Tag Archives: pop art

“Topsy Turvy Too”, The Human Condition Series, No. 94

20 Oct

This was a re edit from the original “Topsy Turvy” piece, which was unfortunately rejected due to Mickey’s face being upside down in a right side up silhouette. You can find the original in the “Extra” series. Because I loved the idea of everything being backwards and the story attached to it, I resubmitted it with his face normal, but the background still being similar. Here is the original post.

“Disorientation is the feeling I experience the most in regards to “The Human Condition Series”. I’ve been confused for a large portion of my life as understanding and keeping the information of things learned has always slipped my grasp as a kid. My brain had the hardest time retaining facts and information when I was young, and I always felt like I was spinning in this upside down spiraling void whenever asked to repeat, recite, or simply remember anything.

I used to think that inside everyone’s body was a house. Inside your feet were the basement and rec room, the legs were the study and exercise rooms, the stomach was the kitchen and dining room, the chest was the living room, and the brain was your own bedroom of sorts. Everyday I’d walk around staring at people trying to figure out what their house looked like from the inside, and automatically would associate their personality to the state of their house. The wacky would have funky houses, the prim and proper would have cookie cutter duplexes, and sad and disheveled would have empty and lost rooms awaiting furniture.

Looking inside my own self, I imagined that all the furniture was on the ceiling, and that magazines, coffee cups, and random flotsam and jetsam floated about the room with no gravity, aimlessly clinking into each other with no means of ever settling. All the paintings were backwards, and everything was in a consistent state of how I liked to describe to people as “upside-down-ness”. I suppose this was some kind of coping mechanism to relate to the world that I had attention deficit hyperactive disorder,  and had severe learning disabilities in both math and science.

When teachers would ask “Why can’t you understand this?” or “Why aren’t you retaining this information”, I could only reply that everything in my head was “Topsy Turvy”, and/or more specifically “That none of my furniture is on the floor in my head”, to which would promptly get me sent to the school shrink for my metaphors (which was common). I think for a lot of my life growing up in the microcosm of the school system in Georgia, my ability to relate to people on an educational level, let alone, a social level, was met with great obstacles, due to my inability to retain information. I was always in this state of confusion due to the mass amount of information being fed to me on a daily basis. In essence my imagination was a deterrent to me understanding anything, and therefore became my worst enemy.

With that being said, I was always “TOPSY TURVY”.

I was heavily insecure about this, even after being retested in my senior year and being rebranded as intelligent, heck.. EVEN after becoming an algebra tutor to my peers in college. .. I still had this lingering aftertaste of being inadequate and slow to the world. That feeling of confusion, being overwhelmed, backwards, upside-down.. still floated around softly in my skull tepidly whispering its potential of return. Occasionally in my late twenties and thirties working in business/corporate, I’d be reminded of its ghost, and I’d give it little refuge for establishing itself in my head.

It wasn’t until I fully realized that this confusion, this disorientation, … was more of a sensation from stifling my imagination and creative abilities. When I was discovered as an artist, my ideas emptied out of my head like a burst dam. .. YEARS AND YEARS of dreaming, thinking, drawing, sketching, … previous actions which were hinderances to my learning development, were suddenly rewarded by my quirky and weird thought processes. I wasn’t a failure. I wasn’t slow. In fact, there was nothing wrong with me at all. I just happened to be a human being meant for different things, things that required different thought patterns and different approaches. I was an artist. That was really it in the end.

This piece is called “Topsy Turvy (too)” which is the essential mainframe to confusion and ‘upside-down-ness’. For some of us, this backwards feeling can be quite unsettling, BUT for us creative folks, the idea of changing things around… thinking outside the box, and putting the ‘triangle peg in the square shape” … can be the very RARE quality that makes us catalysts for others to dream, think beyond the scope, and ultimately see and create beautiful things.”

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“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)

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.

“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

“West Coast San Francisco Soul”, Metropolitan Series, No. 50

25 Mar

"San Francisco Soul"

“Dear San Francisco,

This is my love letter to you.

I am writing this from the back porch of my apartment that cozily has tucked itself into the industrial alleyways of your South of Market District. There are helicopters purring like a thousand pussycats with wings above your head, and fire engine sirens wailing songs of concern all around your ears tonight. Your citizens, the blood cells of your being, are marching in mass droves through the veins of your streets chanting phrases for equality today.. and I am so overwhelmed at your unending capacity to give us our voices and liberty.

I came to you in the early 2000’s, with a bruised truck full of clothes and a 1G computer full of music to an apartment in the Tenderloin. I was a wanderer, a vagabond, a man with no mission other than to find a home. For my whole life I sojourned along the Eastern seaboard desperately looking for a place to call my home. From Marietta, Athens, Atlanta, Savannah, Raleigh, and Philadelphia,  I desperately and consistently threw my anchor down to find creatures much like myself to call akin to, and nothing proved itself similar to a symbiotic relationship.

But you, you my dearest friend, met me with open arms, and gave me high priced (but well worth it) shelter for an experience that defined my very being. I spent years with you, in the Tenderloin, Upper Nob Hill, and Chinatown, figuring out myself, and you in turn taught me how to be an artist. And with a 1/4 angled golden taklon brush, I began to paint your citizens, one by one.. and I became everything I ever wanted… Because you not only gave me a chance to be a human being..

But you taught me how to be great.

After all these years, with me leaving you for Seattle and Los Angeles, you’ve taken me back in your arms without malice or regret, and have again… given me such great purpose in life.

So tonight, I’ve painted what I thought best of you, without your  tchotchke’s of golden gate bridges, parks, windmills, Coit towers, Transamerican glories, and various other landmarks. But I have painted you.., as you are, in geometric bliss. A lover, a city, and my best friend.

Yours Always,

10SC”

This is the 4th in the Metropolitan Series, and 57th in the entire collection. In this piece, Mickey is the radiating city of San Francisco, a perpetual sun in a massive glow shooting a spectrum of hope. On the outskirts of this painting are lines to represent the marine layer, fog, and bay. Above his head is a speech bubble that communicates the heart, speaking on love and liberty.

“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

“Vertigo, Vertigoing, Vertigone”, Geometric Spectrum Series, No. 41

20 Nov

 

It had been months since I had worked on something geometric. My head was overwhelmed with New York City and all the Mickey heads were blooming into other directions.My brain was operating in this attention deficit direction and my imagination was pointing into a million directions like an exploding octopus. At this point Disney Fine Art had established the core categories of the project, and I became focused on making some kind of headway into the other divisions. I began to shy away from the “Geometric Spectrum” part of the series because I felt in some way, that returning back to the basics would have felt defeatist in some sense.

I’ve come to learn, with all projects, no matter how short the timeframe, that returning back to the basics, can somehow reset the soul and settle the brain. I thought about Neoplasticism and its core operations of being, and how simplicity isn’t necessarily simple, and how geometric work, even at its primal executions, were still beautiful and relative.

I sat with this Mickey for a while, trying not to rehash the same elements of the series, and tried to push the idea of “Geometric Spectrum” further. The beauty about the elements of shapes is that they hone on the most fundamental and easily understood aspects of our surface feelings. Staring into a simple shape can evoke the most basic of emotions and for some of us, that brings the feeling of safety of recognizing how we feel about the art we see. In this piece, I created circles circling outwards, and played on light and darkness to give not just a feeling of dimension, but a feeling of depth and direction. I titled this “Vertigo, Vertigoing, Vertigone” for the shapes imbues a sense of soft confusion and warm dizziness. The background elements are red to emphasize a feeling of quiet madness, while Mickey radiates a light coolness, that emphasizes calmness and brings the viewer into a form of solace. This is number 46 in the series.