Tag Archives: mickey mouse

“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.

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“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.

 

 

 

“Dia De Los Mouseos, Execution Dos”, Around The World Series, No. 32

26 Sep

 

 

The first piece, “Dia De Los Mouseos, Execution Uno”, was more on the approach as ‘a study on skulls’. This piece, entitled “Dia De Los Mouseos, Execution Dos”, was far more intricate in detail, and as my hand got used to the drawing and redrawing of the skulls, the individual pieces became more complex along the way. I decided to get some inspiration on where I first learned of “Dia De Los Muertos” (Day of The Dead), and traveled 381 miles North to San Francisco to focus heavily on this painting, and how I could make it more balanced. You would think that I would be traveling to the border instead, but I’ve found that most Day of the Dead art was more heavily saturated in San Francisco. I may say this because SF is far more compact and therefore visually saturated than any Californian city, but I digress… I just traveled to where this holiday and cultural tradition would make sense from a nostalgic standpoint, as well a well connected cultural reference point for the piece.

When I had first moved from San Francisco from Georgia (and my eleven month stay in Philadelphia), I had little to no education on Mexican culture. In fact, being raised in Georgia, which was predominantly African-American and Caucasian, I had very little contact and information of Mexican or any other race out there. When I had moved to SF, I was heavily saturated in Mexican , Chinese, Russian, and Japanese culture upon impact. My lack of knowledge left me feeling quite uneducated and insecure, so I sought to educate myself on other races and their traditions.

In the first week of November, the Dia De Los Muertos festival began in the Mission district of San Francisco. The streets glittered with decorated skulls, stilt walkers, coffins, and people dressed with sugar skull make up on their faces. November 1st was the first day, which is entitled as “Dia De Los Angelitos” (Day of the Little Angels) or more commonly “Dia De Los Inocentes” (Day of the Innocents) which honors the children and infants who have deceased. November 2nd is Dia De Los Muertos, which celebrates and honors the adults who have passed away. Music blared all through the night while parades of costumes flamboyantly danced around the main drag of the district. I was transfixed and overwhelmed with the beautiful process.  I had never seen something so elaborately done for most of my life and my normal tepid southern white upbringing. Comparatively my mediocre caucasian traditions paled  to anything as eccentric and homage filled as I was seeing. And from that year on, I made a concerted effort to continue to watch from the side lines this incredible parade pass by.

So four years later since living in Los Angeles, I sought to return to my Californian stomping grounds and remember first hand about that time and the art that surrounds the city over this incredible holiday.

I carried this piece around all over San Francisco. This was drawn at:

8th and Natoma, South of Market
Sparky’s Diner, Church St
Columbus and Greene: Little Italy
22nd and Valencia: Mission District
19th and Mission: Mission District
Union Square Park

In transit:
J train (MUNI) to Dolores Park
M train (MUNI) to Castro
South San Francisco train (BART) to 24th and Mission

This painting belongs to the “Around The World” sector, and focuses itself as an homage to Mexico and its culture/traditions. Each skull is decorated like a traditional Day Of the Dead Calavera (Sugar Skull), and EACH one has a tiny story and personality attached to it. Put together, all of these tiny pieces come together in one massive story and collection to form Mickey Mouse’s face.

“Everything Is Going To Be Okay”, Sketchwave Series, No. 14

1 Apr


My hands haven’t been able to work on such an intimate and intricate level like this in almost a decade. I could feel it happen on No. 12, I could feel myself lose control on No. 13, and then on No.14, when the pattern erupted on my fingertips in the words “Here is Love, Love is Here”, in that fluorescent lit 4th floor office in Echo Park at 4pm, … thats where this piece and the next few pieces began.

Every single drawing did not take place in my studio. Everything you see here was done outside of my normal working element. Each panel is a story written about the time that was happening at that very moment, what was in my head, and what was going on around me. Some of these panels are astral garbage working its way through my hands, some of these are thought out nostalgic executions, but the one thing they have in common, was that there was NO PLAN in how they were going to appear. This is pure stream of consciousness art forms carried through the diners, coffee shops, park benches, meeting places, restaurants, and libraries of Los Angeles.

This piece focuses on the following:

  • The Eye of Providence
  • Building it Higher
  • This Mortal Coil
  • Poltergeist
  • Cold Confectionary
  • Lightning Storms
  • Arithmetic
  • Video Games
  • Elementary French Lessons
  • Late Night Diner Atmosphere

The title “Everything Is Going To Be Okay” references the celebration of thought, no matter how intricate, overwhelming, and uncontrollable as it seems. It crosses the ideas of sight into touch, sound, taste, and scent.

“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

“Press Start, Children of the 1980 Series, No. 10, 2/2012

27 Mar

Much like Nintendo was the best friend/babysitter in my childhood, the Arcade was the first real adaptation into a social circle beyond my school microcosm. In the southern suburbia that I grew up in, there was one major arcade in town in a semi thriving strip mall called “Merchants Walk”. It was tucked in at the end of the complex, next to an alleyway and a shabby theatre called “Cineplex Odeon”. Pockets drenched in quarters from my allowance, I cowboy walked clinking to the arcade thrilled to lose my mind for an hour. It was almost as if I was going to play slots, but rather than be excited about winning potential money, it was more the thrill of getting out of my head.

My world was centered around video games, and it all came down to disassociating my state of reality. Even now, in my mid thirties, when I’m having a terrible day and painting or hiking won’t help. I’ll turn on my video game system and spend an hour in a reality that is beyond my own. It kind of weeds out the pond scum junk like thoughts that plague me redundantly, and I suppose its a coping mechanism that I learned from these systems.

In regards to this piece, it is in homage to the 80’s and 90’s coin operated arcade machines. I researched the 8bit dollar sign, and plastered its pattern across the grid. I believe on the back of this canvas is the drafting of the dollar sign. While it can be interpreted that this painting has a slight angle at consumerism, that is certainly not this intent. Mickey is in greyscale, which pops off the multicolored .vs. black pattern. This gives an impression that Mickey, himself, is the console, and therefore the gateway from everyday reality to the arcade world of imaginative reveries (as if you pressed the actual mickey image, it would start the game).

This is about the portal from everyday reality into an 8bit world of objective consciousness through the means of an arcade system. Insert a coin, and press start, and your world turns into side scrolling active world that without knowing it, calms the mind, and pushes you into a satiated state for the hungry dreamer.

“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.