Tag Archives: tennessee loveless

“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

“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.