parts of the world that made NYC their home, and invited me warmly into their places. There are other stories too, that you can read in the windows and clouds.. ..

..because thats New York to me. Its like this compact book, filled with tiny words about big things, all jam packed and exploding at your fingertips at every touch and glance.

 

 

 

“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)