Monday, January 17, 2011

Fall 2010 Review

Happy winter, all! Below you will see some images from my final review at SVA from this past fall. The review was a critique of my production from the semester by two instructors who I hadn't had during the course of that semester. Overall, I received fairly positive responses from my review committee, with some good, constructive criticism and suggestions of where to procede next in my work. Several of the works that were present during the review I posted previously (on my last post), so below you will see images that will be new to most of you. I hope you enjoy!

A one-of-a-kind photo etching, from a photo of one of Juli Anna's ancestors.

A xerox-transfer of a detail of one of my roommates' photographs; my "response project" for a paper I wrote on a 12th century Chinese Album Leaf.

Another one-of-a-kind etching. This image of a deer became like a muse to me this semester, as you will see below...

here it is on a leaf!

and again, on several leaves (lower right), attempting to look wind-blown...

and collaged on a small painting,

and a small version painted onto a larger (4'x3') painting,

and a large painted version (30x40in),

In addition to the deer, and the etchings, and the etchings of the deer, there were some other abstract paintings, such as:
and a construction or two, including the following "window" which I fabricated from scratch (the "panes" are pieces of rusted metal); overall, it is roughly 15x20in.:
And finally, a (partial) installation view of the work, which will hopefully give you an idea of the scale of some of the pieces:

Well, that's it for now. Classes have started so I am busy with work again, but I will post again in the future, when I've accumulated enough work to make it worth my while (knowing me, probably some 5 or 6 months from now) So, until next time!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

autumn 2010

Hello all; it has been nearly two and a half months since I moved back to New York. I am living in Brooklyn with two friends I made last spring: Cecylia Makarewicz and Erin Perfect (yes, her surname really is "Perfect"). I love my apartment. Some time I may post pictures.

I'm slightly more than halfway through my second semester at SVA. I am taking classes in etching, abstract painting, constructed painting (painting on non-traditional/sculptural surfaces), and two art history classes; I am enjoying all of them. Since I got back to NYC, I began and have enjoyed the responsibilities of two internships: at the Nicholas Robinson Gallery and assisting artist Mollyne Karnofsky. My weeks have been and will continue to be very busy, which will help to explain why this post will be brief and future posts will likely be as brief. Below you will see some of the paintings, etchings, and constructions I've produced thus far this semester. Further below I will some of the work completed during the summer.

Paintings, all untitled:


constructions, photographed poorly:

rusted steel plates and wire
(detail of the above)

leather and fabric from and old football and wire.

Below is some work I did over the summer. Thematically, it is akin to what I was doing at the end of last semester, using imagery from Juli Anna's ancestral family as source material. However, as I had no access to a silkscreening studio, I resorted to making stencils and using spray paint. Other color is added either with more spray paint or oil pastel. Some of the texture was achieved with sandpaper. The one with the sailboat is an altered print that I found. The first image below is on glass.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

It is hard to believe that my first semester in New York is over. Over the last four months I have made some quality friends, I've learned about a handful of places in the city where one can either get a fantastic espresso, an all-organic burrito until 5 am, or a lavender-infused gin-fizz in the same room where Mark Twain used to converse and gallivant. I learned that you can get all the free wine you can handle (and often all of the heartless art you can handle) on Thursdays in Chelsea's gallery district. I think most importantly, though, I've learned that pursuing what you love and are passionate about is one of the most important decisions one can make in life, and that I'm glad that I've made the decision I have.

My art-making took unexpected turns this semester, primarily from learning how to silkscreen. I stumbled upon a method when working on an assignment given to me by Steve DeFrank, my drawing instructor, whose purpose was to create a work that dealt with invisibility. I discovered that silkscreening can make for a fantastic resist-method. The images you see below (and/or to the right) are some examples of some of the imagery I played around with. (images range from a splatter of paint on the sidewalk, to photographs of previous work of mine, to ancestral photographs of Juli Anna's family, to a collage of "found" subway advertisements)

I had my final review yesterday, monday the 3rd. It consisted of me frantically setting up my work, lighting it as best as I could, then waiting for the review committee of two teachers (whom I've not had classes from) to show up, look at my work, and tell me their reactions. Upon viewing my work (the pictures above were included), they basically told me that I was being too safe, and that my "good taste" (with respect to color and composition) was getting in the way of my making my work provocative. What I'll take from the criticism is not to make work that is only provocative, but to attempt to find a way to make work with a certain beauty that still holds its own as being contemporarily interesting….

I am all moved out of my dormitory at the George Washington residence on Lexington Avenue, and for the end of this week I am staying with my cousin Jonathan in Brooklyn. I am eagerly awaiting a concert this coming Saturday: Jonsi, of Sigur Ros, has released a solo album (you can listen to the entire album here for free), and New York is the last stop on his North American tour. I will be returning to California on Monday, May 10th. I look forward to the quiet of the forest, seeing my family and friends, playing with my family's new airedale terrier puppy, and resuming work on the deadwood cabin, but I admit I will miss New York.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Weeks Fly By

As you might have noticed, it has been nearly one full month since my last post. As I last wrote, I was about to begin my classes, which means I have had nearly one full month of classes. More precisely, I am now in my fifth week of classes.

I have never in my life felt more in harmony with the path of my life as I do now. While the future remains at an oft-fearful level of uncertainty, I am certain that, presently, I am right where I should be.

Allow me to attempt a brief summary of my past weeks. On Tuesdays, I have one short class, World Art History II, from 3 to 6pm. So far we've covered material from the beginning of the Renaissance to the Baroque period; It has been informative, but fairly undemanding. Wednesdays are my longest days: I have silkscreen with Larry Wright (formerly assistant to Rauschenberg, Warhol, and many others (he has awesome stories - those guys knew how to party!)) from 9 in the morning until 2, then a sculpture class entitled 'Trash' from 3 until 9pm. Despite the length of my Wednesdays, it remains one of my very favorite days of the week, as I love both classes. On Thursdays, arguably my most tedious day, I have a Foundation of Visual Computing class from noon until 5. Thus far we've been working with Adobe Illustrator, but as of tomorrow we're starting in on the monster that is Photoshop. I am enjoying the process of learning these programs, but I look forward to not being obligated to stare at a computer screen for 5 hours (given, we take short breaks, but still...). On Friday nights I have my 'drawing' workshop with Steve DeFrank. I put 'drawing' in quotes because this class is perhaps the most liberated a drawing class one could take: DeFrank's definition of drawing is loose because he wishes for us to experiment, and not be necessarily grounded to traditional media and subject matter (although, he has models pose in every session for those of the class who wish to draw from the model, which I have done for at least part of the past weeks, with the exception of last week, but more on that in a bit).

My week is a relatively full one, though I find that I have ample time to work on projects and time to socialize. Every Thursday night, after my computer art class, I have been going to several gallery openings with my friends (most often Chelsea and Erin Perfect (yes, her last name is 'Perfect' - her family home's physical address in Reading, PA is literally on Easy Street. haha.)), where free wine (and sometimes vodka) is served and new art is observed. I've seen a lot, some good, some bad, some unabashedly and post-modernly shallow.

I have found a few places where I like to spend my treasured alone time, namely two cafés: 71 Irving, which is a mere five minute walk from my room, and Stumptown at the Ace Hotel, which is about a 12 minute walk, but oh-so-worth it. The espresso is better at the latter, but the former is often more convenient, and has a very pleasant atmosphere.

Anyway, I'd like to share a few photos of work I've done in the past weeks. Both of the following are from projects assigned by Steve DeFrank.

This is a charcoal drawing, from a project where we were to use an object as a stencil or a stamp. I found a bit of a torn movie poster on the street somewhere, and used it to create the 'old man' on the left side of the composition. The right-hand shape was from a broken piece of masonite I found, and incorporated below:

This is what I consider to be my first real creation here at SVA. It is something I'm proud of (though the image was taken with my phone, so hopefully I'll get a better picture of it up here soon...). This serves as the first of a series (per DeFrank's assignment) of works which seek to visually interpret modern Icelandic musical compositions. This piece in particular was inspired by, and created entirely by repeatedly listening to Ólafur Arnalds' Lokađu Augunum (conveniently the first track on my blog's music player). I sought to interpret the severity of this song, its melancholic beauty, its hopefulness in the face of the seeming hopelessness of the human condition. A challenge, indeed, but I'm pleased with my result. In order to fully appreciate this piece, I invite you to right-click on the image to open it in a new tab so as to enlarge it, while still having access to the music (again, it is the first track on the music player (scroll down to find it)).

I'm currently working on the next of the series of which this is a part: Jónsi and Alex's Indian Summer; expect an image in the next few weeks.

Monday, January 11, 2010

embracing serendipity

Well, here I am, in my new room which overlooks the intersection of Lexington Avenue and 24th street in Manhattan. It's a little hard to believe that something I've worked so hard for and waited for so long for has finally come to fruition.

My mom and I took the red-eye from Sacramento to JFK nearly a week ago, and as New York loomed closer, I admit to feelings of mild anxiety about meeting people, about that getting-to-know-you process that can miraculously turn acquaintances into friends. I've learned from my numerous past college experiences that the extent to which you can uninhibit yourself socially the happier you may become, the less you will miss what was, and look forward to what is to come. This notion was reaffirmed in an introductory speech by the president of the School of Visual Arts last Thursday, when all incoming students were encouraged to embrace serendipity.

I'm thrilled to report that I have done just that. The day following the aforementioned speech, I accompanied a group of roughly a dozen SVA kids to the MoMA (Museum of Modern Art). Standing in the sea-serpentine line for the coat check, I struck up conversation with two of the school's orientation leaders, Chelsea Austin and Kate Sweeney, and learned that Chelsea had grown up in Portland (she later directed me to 71 Irving Place, a lovely coffee house near Gramercy Park, after me lamenting my inability to find good espresso in the city). I met up with my momma and we toured MoMA's permanent collection (the third floor, representing from (roughly) the 1950s to the early 80s). After two and a half hours, I re-met up with the SVA group, though most of them had splintered off, leaving only the four or five orientation leaders, as well as Chelsea's good friend Casey Flanegan. I walked with them to the subway which would take us back downtown. They let me share in their reward for their orientation efforts: a cheese pizza.

Fed, we all walked to the SVA's administrative building on 23rd street, and met up with a new group of kids congregated there for the final orientation event, the viewing of film at a local theatre. Scarved, hatted, bundled, and fighting a strong northerly wind, we made our way up 2nd Avenue. Seating was limited for the two films that most of the group wanted to see (Avatar and Daybreakers), so I opted to see the film "Nine." Casey and Chelsea, as well as Chelsea's roommate Lisa chose to join me. Now, I was expecting, as were most of the others, to be seeing the animated film "9" by Shane Acker. "Nine," however, is essentially a lesser version of "Chicago." We bonded over the absurdity. After the film I was invited to go have a beer with Casey and Chelsea.

There I was, my third day at SVA, hanging out with a senior photography major (Casey), and several film kids (Chelsea, Kate, and a guy named Jordan). All because I chose to strike up conversation while waiting to check my coat. Consider serendipity embraced.

I told the group of my grand love with Juli Anna; I showed them my art; I saw some of theirs. We talked, laughed, and made plans to see each other again soon.

On Saturday I spent the day with my mom, discovering the Strand Bookstore (I found a first edition copy of e.e. cummings' Eimi, his longest work written in his mature style). The two of us ate dinner at Rossini's, an Italian restaurant where you are served by a fleet of tuxedoed Mexicans; we drank a bottle of Simi, and could not hold in our laughter when the restaurant's famous "entertainment" started: a man and a woman singing opera, accompanied by a pianist who'd had too much to drink. The interior of Rossini's frighteningly resembled an event hall in a Reno casino: very bad art on the walls, ugly carpeting, and a low, white particle board tiled ceiling. It was a dinner to remember.

I love my mother. She has been my strongest advocate for my entire life, and one of my very best friends. Saying goodbye to her yesterday morning was hard, but only for the nostalgic upwelling of love for her presence in my life; I will miss her, but our goodbye was ultimately good: I've made friends here, and so far it's clear that I am exactly where I need to be.

Following my mom's departure for the airport, I read some Taoist literature at 71 Irving, the coffee place introduced to me by Chelsea; serendipitously, Casey happened by a while later and we decided to go to IKEA. Here she is, looking somewhat concerned, as we waited for the IKEA ferry:

The ferry, departing from the southern tip of Manhattan, goes past Governors Island and Staten Island, to southern Brooklyn, and goes directly to
IKEA. I bought some hangers, a cushion for the very very hard wooden chair in my room, and some cooking utensils (my building, the George Washington Residence, has a communal kitchen for all of its residents (17 floors worth), but only appliances are furnished - you must use your own pots, pans, plates, etc.). Before Casey and I were through shopping, the sun set:

My day concluded by meeting up with most of my new friends at the Apple Store, walking across the city to get back to their dorm(s), where I made us all dinner (baked chicken breast with garlic, olive oil, sun-dried tomatoes, and mozzarella). More talking, laughing, and drawing in sharpie over advertisements from the New York Times, then mounting our additions to the paper's photos to their kitchen wall with gaffer's tape. Then a very cold walk back to my dorm to sleep; woke up at 4:30 am, and started a poem.

I woke up for the second time around 11, took two of my favorite pairs of shoes to a nearby cobbler (being my favorites, they were both in dire need of cobbling), then walked to Stumptown. Yes, Stumptown Coffee Roasters. If Starbucks is Jesus, Stumptown is Buddha. I had the best shot I've tasted in years. I told the barista that I used to live in Portland, and that I used to frequent the Stumptown on Belmont, so he gave me my espresso for free, and with a smile said he'd see me soon; I did the same.

I went to the Housing Works Thrift Shop on 23rd and found a floor lamp. Slowly but surely, my tiny little home in this massive city is coming together. A delicious and cheap bowl of soup for lunch, and a delicious and expensive licorice truffle for dessert. I now plan to help make dinner again for my new friends, and I have my first class tomorrow at 3 (art history, Renaissance to Impressionism). I can't wait to start...

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

O Tannenbaum

On this past Sunday, I helped my family choose and retrieve a Christmas Tree. For as long as I can remember, we have selected red firs, otherwise known as silvertips, for our holiday trees, as their spaciously separated branches lend themselves easily to the hanging of massive quantities of homemade, antique, and otherwise sentimental ornaments. Usually we use both colored and white lights (because we can never quite decide on one over the other, or because we don't have enough of one kind to sufficiently cover the tree), which only adds to the chaotic decorative scheme of the tree as a whole. This year, however, my family broke from our usual mold. Not the mold of chaos in terms of adornment, but the kind of tree itself. Per my suggestion, we selected a cedar, my very favourite evergreen. We also trucked it back to our house in an unusual way:
That's me in the foreground of the bed of the 1927 Model T truck (which my dad rebuilt this summer), equipped with chains, tree hanging out the back. My sister Emily was the photographer, her fiance Gabe looking like a member of Al-Qaeda and giving a thumbs-up, and my dad, donned in his cowboy hat (i.e. not-so-gay apparel (à la"falalala")), in the cab. It was a good time, although it got rather cold riding in the back.

Taking the life of any living thing is a spiritual experience. I wish that we could have inflicted less damage on the tree which is now doomed in our living room, covered in bells and whistles (now sheltering a pile of gifts, the overwhelming minority of which are designated "from" my dad, my mom, and myself). Nonetheless, the rest of the beautiful cedar whose top we claimed from the forest will live on, though severely stunted: we left a good four feet of growth, branches and all.

I will truly miss my proximity to such natural beauty. All stages of life are seen in just a few minutes spent walking through a forest; the correlation to human life is unmistakable. From shoots to snags, the beings of the forest fight gravity as we, cradle to grave, fight time. These noblest of souls breathe in what we breathe out, and conversely.

Do forgive my tangents. It is Christmas time. And while I may rarely see the benefit of the Christianization of the West (nor, for that matter, evangelism or intent-to-convert of any kind religious or political), Christmas has always been a positive time for my family, and the appreciation of simple things like warm beverages, the crackling of firewood, dressing warmly, and hearing the crunch snow underfoot. May you all appreciate these things, and may you all have a happy holiday.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

new music, new art

As you can hear, I've posted some music which I find to suit my mood about 95 percent of the time. I appreciate many different genres of music, and many different sub-genres, and many different musics which defy genrification, but I find myself most consistently drawn to "abstract" music that can evoke as much feeling as it can thought. This may seem to be a blanket statement which doesn't at all narrow the music field down to what I may find agreeable, but if you are open, as I am, to listening to "experimental" music, or "sound art," or "musical collages," or "modern classical" (descendant of John Cage and Steve Reich, etc.), or, say, music that you'd find on (you should visit if you've not already), you may find that more time is spent thinking about the musics' complexities (sometimes minimally so, but nonetheless complex intellectually), rather than finding that space deep within yourself that reminds you of sitting amongst daffodils when you were one. The song(s) you are listening to right now, I believe, achieve something like the latter, a beautiful melancholia, a longing for what can almost but will never be, an all-consuming synthesis of peace and chaos.

This is the kind of music that is playing when I make art. I hope someday that I'll be able to capture visually the immediacy of emotion that music like this evokes. Not that this exactly pulls off said hopes, here is a photo of the last painting I did, the last project for my painting class. As of now, it is untitled. Approximate dimensions: 24x36.

I've completed my classes at Feather River College, my second home since the fall of last year. I've had the honor of being under the tutelage of, primarily, Dianne Lipscomb, a Fulbright scholar, a former student of Wayne Thiebaud, and ultimately a good artist, a wonderful colorist, and a peaceful individual with a thick Mississippian accent. Also, I've taken classes from Bill Peters, an incorrigible wildlife illustrator and sculptor, whose constant, well-intended, sarcastic jabs will be missed.

Another individual I will miss here is one Wendy Wayman, an English instructor at FRC, alumni of the famed Ohio State writing program, an intellectually-anti-patriot with dreams of becoming an expatriate to a northern European country, viz. Iceland. I've had the pleasure of becoming Wendy's friend through the course of sharing drawing and painting courses together. She is one of the few people in the Quincy area who I've found who has views similar to mine in terms of culture, religion, and aesthetics (she loves rusty things!).

I'll save more sentimental "I'll miss you"s for later, closer to when I'll actually be leaving Quincy (roughly two and a half weeks from now). For now I must focus on things in front of me, not behind: I have much to sort and pack, my sister and her fiance will be arriving tomorrow for the holidays, and an airedale terrier puppy will be arriving on Saturday (pictures to follow shortly thereafter).

Until my next post, I hope you'll enjoy the music (more to follow, I promise).