Tag Archives: Disneyland

“Waltopia”, Odds and Ends Series, No. 98

25 Oct

Nearing the end of the TENxTENxTEN project I decided to hop on to a new venture in art with Leslie Combemale of ArtInsights out in Washington D.C. This project, entitled “Art Outsiders”, was a collection of portraiture work focusing on the people who revolutionized the world in their field. People like Divine, Alan Turing, David Bowie, Judy Garland, Amelia Earhart, and more became portraits in this project… but I wanted to take it a step further.

Before TENxTENxTEN, portraits (which mainly consisted of drag queens) were my main focus in my work. At this time they were just paintings swirling in the background of a sweltering ballet of geometric shapes and rays…. and while I loved doing that.. going back to that style just seemed regressive because I had become so much more complex in my sketchwave style.

The one thing that I sought to do is research the entire story of these amazing individuals and write out their history in the architecture of their portrait. I did this because I wanted to become as transparent as possible with my work so that the viewer wouldn’t question who the person was or what they were about.

Simultaneously working with the Art Outsiders project and TENxTENxTEN project, I realized a hidden parallel between the two and began to do an ode to Walt Disney’s history around Mickey Mouse’s face. This painting, entitled “Waltopia”, starts off the history with the middle main triangle, continues with the left triangle, and ends with the right triangle. It is with this piece that I thank Walt for pushing for innovation in the arts. Without Walt Disney I would never have had the opportunity to showcase my work, as his company (continuing in his tradition)… from the very start, believed that there was something great in me.

This piece closes out the Odds and Ends series, and resides as No. 98 in the collection.

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“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.