Thursday, March 31, 2011


No not the rapper from everyone's favorite overplayed song, my status for the next two weeks. I am currently in the swells of taking down a show, putting up another in Milwaukee, putting up ten pieces for a one night show in St.Paul, and attending both while also spending this weekend in Door County with the parents. And it all kicks off tonight.

For spring Gallery night, I will have at least three pieces up at Gallery 218, April 15th at the Marshall Building. Also everyone should check out MIADs thesis exhibit. Always has some good stuff, always has some interesting stuff, always has some bad stuff, always a big deal.

April 9th I will be participating in Urban Arts 1st anniversary show in St. Paul MN. There I will have 10 pieces going up for the night, all new work, 30 other artists and a bunch of live performances. Oh, and beer and wine...awesome.

SO...get ready for a severe lack of me as I will be throwing a thousand miles on the odometer in the next couple weeks and listening to my entire 40 gigs of music throughout. GO TEAM GO!

here's a mad wisconsin to tide yall over.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

A Look in the Miro

I really gotta stop these horrible puns.

"Tombs" stands 5x5 feet on loose burlap and was mostly painted using a very uncontrolled pour technique on a wet surface. The watered down paint splashes, flows, and spreads across the loose, wrinkled canvas, providing a great deal of "natural improvisation". Also, as I stepped away for the paint to dry, the wet canvas further absorbed and leeched color to other parts of the surface, creating a even less controlled piece. The result is a very old, worn and stained look, almost like a cave painting with small dashes of vibrant color, where the paint had not quite dissolved in the pail.

I am very happy with the result. I think the method, which I had never tried before, lent itself to the forlorn, but very spiritual subject matter. The shapes seem to glow and pulse, while the small marks sit on a different level, floating above the ambiguous objects. Furthermore, the "abstract-symbolism" in the red and black parts (look closely...or look at the detail) bring in a delicate, fragile, and intimate aspect. The "tombs" are not just shallow graves, but a spiritual binding of the soul to nature.

My favorite aspect of the piece is that it is both subdued and energetic. In one regard, the light staining creates a wispy cloud effect; fleeting and ungrounded. Floating through the undefined space as the burlap guides it lazily. Then it is an energetic burst of life,  circling, darting, and jumping across the canvas in small, bright patches of colors. It is a vision of a tomb as a spiritually active place; not an ending, not a beginning, but a transition from one plane to another....or at least that's what I see in it for now.

Representation is not always that representational.

"My Girl in Blue" is definitely the first representational piece I have really made in a while. But the more I look at my work, the more I realize that it all represents something, stems from something or was based off of something. I don't mean idea, I mean flat out visual representation. My Girl fits somewhere, maybe even on the more abstract end of the spectrum. It's a made up girl, mostly based on emotion and mostly stemming from a compositional idea. I wanted to make a very sensual piece in blue, black and yellow, and the marks created a body very quickly. In that regard, "My Girl in Blue" may be more abstract than my other work. It was a mistake that happened to create a person to embody the feeling I wanted to portray in the piece.

 "Lights of 35" is painting that stems from a time-lapse video a friend made of cars driving on the highway at night in minnesota...

"Storm on the Mountain" was based on a documentary about Mt. Everest and the tragic 1996 disaster. 

Just a couple examples there, but you can see what I mean. Something between the inspiration and the brush on canvas changes drastically to the point that most of my art could easily be considered, and usually is, abstract. Even the most abstract pieces start as a visual, representational idea.

"My Girl in Blue" creates a very strange interaction between representational and abstract.
Yes it is a seated woman viewed from behind. But it's not anyone in particular and I didn't originally intend for it to be a figure. In that way, it's completely fabricated from my mind, an abstraction of a thought, and only representative of a feeling...pretty much the embodiment of abstraction.

So anyway, in musing about my art, there really is never a set group style or movement I would consider myself to be exploring, rather a general "note taking" of the things I am thinking, seeing and feeling, and really, the brush creates the ending product. 

It's art YO! it doesn't need to make sense, it doesn't need a name, it doesn't need a reference, and you don't need to explain it. Just take a step back and if you feel anything, I'd say it worked.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Grand Gauguin

So a rare Gauguin sculpture is up for say and I'm just going to scrape together the 15 mil and go for it!

But all kidding aside, Gauguin was great and not enough people know it. The reason? well he worked around the same time as Van Gogh, even worked in the same house as Van Gogh for a while and well, no matter how good you are, the mere legend of Van Gogh is one of the most famous and well-known in twentieth century art and basically overshadows everyone, except to the specifically art-history interested. But anyone who doesn't know Gauguin is really missing out. While Van Gogh wore feelings on his sleeve, painted as tumultuously as his personal life, and had the cliche "artists mental illness", Gauguin painted beautifully thought out narratives full of symbolism, fierce emotion, and power.

Van Gogh had waving fields, hurriedly painted people, and swirling skies. Viewers could see and feel the inner torment in the artist. With Gauguin, it's a much more investigative viewing. There is striking emotion, color, and strength in his work, but much of the power comes from understanding the people, places, and symbols involved. While the impressionists painted landscapes and soaring cathedrals, Gauguin scoffed and thought the world needed meaning, mysticism and belief. He wanted to create something deeper than the picture on the canvas.

As a big fan of Gauguin, it's a shame he's been overshadowed so much by his on and off "friend." And while both artists deserve the fame and attention, one's persona managed to propel him to an unforeseen level, while the other, beloved by art history, has been somewhat thrown to the curb in the world of general knowledge. Take a look at Gauguin as so many others, including Van Gogh, have done and you'll find something a little more controlled, but just as vivid, mysterious, and enchanting as any artist before or since.

take a look at the article which sent me on this random Gauguin-athon

ReThink the American Drug War

 From prohibition to the modern drug war, the government has always sought to wipe out mind altering substances, or at least quell their spread, since the early 1900s. Billions, maybe trillions of dollars have been spent in the last 20 years to stop the flow of drugs into the US, but all we have witnessed is rising revenue, rising usage, and higher amounts of drugs every year throughout the country. From importing cocaine and heroin to small, rural basements turned meth-labs, drugs are finding a home in the United States despite one of our longest lasting, and most expensive and expansive wars. There have been calls for legalization, decriminalization, harsher punishment, lighter punishment, more money, less money and everything in between, but what many people don't realize, is that there is already a model for winning the drug war, and it has nothing to do with stopping them.
In 2001, Portugal enacted the first decriminalization of all drugs in the EU. Many people panicked, saying the already devastating drug problem would escalate, that Portugal would become a "drug tourist haven" and that younger and wider audiences would be seduced by the prevelant drugs of the country. In fact, the opposite has happened. Less use, less experimenting, less crime and less prisoners.
Now, let's get this straight. Drugs are NOT legal there. You still get in trouble for getting caught with them. The difference is that, if you have a small enough amount, like most people carrying drugs, the offense is more like a traffic violation. If you do get caught for having drugs, you don't go to jail, you go to therapy. Basically, they took the stance that they'd be paying for them to stay in prison, so why not instead pay for them to get better? And the results, so far, are very positive. None of the major concerns have come to fruition, in fact the "stand back and help them if they need it" tactic seems to be working better than the "you better not try drugs" tactic of the US.
There is NO guarantee anything like this or similar lax rules of other European nations would work in the US, but most people can agree that the drug war has been a resounding failure. Something isn't working. We have tried our "no tolerance" policy for thirty years to see the exact opposite of what we were hoping. I am not saying legalization is the way to go, it may not be, but the path we are taking now has done nothing but forced creativity from drug importers. We have more drugs and more people using them. It's about time we took a step back, realized our way isn't working, and look deeply at the model set forth by Portugal. It's a radical step, but if we ever hope to really change anything, we need to fundamentally change the way we approach the issue.

read a much more informative article below about the "experimental policy" of Portugal.,8599,1893946,00.html

Monday, March 28, 2011

The Barn'(es) on fire

BAD PUN, but the Barnes foundation's struggles to keep some of the most beautiful masterpieces funded led to it's board disregarding the will of the Mr. Barnes, and initiated the move of an estimated 25-35 BILLION$ worth of post-impressionism art to a new museum in downtown Philly. Barnes had always been at odds with the Philadelphia art world and asked that his collection NEVER be removed from its then current house in Merion, Pennsylvania. He wanted the art to be for his students (the school has also been sold off since) and NOT open to the general public as a normal, money-accepting, snobby, upscale museum. And amazingly, the opposite has been done as the board claims it was necessary in order to do something like "keep the spirit of the will."
The documentary "The Art of the Steal" is a very solid film that follows the development and eventual conclusion of this mess. It presents both sides, conducts countless interviews and talks with people from all perspectives of the argument. I have to say, It's tough to decide who is in the right. Barnes was a stubborn old man who held and even escalated his grudges against the wealthy art-world of Philly (understandably so as he was constantly ridiculed about his collection of "primitive" art). He held a collection that rivals every museum on the planet. Van Gogh, Cezanne, Matisse, and Picasso all hold places in the gallery; even Cezanne's "Card Players" is there, so I have a hard time agreeing that such masterpieces should be kept out of private view. But as I learned more about the foundation, it's message, and Barnes' reasoning, I saw that it wasn't a strictly private house which threw visitors to the curb. In contrast, it seemed only inaccessible to the wealthy, art-capitalists. Barnes saw that these people didn't know about what the art meant, just what kind of money it symbolized. In that, I see a valiant understanding of who art is really for. Even though Barnes was sitting on billions worth of art, he realized that many of the people who saw it's true value were the ones that had no power to buy it. They didn't see the 100 million a Picasso recently sold for, or the hundreds of 15$ tickets they could sell in a week, they saw the color, emotion, energy and importance the canvases held for the modern world.
Whether the foundation really believes this is best, whether it actually is best, or whether it's a direct slap in the face to the greatest post-impressionist collector in history, the film presents a conflicting story which the viewer must choose a side to see right and wrong. Take a look at "The Art of the Steal" and get to know the tragedy or success of the Barnes' Foundation transformation.

imdb page below

My Miro Monstrosity.

"I shall call it FISTEROBOTO, and the most amazing thing is...he's learning" - Kreuger from Archer

Well that quote doesn't make a whole lot of sense to anyone who hasn't seen each archer episode 100 times. I guess it really doesn't even apply to the situation either. I set out to paint yesterday, had two five by five foot sheets of burlap, and this is the result of one. An explosion of throwing paint, pouring, spraying and walking around in a circle for a couple hours. Though it's not nearly done, I was struck by the, well, "strikingness" of the energy. It is like being stuck in thunderstorm; wind swirling, rain pounding, blurring the usual hard edges of the objects around you. Lights are hazy, colors blend and spread and it almost swirls off the canvas toward you. It was almost as if I didn't make 90% of the piece. The burlap was soaked in water and I used heavily watered down paint to create the atmospheric glow, but it resulted in a very  uncontrollable leakage of paint. Paint that spread with the flow of the water, that blended over the few hours, and that changed the piece to a much more natural composition. My job now is to ground it. Give it a point of reference, a moment of clarity. I am stuck in a Miro that has been taken up by a twister, shaken up by the fierce winds and needs a steadied hand to reel it back to the ground.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Charro....cooler than me

Although that's not saying much, charro is a really cool looking bar. If I had 200$ to throw down on a friday night, I'd be buying a classy drink, lounging in their super comfy leather chairs and takin a cougar home for the night. All kidding aside, it is a really awesome and strikingly designed interior with some beautiful food. Take a look at some of the pictures and look for the dining review in the ShepEx next week.


The first few objects for "The Project" have been deployed.

Ice Chipper, Universal Elegance, and American Match are all settling into their new homes around the city, weathering the rain, ice, wind, and cold of the new spring season. Whether they live, die, or are transported to a new place is up to the city and the people in it, but so far, I know for a fact people are seeing them. The project has started...

Spring Gallery Night

Also coming up is Spring Gallery Night on April 9th from 6-9pm. A brand new set of paintings will be exhibited in Gallery 218 in the Marshall Building at 207 east Buffalo St. accompanied by work by Judith Hooks and photos by Bernie Newman. Also check out the MIAD senior thesis show, consisting of over 100 6-12 month projects by some great young artists and designers.

Urban Arts 1 Year Anniversary

In just a few weeks Urban Arts will be holding there first year anniversary show in St. Paul, MN featuring over 30 artists and live dance performances by multiple local groups. I will be showing 10 pieces along with many smaller "collectibles" and some t-shirts, so if you're in the area, it'd be a great way to spend your Saturday night. The show is one night only on April 9th, from 7pm-1am with performances, drinks, food, and a TON of reasonably-priced art. It is located right off of I-94 on 558 Vandalia Street on the second floor. it is 15$ at the door (it goes to a good cause, I promise) but you can get them for 10$ if you buy them early here

Thursday, March 24, 2011

119 year old lady

So this has nothing to do with art, music, important news or really anything that affects everday's just damn cool. This lady is 119 years old, is in relatively good health, was apparently born to parents who were, at one time, slaves, and has seen parts three different centuries! Huge applause for you lady, you are almost 100 years older than me. Check out the story below...

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

For The Honor of Hans

I was walking through the MAM the other day after seeing the Frank Lloyd Wright museum and found myself, as I usually do, in the modern art section of the third floor and too my surprise, they had moved a lot of the work around. I love the old stuff, but it was great to see some of the work that had been in the vault for a while. Included in the pieces I wasn't used to seeing were a few by Hans Hoffman. The German Abstract-Expressionist centered most of his work on the relationship of shape, color and space and and once said about abstract painting The ability to simplify means to eliminate the unnecessary so that the necessary may speak. I was struck by the simplicity of many of his pieces, the space he left virtually untouched, and the relationship his surreal, floating objects had with each other on an undefined plane. In response, after painting this canvas a few times already, I created a new piece in honor of these thoughts. I tried to base the painting around four black "symbols" and create a place where they interact in unusual ways with the things around them. Red spills and flows over unseen hills and valleys and the teal jams itself against the black like a parasite. The organic detail meanders between, around, and below the objects, further stretching the space, almost becoming a web that springs the objects forward, catches them as they fall back and repeats....

Anyway, this is "For the Honor of Hans..."  acrylic, ink, and pastel on canvas with collage and found objects.

A Somewhat Hazy View of Frank Lloyd Wright

The Frank Lloyd Wright show has been up for over a month now at the Milwaukee Art Museum and I just took my second walk through of the exhibit. Besides realizing my brother didn't know the difference between the architect and the well-known writer of The Phantom of the Opera, I realized how good of a designer he was. In fact, I found myself drawn to the "secondary" aspects of his career more than the well-known buildings most people remember him for. Don't get me wrong, his buildings are gorgeous. While he may not have been the most skilled or practical engineer (many of his buildings are falling apart, leaking, have never been built or have already been demolished) the combination of horizontal slabs, thin lines and his drive to work in harmony with the natural environment create stunning panoramas of the American countryside. But he also sought to build "complete" homes. Houses that were not just a shell that the buyer filled with whatever they desired, but completely filled living spaces in which he designed everything from the fireplace hearth and couches to the light fixtures and towel holders. He mirrored the homes with matching furniture, each detail painstakingly planned, drawn and then built to exact specifications. It's these desks, chairs, benches, rugs, windows and banisters which I think would really steal the show. The detailed desk in the third room is a miniature house in itself with overhangs, accents, thick pillars and long horizontals. The drawers are tiny doors with all the molding and panels, the shelves the rooms, and the desktop the expansive landscape for which everything is designed to accompany.

The show left me wishing for more, which is probably good and bad. I liked the sketches and step-by-step drawings, seeing each aspect of the creative process, but not being an architect, something was lost in translation. I would have liked to see some more photos of finished buildings, some more written history on each project or his overall philosophy on his individual pieces. Also, I would have liked to see more of the "detail" work. the furniture, windows, rugs and such. Since the show lacked much of the "finished" architecture, the actual objects there really helped to understand the aesthetics being presented in the accompanying drawings and the more, in my opinion, the better it would have been. It was great to see the drawings, the many models, and the few furniture pieces there, but with all of the sketches, I wasn't quite sure what was envisioned in every case. It was a very interesting and informative show, but for someone unfamiliar with architecture, not to mention if you were unfamiliar with FLW's work in general, I could definitely see a lack of overall understanding of the show. For the projects accompanied by photos, video, models or furniture, the beauty was real and understood, but for the pieces where only sketches were present, it was a tough road to tread to reach the full vision of the celebrated architect.

The Frank Lloyd Wright show will be up until May 15th

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Why Haven't I Done This Before?

text over "abstract-symbolism" texture 

Mercy Street

This song is just fantastic. From the side band of the lady-half of the Knife, Fever Ray, comes this haunting, ass-kickin walk through a dream-filled cityscape. I'm not sure if the dreams have fallen apart, gone wrong, or were ever there at all, but you search your way through the landscape, being toted along by the bass, booming with each footstep as you search for the safety of the title.

A great cover of the Peter Gabriel classic of the same name, this version removes the x-files-esque flute, adds the somewhat off-kilter voices of the Knife crew, and resonating boom that envelopes the song in a somewhat darker shadow than their predecessor.

Sana Jamlaney

So I usually don't really bother with the "fine art ads" on facebook, but something on there looked like something I did. So to make sure I wasn't getting jobbed, I checked it out. Lucky for me, it was some really cool art. And it surprisingly looked very similar to the new "detail"  parts of the work I have been doing. She creates some very interesting interaction between canvases, turning the pieces into more of a sculpture than individual paintings. The use of shadow and negative spaces plays with your eye, transforming the walls of the gallery and creating this illusion that the space is much deeper than it is. The simplicity of black on white or vice versa really compliments the extreme detail, immediately drawing the viewer to look closer, as if an image will emerge with a deeper investigation. The one criticism i see immediately is the lack of a movement. Before you yell and scream about the movement within the line, the flow of the organic markmaking, the consistant color, I agree with you. The work creates a stunning collection and very cohesive show. However, when she presents it in this way, it really highlights the disconnects that do exist in the pieces. For instance, if you want the pieces to run into each other in a vertually unobstrcuted way, I wouldn't paint the edges of the white canvases black. It essentially frames them, stopping your eye at the edges of the canvas. Also, I would like to see a greater overall flow between the large "bunches" of smaller canvases. She connects many canvases together in groups, and the groups sit next to each other. For me, the flow within each group is halted when placed next to another group that does not continue it. Therefore, for me, I see a kind of "skipping" between the groups, almost like a scratched cd skips among the notes. They still are related, but they do not entirely flow.

Now the praises are much more than the criticisms. I love the work and am very interested to see if she continues in this vein. But with every show there are things to fix and I am merely pointing out very specific details that happen to catch my eye. Overall I think it would be great to see in real life, with the full size and span of the piece around me. No experience can be completely transferred through a screen and I'm sure seeing the piece in person would have a very different effect.

Check it out for yourself below...

Creating the 3-point Line Dunk

for the record, this was the first album i ever owned....on tape t

Now to say that the movie "Space Jam" is a work of art that deserves research, understanding, and complex thinking may be a bit of an exaggeration, but there is no doubt in my mind that it is completely kick ass. Even more kickass, however, is the fact that some guy took the time to go through the game footage and find the stats and create a commentary for the game. Now, there's something called news, there's something called hard news, and then there's this. Something with great writing, a ridiculous but very interesting subject (he is analyzing a bunch of sports films stat lines), and a hilarious take on a movie featuring Jordan (great bball player, worse actor than the cartoons), the great cartoon characters of our youth, some basketball, Bill Murray, Newman, and a pre-pissing R. Kelly in the ballad. check it out below...!5783575/compiling-the-absurd-box-score-for-space-jam-or-shawn-bradley-sucked-against-cartoons-too

The Starting Point

The starting point is the smallest piece I have completed in a while, though I believe it is a good "proof-of-concept" of how a larger, similar piece would look. Imagine seeing this on a 5x5' canvas or larger, imagine seeing it in an unexpected place. This is the project and this type of experimentation is going to be key for the larger pieces to succeed. Luckily, through this experimentation I get miniatures of the hopeful large pieces to come. A quaint 5x6 inches, this piece, while displaying the possible punch of a larger piece, is subtle, intimate, and to me, it displays the detail and beauty in even the smallest of things, the main idea behind the project as a whole.

Monday, March 21, 2011


Simply put, the project is to get art out into the community. But with all it's complexity it becomes much more. An avenue for creativity. a belief in the importance of art. a drive to get it to the people who need it. a release from stress. a connection to nature. a desire to help. a desire to get noticed. a desire to do something meaningful. a desire to do anything at all. lending a hand. beauty. selflessness. selfishness. self-sacrifice. a crock of shit. as meaningful as anything i'll do.

The Project is just that, a project. An experiment that will change and grow throughout time, throughout its existence, and hopefully long after. Keep an eye out, THE PROJECT has started.

Studio Wish List. #1- redux studios milwaukee

Hey everyone, happy new week.
Check out the great co-op NFP studio in South Carolina. A place that really seems to have a great relationship with the community, a great gallery that attracts quality work, and most importantly, the space and facilities to give artists what they need to create top-notch work. I don't know about you, but I want one.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

New Fever Ray

So if any of you have seen me in person at all over the last two years, chances are I was listening to the knife. And if you've heard them, you should check out Fever Ray, the side project of the sister-half of the The Knife. AAAAnd if you've heard of Fever Ray, you should check out some of their new tunes. As far as I can tell, they haven't released another album yet, but from the sound of Mercy Street, it will be as good or better than the first. One of the songs is even featured in the movie "Red Riding Hood." SO if you're a fan of really good, dark, kinda weird techno-tinged music, check out the link below. There are a few more videos and songs if you click the "music" section, but five listens later, "Mercy Street" is still blowing my mind.

Wait...wait....but what does it mean?

So my camera is about as good at taking pictures of extreme detail as I am at dancing (please avoid ever convincing me to try...ever). Luckily I got a hold of a solid camera that can hold more than 16 pics at a time, yay memory cards. Anyway, here's a shot of the most recent "Lights on the 35" and "Man Made the Mountain" in which you can actually see the entire piece AND the detail. What a concept!

The Privates

In this recent article, we find that museums are, more and more often, turning to private collections for large exhibits and there seems to be a few problems. First of all, who is curating the show? is it the museum which usually desire to show the important, interesting and rare? Is it the collector who is trying to showcase his work for future sales? Is it the trustees who seek to raise the value of the pieces by having them on a big, nation-wide tour? It's hard to say, and when there are incentives for each party involved, say a sale to the museum, a donation, or free publicity for the future of the collection, the lines become even more hazy. Is the public being shown less and less exceptional shows? Work that would not meet the normal museum level of proficiency?

While it is definitely important not to over inflate what we consider "great art," I find it hard to believe that work by great masters, collected by the revolutionary eyes of their time is not worth seeing as a whole. I mean, sure, there is probably a number of works that even the artists would admit are average or worse; pieces that didn't quite break the mold as they had expected. But are the steps in between any less important than the monumental masterpieces? I believe that, even with the "corruption" or outside interest possible, seeing a body of work from a specific period is invaluable to a growing artist. To see the masterpieces is necessary, but also to understand that Picasso didn't grow up making cubist paintings is just as, if not more, important. Process is a piece of art that is largely lost in the gallery setting, and especially over the sands of time. Pollock didn't start his drips at the age of 10, Picasso didn't grow up seeing the world as a cubist wonderland, and even andy warhol didn't have a shrine to coca cola in his closet growing up. Their breakthroughs came from years and years of work that we don't recognize, and every one of those pieces brings you one step closer to the piece your heart desires. So yes, there may be alternative motives. The selection might not come from the 100 greatest pieces of all-time, but if it's a step toward anything close to a masterpiece, it is invaluable to understand where in the career process it came from. You don't make it to the top of a staircase going from landing to landing.

full article below:

Paint Satrick's Day

Well I could drink a whole glass of beer! Actually, as seems to be my MO, I gamed for the pre-game and am left feeling the sting of a late night, early wake, slightly drunk morning. And while the entire city of Milwaukee is spiraling toward a similar morning tomorrow, I'm left here to.....stare blankly at my screen as I drink my third cup of coffee with advil.

So, With the only Holiday in which beligerant intoxication is a virtual rule, I wish everyone partaking good luck, good company, and safe transportation. There are free buses, great deals, and tons of Milwaukeeans (ites? the milwauki?), let's just call them drunk people, so be nice, have fun and be safe.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

The Lights on 35E

Nothing jumpstarts your creativity more when your in a rut than looking at someone else's "lack-of-rut". Whether its a documentary, animated film, prose, poetry, music, dance or video art, seeing the other ways that people display creativity always gets the gears turning. And though I would consider my situation more of a "crisis of faith in art" than a rut, It was clear I needed to get my brain off of "thinking mode" and give it something to simply take in. While your parents told you that watching TV (among other things) turns your brain to mush, the right things for the right amount of time no doubt give it a bit of time to recover, learn, and think about something else. And if you're anything like me, brain recovery is a necessity. So luckily, one of my friends is experimenting with video. It's not Kubrick (yet), its not even Micheal Bay (thank god), but its a different way to look at things and it provides a new way of seeing the world around you. One of his first experimentations in time-lapse was a simple shot of Highway 35E in MN. Nothing groundbreaking, I know, but there is something beautiful about watching the world move.

Behold, my reaction to the 35E video by BRADLEY KUNTZ entitled "Lights on the 35."
24x48" made with acrylic, pastel, and paint marker on board.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The Field and a big ol' donation

"The Field" is 24x30 and made with acrylic, ink, pastel and marker on paper. Based off of Oriental calligraphy, the piece concentrates on a new idea I call "abstract symbolism." A technique I have developed that attempts to connect with the viewer in an intimate way, bringing the meaning out by slowly looking over the piece. The symbols in themselves mean nothing until activated by the viewer's point of view. Through that, I hope the piece becomes a meditation on whatever emotion or situation the viewer may bring. In other words, the piece becomes more than a picture in a frame, but an investigation into each viewer individually and uniquely.

This piece is being donated to the PACER benefit in May 2011. details below.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Nuclear Disaster

As we continue to hear about the unfolding drama in Japan, the potential nuclear disaster is catching headlines and taking the reigns from the devastating tsunami. And while the terms "meltdown" and "fallout" are becoming part of the news' regular vocabulary, most people still don't realize the magnitude of trouble we could potentially be in. Check out this documentary about the Chernobyl disaster. A very sobering realization of the imagined power we have over nuclear energy, and the catastrophic results when that power escapes us.

While reports are coming in that may cause fear or panic, one of the best things we as a witnessing public can do is become informed. This documentary conveys the destruction that can happen, but also talks about the handling of such situations. Get informed on what's happening, know the facts as best you can, and react accordingly.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

The Killin Floor

The Killing Floor is the last piece finished for my show friday and is definitely the most "experimental" of the group. Its a bit ugly and rough and the detail is much more subtle than any other piece, with the focus back on the texture of brushstroke and media. I love the layout and colors but am struggling with how it fits into my recent work. It's a bit of an oddball.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Must Rant

No matter what you believe and what side you are on, this whole Walker thing* is completely blown out of proportion and its a sickening display of how out of touch people in the US are (me included). You've got people comparing Walker to Hitler and calling him a dictator, saying we're in a battle and that we are fighting for our rights and livelihood; People literally saying we are destroying human rights and democracy. Get a clue. There is a leader across the ocean ordering fighter jets to fire on his people rather than work with them or concede any power. This is not a battle, Wisconsin is not in a war. This is a bill that, if it fails will get repealed after the next election and won't have a huge effect on anyone's ability to live. Realize where you stand in the world. Anyone criticizing the rich in this country should look at themselves and see that they are the wealthy class in comparison to most of the world. All of us have more to give, and none of us have any reason to feel that we are the downtrodden working class of planet earth...

*type in wisconsin budget repair to google if you don't know what the walker thing is

Accountability and the Development of New Medicine

There has been movement after movement, law after law passed that places responsibility on the provider rather than the subject. With gun violence it is not the owners fault that they use the gun for illegal actions, its that the gun was too easy to obtain. Its not an overweight person's fault they eat 100 twinkies per day, its Hostess's fault they didn't point out that 100 twinkies per day is bad for you. And in the medical field, it's not up the purchaser to weigh options, learn about the medicines being prescribed or even to know the risks of what they are doing, it's all on the medicine companies. While the last point is not as cut and dry as the others, it is still a debate. The amount of hoops, tests, validations and approvals that medicinal companies must go through before approving medicines is so vast, that many medicinal opportunities simply make no financial sense. And while we all like to know that the meds we take won't make us sick, we also want the medical community to investigate new ways to solve problems. Unluckily, having a strict testing system eliminates much cutting edge medicines that can't promise vast financial success. If you need to spend 100 million to develop a cure for a disease 100 people have, the motivation for putting forth that money simply isn't there, resulting in no cure being investigated. This article is a good read about how the strict regulation of medical and scientific research and what I see as the recent un-accountability of the general public, while creating a generally safer medicine cabinet, actually sets back the advancement of each respective field. It begs the question: do we want a medicine cabinet that requires no thought, risk, responsibility or understanding on the public's part, or a medicine cabinet that takes no risks and does not find solutions to problems that are not profitable?

And to the people who say "medicine is a right and we deserve to have the best, no matter what the cost." I say to you, your health may be a right, but medicine is a commodity, and commodities are not free. We would not expect GM to develop the best car in the world and not get paid for it, nor should we expect the same from our medical community. Money, advancement, or our lack of responsibility must take a hit and, if one doesn't, that cure for the common cold may be the least of our worries.

The Glacier

My fantastic photography skills do this piece no justice, but this is the newest piece that will be going up at the show of new work, starting this Friday the 11th. It has a bit of work left to be done, but I think that the blue and grey really work well together to express a frigid feeling. The brown which takes up the background is actually the same texture you would see in the previous "eye" painting, but this time, it covers over half the canvas which is 36x60". The glacier motif, while conjuring images and thoughts of environmental catastrophe, global warming, and glacial melting, was mostly chosen for the aspect of disappearance, movement and the eventual end. The large, strong brushstrokes seems as if they are falling away from one another, dissolving into the organic texture behind much like a glacier scrapes and grinds itself into the dirt and land surrounding it. While the glacier is one of the most immense moving objects on the planet, the day will come when it retreats back to the sea, and with this piece, we see it at its first stages of disintegration. The first sign of weakness. 

Fit to be finished tonight and hung on thursday at the new show at the Art Bar

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Rare Picasso Finally may see the light of day.

A painting that is heralded by some as the third great Picasso masterpiece alongside "Demoiselles.." and "Guernica" may finally be part of an exhibit that the rest of the world can see. The painting, which was bought and stored by the Shah of Iran in the 70s, which few people have seen and many people are unaware even exists, could go on exhibit with many other great modern masters owned by the Shah. I for one am excited. It's a piece the below author calls, "the missing link" between the artist's two great, but very different, masterpieces.

Looking at the piece, it is visibly different than both pieces previously mentioned. It lacks the obvious ugliness and honesty of Demoiselles, and the immense dispair and horror of Geurnica. However, it still hits you with a smack of desolation. The artist and model are horribly disfigured, the artist barely distinguishable from the floor or wall behind him, and they are further broken by the fractured light. We are not seeing a clear collaboration between artist and model, but a struggle to display the beauty and life of human creation. While Demoiselles may be a comment on the everyday life of being artist in 1900s paris, and Geurnica displays the humanity destroyed by an inhumane act, "Painter and Model" comments on art itself, showing the struggle of artist and model, toiling to create beauty when none is felt. All I can hope is that we can view the piece soon, and decide for ourselves where in the great Picasso history book this painting belongs.

see the full image and read the actual story below:

Will the middle class disappear?

Very interesting article on the importance of education and how we are losing the middle class

Is there such a thing as unbiased news?

So as Wisconsin tears itself apart and rumors about recalls, bills, senators and a "border-meeting" swirl, I find myself fairly disgusted with the whole thing. I realize there are things wrong with the bill and it should be debated, however, I also don't think denying democracy the ability to run its course is how a minority opinion should work to accomplish its goals. The left calls the right "bullies" and compares Walker to Hitler. At the same time, the predicted losing side decided that since they won't win, they won't let the vote happen. That's like making a bet with your friend and when the other guy wins, you whine and deny you were serious. Who is really abusing power? (don't answer, it's both) That said, I find it almost impossible to get an unbiased look at the situation. I go online and find headlines that would make it seem that Walker is literally pocketing people's money, arresting senators, and stomping human rights at its core, but if you read the article, its much more even-keeled, to the point that you realize not everything Walker is doing is bad. Then you go to the other side where the protesters, teachers and senators are demonized as "rebels." All I want is a headline that says what is actually happening, not using words that sway either way, and actually explain the details of why something is going on. You say education is being cut by 900 million, I want to know what it was before. If it was a billion, that's a huge cut. If the previous budget was 100 billion, that's less than 1%, and not a big deal. We need the whole picture in order to form an opinion and I'm afraid that not enough people, especially college age, are getting that.

Anyway, I found a website that seems to be fairly un-biased. They run more conservative opinions to counteract the general liberal feeling of the media, but overall they do a pretty good job at staying in the middle, or at least presenting the reason behind both sides. You can never get a completely unbiased opinion or article, but to read only one side is to be ignorant to an entire viewpoint, excluding you from forming an informed opinion. I urge anyone interested in the problem at hand, politics in general, or even in voting to read up on the issues surrounding them. Voting is a right, but you also have the privilege and responsibility of developing your own opinion which informs that vote. Don't watch a Micheal Moore movie and think you know the secrets of health multiple articles and think about what they say. So here's the link, check it out, and know what your opinions are.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Frodo don't go to the eye!

I finished this piece last night and it was my first piece that was intended, from start to finish, to meld the expressive and "abstract-symbolism" styles that I love. Overall, I am pleased. It's not my favorite piece on the planet, nor my favorite that I have created, but I was very happy (after a questionable start) with how the eye, brushwork and color combination worked. I think the red background is torn for me between looking like an elegant lace and a horrifically scarred face (kind of contradictory huh?). which in turn makes the beauty, intensity, and movement unsure as of this point. I like the brushwork, the colors, and the composition, but I am not sure the emotion that sticks when I see it. Anyway, I'd say I'm happy with the outcome, unsure of it's "ability" or  effectiveness, an in love with the interaction that is created with the expressionistic marks and the extreme detail of the "abstract-symbolist" marks

Worse than I Thought

So I have always thought that art has destroyed itself in some aspects. It became so "high society" and inaccessible that the general public gave up and dismissed it as "impertinent" to their lives. And today, sadly, I found some proof that it may be worse than I originally thought. Now, instead of just ignoring the art of the last century, many people seem to dislike or even hate the artists and the "styles" that came about. They simply dismiss them as "talentless scam artists." I can understand the thought, but it made me write the following, which was based off of reading a large amount of the comments on the article

"The best thing about these arguments is that it is obvious that many people degrading or denouncing the piece or Picasso know nothing about the man, the art, or the history of art. Read any biography for more than twenty minutes and you will find Picasso was regarded as a prodigy at a very young age and was exceptional at "traditional" artistic techniques. He painted in a traditional style for years in his early life, and even while he was becoming well-known, he still painted representationally and somewhat realistically (though it was a bit stylistic). So saying Picasso is a talentless hack is just factually incorrect. He could have painted beautiful history scenes, but chose to try styles and ideas no one else had ever done. If you don't like it that's one thing, but to makeup facts based on a small amount of knowledge is irresponsible. Same with Pollock who always gets railed when he sells anything. His old work was surreal, and his drip paintings were actually a much later development in his artistic career. As for the "my kid can do that" argument. No they can't and no you can't. If you could, then do it and sell it for even 100$. Unless you go out and do it, you have no right to say anything to that point. Even Pollock's drip paintings are 100% unique to him, and it's almost impossible to pass off a fake of his work to the people who are "knowledgable" on the subject. So, you don't have to like it, you don't have to respect it even, but you have no right to express any opinion that is baseless."

 Seems like my mission just got a few levels harder and education might be the best tool.

read the article (which is incorrect by the way. That is not the most expensive painting at all.) and the comments below...seems like the value of picasso might be getting a late boost by commentors.

Friday, March 4, 2011

What's in a name?

A painting by Andrew Wyeth's son, Jamie Wyeth, sold for FIVE TIMES its presale estimate, making me ask the question: Did someone just really like this painting, or did they see the name Wyeth and jump on it.

It was estimated to sell for 40,000, which is a lot anyway, so obviously the guy has some fame. But in all honesty, the piece resembles a less well-done Andrew Wyeth piece.

I see the attraction. Its a very well-done portrait, with the added "psychology" of a circle around the dog's eye. It's a beautiful animal, a quirky portrait, and an intimate look at man's best friend, but I really don't see it as a piece that would "knock me out of my socks." It just seems a little basic. With Andrew Wyeth's work, there was always a deeper feeling. Isolation, desolation, wonderment or awe. And here, I see intamacy, but  I'm not sure I feel it. I don't see the emotion in the dog, or in the piece, or in the composition. It just seems....a bit static.

Anyways, I don't make decisions about other people's money for a lot of reasons, but if it were me, I'd take a good hard look at this piece, try very hard to forget the last name of the artist, and then decide if it is worth the estimate, let alone five times that. That said, I don't follow Jamie Wyeth's work, and maybe he is a revolutionary that I have happened to miss, I just don't see it in this work, and when it comes to relatives of famous artists, a name can be all you see.

full story and full artwork below

Thursday, March 3, 2011

New Mexico Art Museum from World's Richest Man!

<Mr. Carlos Slim (rich guy)

Carlos Slim (never heard of him) is the world's richest man, and instead of buying 1.5 billion maybachs, he is creating a brand new art museum in Mexico to house his impressive and extensive art collection. The museum, the first phase costing 750 million, will house over 60,000 pieces of art ranging from old hispanic pieces to modern french masterworks, including a large amount of Rodin's (and he's really good).

Now 750M is, get this, less that one fiftieth of what he is worth so don't go declaring sainthood. Not to mention that the museum will be going up in a very nice, wealthy and expensive part of town, so we aren't talking about a donation to the less fortunate. But before we dismiss it as another rich guy spending money for other rich people, let's at least be happy that these countless masterpieces can now be seen by the public. One of the worst things about the art world is that priceless pieces, actually, have a price. And that price results in the ultra rich, usually keeping the piece for there own private viewing, other than giving it on loan to exhibits. At least here, we don't have one man owning 60,000 pieces of historical art with 59,000 pieces in storage, and 1,000 on loan and on view.

Look at it any way you want, whether you think the rich are scum, whether you think they are the smartest in the room, whether you work at non profits or at a fortune 500,  there is more art to see now than there was before, and I think that's a good thing for everyone.

news story below:

March 4th Open House

The Marshall Building and Gallery 218 (2nd floor) are having an open house gallery opening on Friday March 4th. Many galleries will be open and showing new work such has Elaine Erickson, Reginald Baylor and Gallery 218. Work spreads across all media and style and features relatively famous, emerging, and unknown artists alike. Make a stop to meet the artists, talk about new work, and talk a look at the great new art being created around Milwaukee.

Poster features "Man Made the Mountain" by Daniel Fleming, 36x48" acrylic, pastel, and pen on canvas

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Type is Beautiful

A new typeface was just released by Matthew Carter (very famous in the type-loving realm) that is just gorgeous. It combines the readability and simplicity of a sans serif with the elegant and chiseled feel of a more traditional serif font. I wouldn't consider it exactly sans serif as it flares slightly at the ends, but that's just a formality.

The bottom line is that it creates a beautiful marriage between the straightforward sans serif fonts that dominate basically everything in our everyday life and the older serifs that can seem a bit stuffy for our web-based society. With Carter Sans, as it will be called, we can get a bit of both. Something classy, something basic. Check it out at the link below

carter sans

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

The New Great Opera House

While the Sydney Opera House has been the definition of beautiful performing centers for many generations, new and exciting architecture is taking the world by storm and many people haven't even seen pictures some of the gems from the last ten or fifteen years. Take the new "Zaha Hadid's Guangzhou Opera House" in China. This awe-inspiring mix of angles, flowing curves, lights, glass and space is just as spectacular as any show you will see on the stage. Speckled with painstaking detail and mind-numbing engineering, the building itself is a performance, displaying man's struggle to breaks the bonds of physics. It almost feels as though the building expands and contracts as the people flow through. Almost a living being, experiencing each performance within itself.

The real question is.........does it work? 

As anyone who knows anything about any kind of music knows, acoustics are almost as important as the instruments (or singers in opera's case) themselves. And though an opera house can get sponsors and interest through the beauty of the building, it will only succeed as long as the acoustics perform as well, or better than the performers on stage. But as we wait for that debate to be settled, just bask in the beauty of such a building. A great symbol of a new city and trading center and a wonderful sign that we are not resigning to lives among gray concrete and steel.

The Art of Type

Not really a new direction but a different aspect. I have always been interested in using type in art and often find that it is a fall back...something that points out the issue being addressed because the piece isn't quite meeting the goal. I am guilty of it as well, and I think the reason for it is simple. We connect and understand through conversation on an everyday basis and an image is much less affective, especially when it tackles a difficult subject.

What I am looking to accomplish with this, and future ideas is to flip the reason for using the text. While I would usually use it to point out the subject, I instead will be using it as a metaphor or "symbol" of the message intended. in this way, language is used, not to give us the definition of the image, but to be the image provide a new avenue. Instead of exploring the meaning of a mark, the viewer will try to understand the meaning behind the phrase. What is "The Change"? is it coming or has it passed? Is it widespread or within the viewer himself?

By using language in this way, I can plant an idea that can grow to explore the real message behind the work and maybe I will eventually find a balance where image and language work in tandem. Not one describing the other, but each part of the same visual sentence.

The Wikileaks dilemna

Hooray for human rights and the freedom of information. But even with the huge amount of lies and information that wikileaks has made available to the public that has helped, everyone defending Assange, everyone cheering for the lessening power of government, and everyone ecstatic that secrets are harder to keep than ever needs to realize one thing, No one, including you, will ever be safe from this, and there may be secrets that serve well being kept. It's hard to imagine for a lot of us, but eventually we may have our personal emails and data released through similar leaks. There is nothing to stop it, and as long as we support the major government leaks that we enjoy reading, we are building a base where there can almost be no argument against the access and release of any private documents. IN NO WAY am I saying that this is not a just cause or that they should stop what they are doing, I am simply pointing out that any company, group, organization or person that gains great support and power has the ability to infringe upon what we think is private to us.

Many people will say they don't have anything anyone would be interested in. And for the most part it's probably true, but if there is anyone holding a grudge, anyone looking to defame or "hurt" you in any way possible, the doors of privacy are opening and letting new eyes and ears in. Companies thinking to hire you, rival companies looking for a weakness, employers looking for faults in performance, anything could and would be open for investigation.

All I'm saying is that, while its great to see the government sweat right now, it may come to affect us a little closer to home in the future. And if we continue to fight for the absolute freedom of information from our government through sites like wikileaks, there will be no reason for them to give us any different treatment.