Intimidated Spectators

Normally when I go on a posting spree its because I’m at the gallery and relatively workless. Today at the school is a Open House event so we are getting lots of people. Since I’ve worked here I have been surprised by the number of people who stop at the door, poke their head in, and ask if they can come in, as if they need permission. I think it is sad. It just goes to show how large of a gap there is between people in and out of the art world. Stereotypes of the pretentious artist, the starving artist, the conceptual all white painting artist, and the rambling far off pothead artist among many others, attribute to this. Like most stereotypes a small percentage of people soil the image of the large percentage. How can we change our collective image as artists into something more positive? Something that represents the vast creativity, potential, and ability of many artists today.

Reverse Graffitti artist Moose (aka Awesome)

2808008730103830173s600x600q85In my last post I mentioned some inspiring street art.  Moose is another inspiring artist who I recently  stumbledupon. Moose is a “reverse graffiti environmental artist” who uses dirt (or the absence of it) to create his imagery. I think his ideas are conceptually very strong. Like, bulging-biceps-vein-criss-crossed strong. His medium is quite unique and supports his environmental imagery. On top of that, his images and compositions are pretty good. I seriously suggest reading the article watching the videos on Moose here. If you like what you see here I’d also suggest you check out some other artists.

War and Peace, Compassion, and Hate

lamoursmallMany of my ideas and thoughts as a person revolve around war. Ever since I was a kid I drew battle scenes of all types. Gun fights, sword duels, and epic military clashes. In the past year or so, however, a new branch of thought has arisen. Compassion, love, peace. I have always detested war and the suffering it brings, but I have always known how to depict it. Compassion, love, and peace are things that are artistically unfamiliar to me. The image above was an attempt to create the emotion of exhilarating joy. While there is some of that, also present is a sad nostalgia. How one controls the personality of an image is a skill I wish to develop further.

This group of artists, especially Elay, hit the nail on the head. Elay’s texts relate to my desire to promote compassion and love. These concepts are quite underdeveloped in my mind, but in general this is a direction I’d like my work to go in. If I could figure out an effective way to translate Elay’s ideas into my own… Perhaps I should become a street artist.842231224109937

James Gleeson

gleeson8I recently discovered artist a James Gleeson (who passed away recently). He was an Australian surrealist whose work I find quite exciting. I enjoy the rich colors in his piece and the over arching ambiguity of forms. Most all his forms are recognizable, but not obvious. I find that literal surrealism doesn’t appeal to me because it is too clear, to easy to make connections. Gleeson’s work often has a mysterious and ethereal presence. The unknown is always more interesting than the known in my opinion. A link to some of his work is here.

Studies in Color

Today we did a series of colored gestures. We have been looking at Degas and how he works with color to provide stepping stones for the eye to follow. At this simplified stage (using only two colors) I realized how difficult it is to coordinate colors across a composition. To create the illusion of space and to make paths for the eye is challenging, but when it works, it really kicks ass. Above is a Degas that I think works splendidly:

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Here is what I came up with in class (The first four are 1.5 minute gestures). I wish the digital translation rendered the color better, but here it is anyways:

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Etsy

I’m starting up my Esty shop again. Instead of selling the Parallax Print Series online I’m going a completely different direction. I will be selling select sketches for ultra low prices to help fund art supplies and to generate a small flow of donations to non-profit organizations. Also, I’d love to see the response of some of my work in a place like etsy. My recent war drawings for example. I’m eager to see what will happen with this.

Digital Painting

I found this forum post.  Pretty cool (there are over 1034 pages to explore). Photoshop painting fascinates me. I haven’t really tried it for sometime, but now that I have a better understanding of oil painting and color it might be time to delve back into it.

Another great place to check out digital paintings (an just a great site in general) is CGSociety. Digital painting is the new oil in some circles.

A Matter of Focus

I went to a show at the Green Gallery last month to see a show which delt with the social perceptions of the artists of today. I found it quite interesting and it reminded me of a book I read by Caroll Michels which brings up the stereotype of artists as poor to the core. The idea that artists are starving is perpetuated by artists themselves, who believe that they are destined not to make any money. I avidly disagree with this stereotype because of the damage it does to aspiring artist’s self esteem. One of my old roomates was going to be an artist, but dropped out into business because he felt he didn’t have a chance, that he would become a starving artist.

I feel that the moral in the artworld can often be quite glum, especially among younger artists. Its like self esteem issues that begin occuring with girls at an early age because of american hypercomercialization. Artists fight uphill through school, frequently with self doubt and insecurity about their own work. I’m sure most artists can relate. This can be super damaging to artistic grown/experimentation. It can be really difficult to let go of self doubt and over criticalization.

I think a kind of self awareness of one’s location amidst the mass of the artworld is important. An honest approach to your art, one without a predispotioned negativity, and a yearning for experimentation, cultivates some of the strongest ideas. When you’re not thinking about how much your art might suck, you could be thinking about how kick ass it might be instead. This self understanding will allow you to do what John Cage suggests:

“Don’t try to create and analyze at the same time. They’re different processes.”

New Project

Today has been a very lucrative art day. Full of rich ideas and rich production. These works were part of some research I’ve been doing on Blackwater, a mercenary group hired out by the US government for military, economic, and spiritual (holy war) purposes. Also, ideas about the form of human body movement (in what amounts to a fear filled adrenaline rush full of danger and death) were present. Ever since a kid I’ve been drawing battle scenes of all types in many different methods. These represent my newest creations:

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untitled-2smallI am quite please with how this project has started.

“Down through the valley and into the sea” -Song of the Sea by Peter Ambrose

The way I envision an eye’s reaction to composition is something similar to the way the universe attempts to ‘balance’ itself. Ok ok, I won’t get so deep. Simply put the eye is like water and a composition like a landscape. The areas of a work that push forward are below sea level, and areas that recede are like barren mountain tops. Creating an enviroment where the eye moves around fluidly requires a great deal of careful consideration of the forces in a composition. Either that or intuition with some luck. Other ways to think about it:

-Visual Heirarchy

-Dominant Forms/Sub forms

-Edge sharp/softness

-Color Power

-Content

- Viewer relationship

-etc.