Friday, April 29, 2011

The Flower Bundle

Spring must be in the air as my work lately has centered around bursts of vibrant color and an overall lack of subtlety or despair. COME ON SUN LET'S GET THIS SPRING A ROLLIN! says the latest work which combines the bold, thick black lines holding back, reserving the brilliant color that stews within. It is exactly what a flower bundle emotes, a wild mix of color and life, held back while it sits in the box, wrapped in paper, waiting for it's desired heart to warm.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Summertime...and posters can be easy

Pretty meaningless "Summertime" poster designed after some vintage posters...made while working on the cover for this weeks paper. (it's about bikes)

Picasso and Beauty














A couple weeks ago I wrote about how art doesn't always need to be this conceptual canyon of meaning symbolism and political stances. Today a painting by one of the greatest artists to ever live goes on sale, and it is exactly what I was talking about. A vibrant and beautiful look at love.

While many people know Picasso for his revolutionary ideas, people tend to not notice how little he commented on the outside world. Much of his art is about himself and his women and while it may seem pretty self-centered, it was pretty revolutionary idea in and of itself at that time. Creating art based on everyday life was a fairly new idea at the turn of the century and many people did not see the value. They were used to huge historical and religious works, meant to educate as well as enlighten the people. Everyday life didn't seem meaningful enough to paint. The impressionists sought to change that, and when Picasso came along, even with the new growing movement to make political statements throughout the wars, He continued to paint everyday happenings, much to the criticism of many other artists.

I think, though, that this concentration on the everyday is what makes many Picasso's so famous and loved today. They are simply beautiful. In a country where the best selling artist is or was Thomas Kinkade (gag),    beauty is obviously king over concept...but in the art world, we seem to have forgotten the "beauty" side of art. An artist that paints beauty is shallow. They are an interior decorator, not an artist.

Kinkade is nothing compared to Picasso, but it gets the point across. Beauty connects with people. Are you making art that is only for the art world? Are you making work only for yourself? Are you making work that is trying to change the world and, if so, how are you doing that if 99% of the world doesn't understand it? If you believe that the only valuable art is the conceptual, the deep and psychological, where does the bulk of Picasso's work lie?

ART is MADison

There is going to be a public art piece going up in Madison this weekend depending on where I find myself on whatever day I decide to do it. Keep a look out. Pictures will be coming as the piece might not be up for very long but It will be a rather striking object set against a chosen "natural" setting. Cheers to bombarding everyone's life with art.

The Real Problem

Politics itself has nothing wrong with it. With no people involved, on paper, it is a way to get a better life to a large amount of people, a way to make decisions without involving millions or billions of individuals, a way, in theory, to create a harmonious life. However, it is when people, with their stone-cold beliefs, engage in politics that it becomes corrupt, confusing, unhelpful, and harmful.

In our own state of WI, the problem isn't that people disagree. Disagreement happens everyday in large and small ways. It's the fact that two groups disagree and refuse to look at the issue from any viewpoint other than their own. The people believe so whole heartedly that they are correct, that it becomes impossible to even consider the fact that the other side might have any type of valid point. I've heard everything from "Fire the freeloaders!" to "Rich people hate working America" and both statements are equally ridiculous. One co-worker said, "I guess I just hate rich people." Well I guess your argument is pretty invalid as you obviously are set in one viewpoint so much that you will disregard an entire population of people because of their financial situation...(apparently she forgot our boss, an active democrat, is a self-made millionaire.)

The problem is that we separate both sides so strictly that we are like two teams competing instead of two sides balancing each other out. We simply don't work to find a compromise anymore. We all have an agenda and we don't feel like we have justice until our idea of what is right succeeds. And frankly, many see the other side as wrong, ignorant or even evil.

I just don't see that as the case. We have had good and bad times with both major parties leading the way. We have had corruption, fraud and lies throughout the political spectrum. We can't alienate each through generalizations or else we will always be enemies. Politics are necessary but separating them down a "Left and Right" line is ridiculous. Not all rich people hate the poor, not all democrats are socialists. The left and right is a creation by people so that we can associate ourselves with people who share similar ideals, not so that we can separate the nation into the people "with us" and the people "against us."

We will always have disagreements and will never be completely happy with everything our elected officials do, but to separate and generalize people into groups will never help in creating better lives for Americans as a whole.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The King is Dead...and has been for a while























So this album came out a while ago and I didn't really pay more than a weeks worth of attention, but returning to it now, it really is a breath of fresh air compared to the last album "the Hazards of Love." Dont get me wrong, THOL is a wonderful album. It is dynamic, surprising, inventive, interesting and challenging. In fact, Hazards of Love IV is one of my favorite songs of all time. But, with all that glorious, rock-opera-esque narrative and sound, it can become a bit overbearing. It's hard to listen to just one song...It's hard to even remember which song is which, and there aren't that many times I can sit and listen to an album the entire way through. Hazards definitely has some great songs, great overall concept, and some fantastic moments throughout the record, it's just not a casual listen which, sadly, is most often the type of music we're looking for.

The King is Dead completely lacks the overall cohesiveness of the singular story, straight line narrative style of Hazards, but the album still stands together and each song can stand individually as well. It's, simply put, an easier record. Filled with fast-paced alternative pop songs such as "Don't Carry it All" and  "This is Why We Fight" the album moves along much faster than its predecessor, relieving the listener of the involved story, the different tones of the characters, and the up-and-down pace that tends to drastically change with every song. But while only 6 of the 10 songs on the album are fast-paced, even the slower songs come across with a bit of kick. "Rise to Me" has a bit of country twang backed by harmonica and piano. It's definitely a bit melancholy, but I can't help but feel a sense of optimism and strength behind it and I suppose its that base feeling of moving forward that seems to blanket the songs of the album.

It makes sense. This is the album style that they went with through their early career and it served them well. They took a chance on Hazards and lost some hardcore fans, gained some prog-ish props, but generally lost that "hit single" attraction that lets you listen to the album eight times in a row. With "The King..." they go back to their roots of solid, single song writing while still managing to make a record in which the songs connect. There are two gems that demonstrate this fantastically, and in my opinion, create one of the best two song compliments that I've heard in a long time.  June Hymn and January Hymn are slower, simple sounding, lullaby like songs that are gorgeous, relaxing, and while reserved, have this wonderful optimism and is usually lost on similar tracks. They move quickly and before you know it, disappear into the wispy vocals that they rode in on, returning you to the hard, driving drums and guitar that populate the bulk of the record.

While I do miss some of the eccentricities on Hazards, the experimental vocals, distorted guitars, solos, and theatrical ranges in mood, The King provides a much easier and relaxing ride. An album you can drive to, sing to, rock out to or relax to, each song a separate idea while still relating, much like a well formed mix-tape.

Check out the link below and buy the record to support a really great band...six albums into their career and they still have failed to disappoint, never repeating themselves, and never taking the easy road.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vay0-XsruGk&NR=1

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

LATFH

Let's start this off by saying that I know a lot of people that dress like this are probably fine, 100% alright people that I might get along with. But there are also those people that dress like this who dressed like this before anyone thought of dressing like this but still dress like it anyway...so for those people...we have hilarious websites like this:
http://www.latfh.com/page/8
...and stop ruining PBR for the rest of us.

Flying Cars and other things

I have been having some trouble sleeping recently thanks to some very stressful dreams. I was helping to plan D-Day in one, Aaron Rodgers and I were fending off zombie bears (the animal not the team), and last night, I was building a house that kept falling down...we were building it out of colorful strips of paper in a windy field so maybe my subconscious should plan better next time. but we also had a fleet of flying cars...Weren't we supposed to have flying cars by 2000? I know for sure Stanley Kubrick promised me an LSD-like space adventure to the meaning and beginning of life by 2001 and didn't deliver...but let's think about this flying car thing...

I know the first thing I would use a flying car for is to get out of traffic...but then so would probably everyone else. Would it be a mad zig zagging spree? would we be flying through a shooting range of thousands of Chevy Malibus colliding and careening into the surrounding skyscrapers??

"What happens if my engine goes out?"
"DON'T let your engine go out!"

Fender benders would turn from a slight inconvenience or worse, a shouting match, into a two-hundred foot plummet to a fiery death. (At least you'd have time to post a last photo to facebook) Drunk drivers wouldn't only swerve, they would roller coaster straight through your roof and onto your couch next to you... "Hey Richard, how long has this charred tanker truck been lodged in the ceiling?" And OH MAN, what happens if you toss something out the window? We no longer have polluted highways, we have cigarettes, vomit, cold coffee, and three month old, rock-hard stale Mchamburgers hurtling like cannonballs onto beach goers below...maybe that's the D-day connection...

Only in Michael Bay's dreams, or apparently mine

Monday, April 25, 2011

Work In Ink

I'm starting a new series that will be linework and ink gestures that I think create a very interesting and extremely bold effect. The deep, flat black of the ink  contrasts with the paper as well as the vibrant colors of the lines which create an almost 3-D effect that results in a very surreal landscape and field of view. These are the first two tries with this and I look forward to continuing them in conjunction with painting (obviously) take a look.

The Flowers She Said She Sent..













It's all about expectation.

In any way you can think of it.

It's a build up of tension, excitement, hope, anxiety, despair, happiness, energy, hate, or love. It all depends on who you are and everything can change at the fall of next domino. There's no telling if it will explode into despair or erupt into ecstasy. It's the barrier between what we are and what we are going to be and nothing beyond that can be truly told.

The Sprawl II - Arcade Fire






















This song is just AWESOME...we all need to listen to it more. SO AWESOME IN FACT that I made a painting kind of inspired and name after it. Sadly, it has been lost forever, but the song's still around so at least we have that.

LISTEN: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rH_7_XRfTMs

Aqualung






















If anyones looking for some new (well new to you) music that might fall somewhere in between the pop-rock of coldplay and the proggy weirdness of Radiohead you should check out the album "strange and beautiful" by Aqualung. It's a fairly melancholy light pop/alternative record that moves between some upbeat and slow songs, not rock and angsty enough to compare with some of radioheads earlier stuff, not weird or dark enough to be their latest works, but not quite as "anthemy" or "polished" as coldplay's most recent attempts. The guy has a really light and airy voice and is accompanied mostly by piano and drums, with guitars filling in the background and occasionally bringing in some surprisingly appropriate power. Strange and Beautiful was his first release in the US back in 2005 and is made up of some of the best parts of his first two euro albums. Check out the stuff on Youtube and here is the title track.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KRh-sUbBHZs

Easter Painting


      
















What better way to spend easter, if you're not with your family that is, than to get a free 50$ bar tab to do a live painting for a few hours!

Well that's how I spent my time Sunday, and while there was a noticeable lack of chocolate and Jesus, I still had a great time. The piece,  "The Nowhere Roses", took about four hours and five beers to complete, accompanied by a few conversations and almost falling off a one-story scaffolding. All in all, much like my last live painting, I had a lot of fun and think I came out with a rather successful piece.

Someone asked me what it meant and I really just gave them the truth...I came in with no idea what I was going to do and began by letting the first few brushstrokes dictate the rest of the piece. Lucky for me, my first marks happened to look pretty badass and from there, it was fairly simple to add to the composition, take steps from the painting that was on the canvas already, and move to a much more elegant and expressive place. Once Again I took inspiration from calligraphy and graffiti, trying to create something that was expressive, emotional and elegant, while also seeming very fundamental or primal and raw. I think I came out with something that seems fairly honest and free...both essential in creating a piece people might believe in.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

The Death of an Icon


Whether or not you like his stuff, think it's a middle finger to the art world, or generally crap, you simply can't deny Andy Warhol's contribution and affect on contemporary art. He may have destroyed any resemblance to what we thought an artist and art was, but he also opened some pretty gigantic doors that bridged art, design, illustration, and the material world in ways we had never seen before. These days screen prints, cartoons, and found objects are rather commonplace in today's art-society, but just a few decades ago, people were still wondering if abstraction was really good art or just a gimmick, let alone looking at a coke bottle as a fine piece of work.

Well one of his most stunning pieces, an enormous black and red self-portrait made just one year before his death, is going up for auction and is expected to pull in up to 40 mil...jeeeeezy pete's that's a lot of money.  Before yall shit your pants with rage, look at the piece. It really is stunning. A deeply introspective and moving self-portrait, almost predicting that something bad was coming. Yes it is a very simple and easy to create piece, but sometimes simplicity is beautiful. The deep red against the black has a very desolate and distant feel. His eyes stare straight at the viewer while his mouth is slightly open, almost as if he is in the act of speaking, trying to tell you something. He looks like someone who has seen the future and is at a loss for what is ahead.

Check out the story below...
http://today.msnbc.msn.com/id/42677373/ns/today-entertainment/

Real People

Just gonna come right out and admit it...this piece started as a complete mistake. I had laid a ground to work on and was carrying some white paint to work on a different piece, but my awesome non-chalantness  allowed me to leave a GIANT drip of paint basically across the entire floor of the living room and, having art everywhere, across this piece of canvas as well. 

Luckily I refrained from my normal "wipe it off the canvas with your foot" instinct and cleaned the floor first, during which I actually came to like the random, accidental swiped of white. But it needed more. While the gesture was nice, it looked like a mistake...and what makes mistakes look like they are purposeful? MORE OBVIOUS MISTAKES!!!! 

and that was the first stages of creation here. Born out of lackadaisical paint spilling, "Real People (The Haze)" is about the clouding of perception or the indistinct nature of people. Which mark is the real mistake? Is anything(one) really all that unique?

Work In (more) Progress

To update yesterday's post, the painting once again took a drastic turn but I can actually see the light at the end of the tunnel now....I'm getting waves of Rothko, Miro, and Klee I think...The composition was actually based on a picture of a sailboat found on a friends facebook profile. the red being the spinnaker (big extra sail) and the orange the water reflection. I am happy with where this is headed and pretty amazed at the length of this painting. I have definitely painted over pieces before, but this piece has had countless "in-between" stages where two or more hours of work sit simply unfinished. and while it extends for at least one more day, I can see the process' end....maybe

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Work In Progress

Here is my newest piece that I started working on....well i guess it started a few months ago and was considered done for a bit. Actually I spose I started it last summer and actually exhibited it, then a month ago painted over it for a new show, decided I didnt think it was done, and now it's something completely new...and not done at all. I am happy with the energy and "mood" of it so far, but it still seems a bit messy and random for my taste. It needs to be toned down a little or have more definition. I like the perceived expansion coming from it, like it's blooming, exploding or growing, but I really at am a loss for where I expect it to end up. There isnt the same boldness I have been using lately which bugs me a bit, BUT i suppose thats why it's still in progress...lots to figure out still...Check out the progression from the very start...















^we were sleeping




















^the killing floor (still a possible painting sometime in the future...only better)

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

And how does that make you feel?

I'm sick of all the conceptual bullshit right now.

Does your design mean something? maybe but I would be surprised if that paragraph of top notch philosophy came before the design was created.

Does that red in that area stand for the hurt that was caused by a former friend? NO, it looks good.
BUT WHAT DOES IT MEAN?

Just shut up for a minute and look at the painting. It doesn't need to have some political meaning, it doesn't need to connect back to a simpler time, it doesn't need to represent your hated ex... It can, but that does not mean that everything anyone creates has some secret symbolism that is deeper than the average thought process. I am a painter, but I'm also just as much of a dumbass as anyone else. Sometimes I go into something thinking of "bigger things" but many times I start painting simply because I have the desire. I want to feel better and painting is my way of accomplishing that. Meaning can arise or it can be non-existant. Either one can result in a great piece of art and pretending that it's ultra-meaningful does not make it better.

Painting, for me, is most often an expression of emotion. Simple as that. I could connect that emotion post-completion to just about anything, reason my way into a philosophy on why the painting was made and write a paper on it, but that doesn't make the painting any more real or special to me. It's the emotion that makes it more than a shitty photo, the real emotion that lends itself to the beauty, that initial movement that creates the life of the piece. Without that, no matter if shakespeare writes 150 sonnets about it, it still wouldn't have the meaning of a simple piece that was honest. Besides, If someone really has to ask you what a piece means in order to feel anything from it, did you do your job as an artist?

So take a look at my most recent piece...A still life of roses. "What does it mean?" you ask. relaxation, beauty, and optimism during a time that I was feeling none of it.

The Red Root River

My new piece, not quite done, Is called Red Root River and, like many other recent pieces, it is based off of the beauty of calligraphic writing. I think there is this elegance, importance and timelessness that comes across through calligraphy whether you can read the text or are simply admiring the letterform and design. This piece is all about energy. Chaos, whether good or bad, dominates our lives, and at our most chaotic moments we often feel the most emotion.  This is meant to be one of those moments. A burst of sudden movement, light, and energy, catching the viewer off guard and tossing the eye into a torrent of curves and loops. When you gather yourself to look at the entire piece, you are denied the ability to search slowly, but kept in motion, forcing you to react in the most honest fashion.
acrylic and pastel on board - 24x48

Holy Animation Batman

Fringe, everyone's favorite new X-files-esque conspiracy thrill ride, premiered their new episode the other day and, while the style is a bit done by now, it's still interesting and exciting to see tv shows trying to do new things. The episode features the "realistic" animation seen in movies like "A Scanner Darkly" and more crudely in "Waking Life" as well as those very uninteresting Charles Schwab commercials (I'm not talking to chuck).

The interesting thing isn't that they decided to do the animation this way; this type of animation has been used quite a bit in the last decade, but that they decided to use animation at all. It's an hour long sci-fi show jam packed with special effects and more characters than DragonBall Z, yet they risked losing the drama, acting talents, and human interaction to a somewhat lifeless, at times, style of animation. For some pretty cool results, they mixed the "scanner darkly" animation with some more computerized effects, enhancing the dreamlike state taking place in the show, without completely removing the plot from reality.

I guess I'm less impressed with the choice of style, as it has been seen many times before, and more impressed by the idea behind it. Shows have been getting more and more elaborate with their SFX, leaning on them like a crutch in some cases. Movies have largely become showcases for the ability of computers to make things explode instead of really investigating new ways to use them. While this isn't a new style or technique, the fact that a fairly popular show is willing to try something risky, turning around an animated episode is less than 6 weeks, is promising. It shows that maybe some shows will start trying some new things. Try to gain more viewers through drastic changes. We've grown tired of seeing spaceships and explosions, it's time to move on to the next benefit computers can give us.

Anyway, it's no clear sign that anything's going to change, but at least a few producers were willing to try something other than upping the explosion count. Hopefully more will follow in the footsteps and really have a break through television program that we can marvel about. Cool idea, nothing ground-breaking, but conceptually promising... Check out some of the stills and a more in depth article below.
http://www.dexigner.com/news/22930

Monday, April 18, 2011

Hey, It must be the money.

As I reflect on another gallery night, another show, and another 400 people briefly met, I realize that the same questions and comments tend to arise. First of all and probably least surprising is "how did you make/think of that?" Answer : "Magic." But the few that come after are a bit more interesting and actually help in figuring out, at least to a point, the way people look at art...

One of the most asked questions I get is, "how do you come up with your prices?" I know, pretty lame and technical when considering everything that goes into a piece of art, but really, it can lead to discovering a lot. For me, I try to price things so that most anyone can afford it, to a point. I always say,  If someone loves a piece, I'd rather they bought it for 100$ than some millionaire for $2K who will put it in a warehouse for 10 years. In no way does that mean I'd deny someone a sale, turn down anyone rich, or that rich people can't actually like art, but it's more of the idea behind it. If there is someone who loves your work to the point that they would shell out a good deal of money for it, I'd rather give it to that guy than just someone with a lot of money to spend.

A lot of artists are very at odds with that whether they realize it or not. I here from a lot of people complaining about how art just isn't affordable. They go to gallery night completely for the experience.  Out of the countless people I talked to, almost none of them were really looking to buy. One reason I heard was that the prices are just too high. That tells me a few things about artists:

1. We all want to make the big sale.
2. We don't know who we are marketing to.
3. We think people are willing to spend more than they are.
4. We are a bit over-confident.

After making a sale, a fellow artist said, "you should have priced that at 500$". I said, that I would have loved to, but the guy wouldn't have bought it then. I got a very blank stare, "but it was worth 500$."

I find that line of thinking very unhelpful for artists, and especially for young artists. What something is worth is not always what you get for it. And what YOU think it's worth is something else entirely. You have to think about what it's worth to the people that might buy it. If you only hang out with millionaires,  maybe 2K is a fair price, but like the rest of us, if you are showing in a gallery to the general public in Milwaukee, 99% of people can't afford much over 200$. While it may hurt the ego, selling four pieces for 200$ is worth more moneywise than putting up one piece for 5000$ and seeing 500 people ooo-ing and aaah-ing and then moving on. Even more, selling 20 pieces throughout the year for 200$ each is the same amount of money as selling 4 for 1,000$ per, but with the 20, you have five times as much exposure...which would you rather have?

The main piece of advice I have is to not get stuffy. Nothing is less attractive than an artist who is stone-cold set on their importance to society and reflects it in their pricing. We all want to sell art for 100,000$, but the simple fact is that most of us never will, and the few that do probably have a long way to go. Be fair, don't give art away, but don't restrict it to the huge lakeview mansions. There are many people out there who adore art, the ability to create it, it's importance, and WANT to buy your stuff, however, there are far less people who can or are willing to pay you 500$ for it. Putting a huge price on a piece is exhilarating, a big confidence boost, and slightly impressive, but it can also come off as cocky, inaccessible, and disappointing for a person willing to put out some, but not quite as much. It discourages people from talking to you about the piece if they have no chance of affording it, and it also stops people from asking for a deal if the price point is much to high for them.

I guess the main point here, in the land of art where anything can mean anything, is that money is something people latch onto. They may not understand the piece, but they understand the price and when someone of their own economic stature is out of their own league. Just be reasonable. There is no reason to give your stuff away for free, but there's also no reason to exclude such a huge group of people. Maybe it's just me, but I want my art in the hands of the people that love it whether or not they can single-handedly support my career.

So next time you put up a show and need to decide on some prices, think about what 99% of the people attending are going to be able to afford. It may not be top-dollar, it may not be what you hoped for, it may not be your dream sale, but you can be sure that there will be a few people who are happy to find some art that they can, at the very least, think about owning.

As the great philosopher Nelly once said, "Hey, It Must Be the Money."

Gallery Night and Day, Spring 2011

Happy, yet snowy, Monday.

Got some good news, Gallery Night happened this past weekend and we had a great turnout. Almost 600 people Friday night and almost 200 saturday. While the weather outside wasn't anything to write about, I had a pretty good weekend in terms of art. I sold the piece "Stutter (But He's Got A Great Personality)" to a gentleman from Chicago and received a HUGE commission from another woman on Saturday.

 Stutter is one of the first pieces that I started doing the very abstract, expressive and bold brushstrokes that resemble some kind of graffiti or calligraphy that have become my most recent go-to form of expression. I am very happy that it found a great home finally.





































Second exciting thing is the start of a very big commission. Someone liked the "Lights of 35"  and trusts me enough to create a much larger, similar piece. The original is 24x48 and the new commission worked out to be around 54x84...I believe this will be the biggest thing I have ever done and am really looking forward to it...



















So huge thanks to everyone that made it out despite the rain, congratulations to anyone who sold work, and to the new owners of some original Fleming's...hope to see all yall wonderful people soon and just FYI...I've got some pieces I am really excited about putting up so keep an eye out.

Friday, April 15, 2011

THE DIVIDE


The divide is up for gallery night so I thought I'd share a little bit about it...I think it's about confusion and moving forward. The general idea that you have a place you need to get, you know the place, you can see the place, but the steps to get there are unsure. As you continue to think, worry, plan, and stress on how to get what you desire, the divide becomes wider, the steps become more complicated, and the place you are in now becomes more and more hectic and unbearable, and unrecognizable to your original situation. Almost like seeing what's coming next makes what is happening now worse. It begs the question, is it better to be ignorant of the future, walking with no real idea of what's to come? Or should you always be looking to move onto the next, preparing constantly for the coming events?

It's the question, do you accept where you are and welcome the unknown before you, or should you seek out the path you are to take?

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Meat Loaf

Through reality TV, Fight Club, and the quintessential 80's rock/theater song, meat loaf is still awesome. This isn't a new song at all but I can't help but listen to it at least 2 times everytime I remember it exists. With the timeless love line "you said nothing at all, and I couldn't have said it better myself" Meat Loaf proves he's the only rocker who will still be cool despite once having bitch tits...

Right on Meat Loaf
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yikMfu7egD4

Im NOT on crack


.... but this guy probably is...once again thanks to Andy

There isn't much to say about this...so just watch it but make sure no one important is around or that you are in an area that you won't mind watching a ridiculous video with ridiculous music...just wow

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0GLoHifu6aM

After listening to the lyrics, I might have to do an in depth critique studying the woes and tribulations of the unfortunate who is obviously, well, on crack.

Projections, Techno and Breakdancing

Thanks to Andy Marogil to finding this....

This is pretty cool video that is part of a project called A4 which combines projections, piano, techno and some breakdancing. A collaboration between a few groups that will be featured at the Coachella music Fest as an interactive exhibit.

It's a pretty stunning video as the hundreds of projected lines and blocks create a surreal and fairly techno-psychadelic landscape. Perspective is warped as the lines bend and stretch around the singular person, who is almost being pulled into the animation. At times, it's even hard to tell where the person is on the stage, or whether he is there at all. He appears as a shadow at times and then explodes back into full-form, revealing the illusion and ripping you back in to the realm of reality. One thing that bugged was, and maybe it was my fault, was I just expected the person to do more...there were many relatively long periods of time where he was almost moving in slow motion, only to dazzle you with quickness and and dexterity for a brief burst of action. I suppose I don't know a lot about breakdancing and the article states he displays wonderful endurance, so maybe I a, just not informed enough, but I really found myself staring at the almost motionless person, waiting and hoping not to miss his next move instead of watching the spectacular effects that were happening around him. If the focus was supposed to be the projection, I found the person a bit distracting as I was trying to see what he was going to do next. And if the focus was the person, it left me desiring a lot more.

I'm not sure what the purpose of this video is, if they planned it or if it was a spontaneous, on the spot collabo...So while it's no perfect choreographic masterpiece, the combination of the two definitely shows some amazing promise.

Here;s the link.
http://thecreatorsproject.com/en-uk/blog/the-latest-from-lumpens-projection-piano-and-breakdancing/

While writing this I found an actual trailer made by the same projection, animation what-ever-you-want-to-call-it company for a film fest and while it's a tenth the length of the previous video, it definitely shows off the projections awesome capabilities.
http://vimeo.com/21841684

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Some people are very stupid


A J crew ad with a boy with his nails painted is getting slammed by some super conservatives stating that it "promotes transgender children." First of all, even if it did, there's a ton of high school kids that are struggling to find their place that would probably be thankful. But even worse, It doesn't, not even in the slightest bit. What it shows is a mother and son having an afternoon together. They are both smiling and laughing...and the kids toenails are painted pink. Maybe the criticizers never had brothers or sisters, but ive had my nails painted a few times and while I won't say I turned out fine, having my nails painted more than once never ever EVER had an affect on the thoughts I had about gender or sexual preference as I'm sure many others would agree. the criticizer goes on to say that "it may be fun and games now, but at least put money aside for psychotherapy...."

If your kid needs psychotherapy after  having this happen he either A. was going to be transgender anyway and this had nothing to do with it, or B. Has a very frail mind and would have been scarred by something else in the world...Better hides your bras ladies, little johnny here looks interested in the wearing aspect of them.

Then she says this is basically the same as advertising a boy wearing a sundress. Nail polish = sundress? I mean they are both generally worn by girls but other than that I'm lost in the comparison. Girls are wearing pants?...they might as well throw on a jockstrap!

Finally we hear from a woman who was accused of something like this a little while ago...She says
"If the roles had been reversed and the photo...had been of a little girl playing in the mud with trucks, nobody would have batted an eye."


AMEN. If we are living in an equal society then everything needs to be treated equal. If a boy wearing nail polish freaks you out then little girls wearing pants, playing baseball or taking CEO positions is promoting transgender messages also.

You can't have it both ways.... Story below.
http://news.yahoo.com/s/yblog_thelookout/20110413/ts_yblog_thelookout/hot-pink-toenailed-boy-in-j-crew-ad-sparks-controversy

Think About What You Read...

This might ruffle some feathers...

So I came across this post somewhere and the title was  "25 Shocking Facts That Prove That The Entire U.S. Health Care Industry Has Become One Giant Money Making Scam"
... Uh Oh, looks like we just broke open the conspiracy. So anyways, my dad being a doctor and listening to him talk about this whole deal...a lot, I have a somewhat informed knowledge on health care plus I try to read about it as much as possible instead of just accepting the popular notion that Hospitals are robbing us blind. That said, this is article as more misleading than probably any I had ever before read. Even forgetting the tone and obvious lean of the writing, (You mean that title isn't bipartisan?) the facts, while true (and I'm trusting the writer on that) display absolutely nothing fascinating or "shocking" about health care or any institution for the most part... I'll take ya through some good ones. Let's kick it off with number one...

#1 The chairman of Aetna, the third largest health insurance company in the United States, brought in a staggering $68.7 million during 2010. Ron Williams exercised stock options that were worth approximately $50.3 million and he raked in an additional $18.4 million in wages and other forms of compensation.  The funny thing is that he left the company and didn't even work the whole year.


-WAIT! you mean a chairman of an enormous company made a shitload of money! NO WAY...AND he didn't work for the entire year after he quit! you mean he got to keep the stock and some extra benefits after he quit?? I think I get to keep my 401k and some extra shit if I quit too...I'm not arguing that he doesnt get paid too much, but it's a business, they can pay the chairman whatever the profits allow....if this was about the CEO of a bank, car company, or oil company, this isn't even an interesting fact, let alone shocking.


#2 The top executives at the five largest for-profit health insurance companies in the United States combined to receive nearly $200 million in total compensation in 2009.


-See above answer...this is barely a separate fact at all. HOLY SHIT the top execs at the 5 largest FOR PROFIT health insurance companies average 40 mil a year....well the top guy at one of the largest for profit software companies makes 3.7 BILLION a year...where's the shocking facts on that guy and how software is a money grubbing scam. Computers are basically a necessity now also right?


#3 One study found that approximately 41 percent of working age Americans either have medical bill problems or are currently paying off medical debt.


-not that shocking...i bet the amount of people that are paying off credit card debt is a lot higher...credit card bastards...


#5,7,9 - we probably shouldn't rely on info that talks about rising rates that came during the worst economic recession at least since the 70s....rates rise when companies are losing money and people are faulting on loans...that might have skewed some numbers....


#11 Why are c-sections on the rise?  It is because a vaginal delivery costs approximately $5,992 on average, while a c-section costs approximately $8,558 on average.


- and the person delivering has no control over which they get? While some c-sections are needed, and some doctors may always suggest the c-section, a mother does have a pretty big say in what they do.


#12 Since 2003, health insurance companies have shelled out more than $42 million in state-level campaign contributions.


-OH man....collectively health care companies give about 4mil a year to campaigns...Wait...that's not much at all. AT&T gave about half that BY ITSELF in 10 years, while the Laborers union, National Education Assc., Teamsters Union, Citigroup, the American Federaton of Teachers, and many other averaged about 15mil each over the same 10 yr span. Why aren't those shocking?


#14 There were more than two dozen pharmaceutical companies that made over a billion dollars in profits in 2008.


- Ummmmm...sure it would be great to get free meds and cure everyone, but it is a business...Sorry everyone, medicine is a business that has to go through trials, testing, licencing, patenting and support millions of employees every year. To think that they don't have gigantic profits means you aren't thinking about the companies logically, as companies...or you realize they are companies, but see medicine as a commodity that people have the right to obtain without someone making money of their creation...


#15 Each year, tens of billions of dollars is spent on pharmaceutical marketing in the United States alone.


- Same as chips, cigarettes, alcohol, cars and pretty much everything else that is popular.


#16 Nearly half of all Americans now use prescription drugs on a regular basis according to a CDC report that was just released. According to the report, approximately one-third of all Americans use two or more pharmaceutical drugs, and more than ten percent of all Americans use five or more prescription drugs on a regular basis.


- well we have more drugs to treat more problems than ever before. We have more old people than ever before. We have more people willing to try to cure something instead of letting it run it's course, and we have more and more parents who decide that drugs are better than therapy, time, or caring in general...


#17 According to the CDC, approximately three quarters of a million people a year are rushed to emergency rooms in the United States because of adverse reactions to pharmaceutical drugs.


-So its a conspiracy to put out drugs that cause reactions so we can make money from curing the reactions? Oh....and don't 1/2 of some...350 million americans take precription drugs? that's 750,000 out of 175 million, plus another couple tens of millions that have effects from over the counter....that's a pretty inefficient conspiracy.


#19 Lawyers are certainly doing their part to contribute to soaring health care costs.  According to one recent study, the medical liability system in the United States added approximately $55.6 billion to the cost of health care in 2008.


- wait, so now it's not the medical communities fault? I thought this was about how the medical business is screwing us...this fact is shocking, sort of, but should be under the title 25 Shocking Facts That Prove That U.S. Lawyers Have Become One Giant Money Making Scam.



#22 It is estimated that hospitals overcharge Americans by about 10 billion dollars every single year.
#23 One trained medical billing advocate says that over 90 percent of the medical bills that she has audited contain "gross overcharges".
#24 It is not uncommon for insurance companies to get hospitals to knock their bills down by up to 95 percent, but if you are uninsured or you don't know how the system works then you are out of luck.
-These three go together since....you can completely wipe-out the first two by informing your yourself. according to the third, all you need to do is do some investigating into why you owe as much as you do. I get charged all the time by my bank for things that aren't legit and I call them, complain, and get my money back. Take responsibility for knowing what you are paying for...don't be lazy and assume ANY business is looking out for your financial well-being...they don't and they don't need to
Ok...so the rest of the facts in there I either don't know enough about to comment on or are actually valid facts. Before you get your panties in an uproar, The rest of the article is actually pretty fair. The system has become too easy to manipulate by a small group while affecting a gigantic group. Everyone sees the money on the table and a lot of people are swarming in to take it. However, it's nothing new...thats the whole idea of capitalism, make money off other people. The problem is that this product is necessary for everyone and needs to be affordable...it's become too distant from competition and medical companies can charge whatever they want. There's a lot wrong with medicine in this country, but that doesn't mean it's a giant scam. It's a huge industry with no real competition...simple as that.

Size Matters

A controversial group of artists named VOINA is simultaneously being awarded a first-prize award by the Russian Ministry of art and being charged with something, probably vandalism, by the City of St. Petersburg for their project which resulted in drawing a 210 ft dick on a bridge. If the Russian Ministry was the "Freshmen Boys Group of Funny and Inappropriate images", the award might even make some sense. Basically, they painted, very crudely, a big dick on a bridge as it was about to be raised...Teehee goes all the teenagers, annoyed goes all the city officials,  and cursing under their breath go the lowly clean-up squad.

First of all, I think street art is awesome, so seeing that as art has never been a problem for me. It's the kids who scribble their name, cross out other people's stuff, or draw sophomoric drawings that any idiot with a sharpie can do that kinda gets to me. You're not standing up to the man by writing "boobs" on your school bathroom stall, you're creating work for the janitor who frankly, probably has better things to do. You're not sticking it to the millionaire landowner by scribbling "Dan the Man" all over his brick wall, you're pissing off the guy that doesn't get paid enough to do whatever his boss tells him. And you aren't making a political statement by drawing a big dick on a bridge, you're asserting the notion for the city leaders that vandalism, whether its a dick or an elaborate and beautiful piece of work, is worthless and the people that do it are immature criminals.

Is the state of visual art in St. Petersburg, or Russia (I don't know how vast the view is for this award) so bad that this is the best they can find? If that's the case, I'm moving to Petersburg and trying to help out.

Seriously, a giant dick? I think a bunch of jocks at my high school did the same thing in the boys locker room. Did you only have time for a 20 second brainstorm or is that really the crowning achievement for a group whose name translates to "war." I guess if this is their idea of war we have absolutely nothing to worry about, and other than buying a bit of turpentine, neither does St. Petersburg.

Colin Stetson

I know I've posted this guy before but seriously....this is 1 guy, one instrument, one take....and all these sounds, emotions, and melodies come from him....AT ONCE. It's just nuts. Im not one who likes free form jazz or anything like that, but Stetson creates expansive compositions that, while improvisational, carry you through a specific soundscape. I would compare him to a harsher, sax version of sigur ros. Check him out and all his other songs. It's really interesting,  high quality, and at the very least, amazing in the sense that its even physically possible...
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6nsbotF6S8I&NR=1

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

It's Ok, I only misplaced an entire city's worth of ballots

In light of last week's bombshell of a ballot discovery, and the recent announcement that whats-her-face isn't going to resign her seat for the debacle. I drew a quick cartoon of Prosser and Kloppenburg duking it out...Enjoy
-Prosser seems to have the early edge here but check out that right cross Klopps is winding up for! I see that booming straight into Prossers sculpted comb-over...Someone call Dr. Ouchies McGee, we've got a good ol' fashioned geriatric hootenanny!

Gallery Night and Gymnastics Drinking


Two awesome events coming up here...Spring Gallery night is this Friday, April 15 in Milwaukee. I have four medium sized pieces up for 300$ or less and four 5x6" pieces for 40$ and less. Along with that, the gallery will have work by abstract artist Judith Hooks, photographer Bernie Newman, and someone new who I will call "Danny Glover" as I don't know his name or anything about him. I bet he's cool too though. Thats at 207 east buffalo st, The Marshall Building, 2nd Floor, Gallery 218.

That same night MIAD opens it's senior thesis with over 100 projects on display. Thats at MIAD and you can find that address for yourself. I'm Lazy.

Lastly, the world renowned Madison Gymnastics Team is having a "drink and drink more" FUNdraiser this Saturday night at the Nitty Gritty in Madison. Something like buy a 5$ cup and its 2$ drinks the rest of the night with some amount of money going to the club. They are cool ladies, and a couple guys who need money to keep Bucky spinning and somersaulting till the cows come home so help them out by drinking your face off! And apparently handstands will happen so something entertaining is bound to come up between binge drinking and handstands right? Here's the link to that.
http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=200380596668654

So get off your ass and enjoy the sun...and then when it goes down come to all this other good stuff...see ya there turkey's!

LEO FLEMING: MASTER OF THE UNIVERSE

And a shadow was cast from the smoldering hells of a thousand erupting volcanos. One man, weapon raised and charged as a servant to all that is unholy, rises from the ash and dust, stepping over fallen brethren, and cackling as the bones of his enemies snap and crack beneath the pounding beat of his dinosaur captives. A desperate moan from the countless undead as they are swallowed in the rivers of lava and a stale breeze, sour with decaying flesh and caked blood, sweeps across the barren earth kicking gravel, dust, and razor blades into a torrent which hacks the skin of the once bountiful plains. One man takes a deep haggard breath; Leo The Conqueror! The lone survivor! Master of the Universe and destroyer of the living beckons...."Come to my Graduation Party." And all the world rejoiced as the sun grew large and the earth was no more.

This is what happens when my mom asks me to make a graduation card for my dear brother and i get bored. I personally think it needs more lightning, scantily clad women, giant robots and maybe a tornado...definitely too much empty space for an epic portrait of capt. Leo dominating in the dreaded world war 12 between people, dinosaur's, zombie's, aliens and the apocalypse.

Monday, April 11, 2011

My New BIO

I got bored at work and wrote a new bio for all those random online things you need a bio for. I actually think my admission essay for college was something along these lines as well...just three pages longer. I'm not for tooting (funny word, should use it more) my own horn but someone was laughing at it after i wrote it and left it in the printer at work so I thought I'd share.

"After I painted the Mona Lisa and illustrated for Hunter Thompson, I decided to give Picasso the idea for modern art and invented Penicillin."

Drunk Bunny Says "Props Dude."

THANKS


Thanks to everyone who made it out to the show this weekend. Big HELLO to all the cool people I met. Big GOOD LUCK to the guy that woke up on the futon and thought he missed going to work for the second day in a row. Big HIGH FIVE to that super friendly cat that sat on my shoulder for an hour. and a huge YAY to Brad and Sara for hanging out and making sure I had a good time. YALLLLLL WIN!

The Irony of It All.

I admit, I am probably one of the most conservative artists you will ever meet. And I also admit that there are a billion (maybe not that many) people that know way more about politics than I. BUT I also try to stay in the middle and I really don't think either side is the completely honest and heartwarming group the followers contend. And by the way, I didn't like the bill passed by Wisconsin....that being said The thing I can't stand in this "Budget Bill" situation, and I'm not going to lump dems all in together on this as its not the case across the board, but I've heard a lot of the opposition actually wishing ill will to the people who believe in the bill and to the actual bill itself. First of all, There is NOTHING civilized in wishing ill will to someone just because you believe in different things. There is a group that decided to act on feelings like that ten years ago and destroyed 2,000 lives because of it. So we should altogether stop that part of the whole debate. It casts a shadow on everything we stand for and everything we we're fighting for. It's just a bad way to attempt to get a point across and will gain you NO positive attention...

Secondly, to wish ill will to the actual bill is just stupid. I've talked to a lot of staunch dems that actually want the bill to fail so that they would be proven right. How does this help? I understand 
that you don't like the bill, but to wish that it fails is actually wishing that life will get worse for the people you supposedly are trying to stand up for. I didn't like many parts of the bill but I hope it works with absolutely stunning results. Life would be better, debt would be down, economy up. 
It wasn't quite the way we were all hoping for, but if it works without all the consequences people are afraid of, the result is what we desired. I guess we were wrong and we should suck it up. Sometimes there are more than one road to a solution. But to hope the bill fails is to hope that life will get worse for the very people the protests were trying to protect. Its irresponsible 
and selfish to hope that things would get worse for the purpose of proving yourself right. 


Think about it this way. You are a designer and are designing posters for a non-profit that is holding a benefit for hunger relief efforts. There are three other designers also competing for the their design to win the job. The group picks another designer's work over yours. You think your design is better and are disappointed you lost but do you hope that the benefit is a horrible failure that proves the group made the wrong poster choice? Hopefully not. Hopefully, as someone who is actually dedicated to the cause of helping the hungry, you want the benefit to be a wild success that cures hunger despite the personal defeat. 


And that's my whole problem. Sure, I didn't want the bill to pass. I wanted them to change parts, make it more fair, and take care of the people we rely on every day a bit more. That said, if it works and life is better for everyone, I'd be the first to say "we were wrong, the plan worked. Good job on getting it passed and creating a bill that accomplished its goals." There's a time to protest, a time to vote, and a time to move on and work to make things as good as they can be. Hoping a bill fails, especially a bill with this much riding on it, is hoping life will get worse, and I don't see anything positive about that.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Gauguin, What a Perv

See the boobs? Gauguin, you skank
S
























So I'm back, feeling better, still a bit tired, but what's new about that AAAAAAND there is a funny (sort of) story. Apparently some old lady, (only 53 so not that old, sorry mom) tried to destroy a gorgeous Gauguin last week at the national gallery. According to someone else's sources, the woman began pounding on the protective plexi shield over the painting and tore it from the way. The painting was not damaged and the woman was apprehended. So that part isn't that insane. Actually I seem to recall some crazy man doing something like that here in Milwaukee to a less-important painting...however he actually kick a hole in it. We go all the way in Milwaukee.

The story goes on, however, to a brief statement by the lady, "I feel that Gauguin is evil. He has nudity and is bad for the children. He has two women in the painting and it's very homosexual. I was trying to remove it. I think it should be burned." Someone get this lady an art review job! Wonderful description, spot on analysis, and completely PC. BUT WAIT! there's more. "I am from the American CIA and I have a radio in my head. I am going to kill you." Wait a second, I won't trust you to read that again so here it is, "I am from the American CIA and I have a radio in my head. I am going to kill you." Simply awesome. That's always the first thing I hope to here in any situation. While I don't like to laugh at the unfortunate circumstances of others, this is a gem. Why this isn't the headline is beyond me. My new artistic goal is to offend someone so wholeheartedly that something to this affect is said, and if crazy-museum-goers in the future are as easily offended as this person, I should have a pretty easy time. 


Let's just hope she never gets her eyes on some of the more "indecent" Picasso's or we might have a real situation on our hands. 


link to story below:
http://today.msnbc.msn.com/id/42416269/ns/today-entertainment/

Thursday, April 7, 2011

DECLARING A STATE OF GENERAL ANNOYANCE

There's a couple things that bother me and one major one is when people make a bunch of rules, fail to tell you, don't follow the rules themselves, or have no basis for those rules. 

Example #1, if you do not feel that painting a canvas' edges black is presentable enough, don't wait till the fourth show I have taken part in to tell me that. Bring it up any time in the previous six months since that's what I have been doing since I started putting things up in the gallery. PS- never ever have I EVER heard anyone complain about a canvas not being framed as not looking  "professional"

Example #2, If that's not presentable enough, then you, the person making the rules, should have to follow it also. If painting a canvas edge black is not good enough, then I don't think hanging works on loose paper by bulldog clips is any better. If you allow yourself to hang pieces by bulldog clips, you have no place to tell me that a blacked edge canvas isn't good enough. 

Example #3, If you say things need to get in by a certain point and continue to assert that, I expect you to be able to contact me so that I can accomplish that. If I call you the day before I told you I'd be bringing it in and you have no way of getting in touch with me, that's on you, and it makes me feel either A) the deadlines you set aren't important or B) It's not my problem...neither are positive for a working relationship.

Example #4, Don't treat me like an idiot. I've been in over 20 shows, I've sold a lot of art and I am not claiming to know everything, believe me I don't, but when I am talked down to, it makes me want to help you less. In fact, if you treat me like a little kid, I will treat you like the adult. All the cleaning, prep, and take-down now becomes your responsibility. If I'm going to be treated like the dumbass child here, you can go right ahead and be responsible for everything.

Example #5, just because I bring pieces in together for a show does not me they go together or are a series. Don't tell me to "think about how the sizes of the pieces relate and will relate to each other in the gallery while you make them next time." I made the pieces a month apart from each other. They are not related. If you relate them and want to put them together, great, but don't criticize my process when you obviously don't understand how the pieces were made....


Just a rant...I feel better now

Ai WeiWei

One of our rights most held dear is the right to free speech. Whether its discussing religion, politics, entertainment, the environment or any other great debate, we as Americans can sit comfortably knowing that, for the most part, well will not be persecuted for our outspoken beliefs. However, something as simple as speaking one's mind in other parts of the world is a big "No, no." And sadly, questions of free speech have once again crept into art. On Sunday, China's best known artist, Ai WeiWei, one of the artists who helped on the Beijing Olympic Bird's Nest, was arrested with a few friends and family. The friends and family have since been released, yet the artists whereabouts are unknown at this time.
Being harassed by the state is nothing knew for WeiWei as he has been in and out of house arrests for a long time, but his disappearance has concerned and frightened friends, family, and fans as it was generally assumed he was too high-profile a figure to be targeted by the government. The state says they arrested him for economic crimes, but have failed to really explain why, what, or where the artist is.

While it's very possible that WeiWei may have been taken for very real and legitimate charges, the situation , lack of information, lack of cooperation, and China's checkered past with human rights seem to suggest there is something else happening here.

Full article below:
http://www.hindustantimes.com/An-artist-s-arrest-draws-the-red-line/Article1-682514.aspx

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Space is cool

And that's a FACT. Scientists have been studying a bafflingly small meteorite found in the late 60's in Antarctica and have discovered that it's made of a brand new mineral! Dubbed "Wassonite" the mineral consists of sulfur and titanium, combined in a way never before seen by science. I have NO idea what anything like this could be used for...what useful object requires both strength and stench...but it opens the mind...what other valuable minerals could be floating around in space?

Full story from people much smarter than me below:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/livescience/20110406/sc_livescience/45billionyearoldantarcticmeteoriteyieldsnewmineral

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

SALE!

Three pieces were just sold, one to my good friend Tyler, and the other two at the Art Bar in the Riverwest area of Milwaukee. I am happy to say, after many many positive comments and feedback for the new work, these are the first sales that contained the "abstract-symbolist" style I had been working with. Tyler got  the beautiful "Fire in the Desert" (I liked it so much I based a second piece off it.)

< Yay Tyler, the first piece sold in Madison WI.


















And the other two pieces were bought by a Milwaukee resident. These two were part of the original set that I made within one week; the first "body" of work in which I used the symbols/detail in since High School.















Also, if you live in Madison and frequent the houses willy street area, keep an eye out for more, I recently left a portfolio WIDE open for people to grab art that has been sitting in my portfolio behind a door for LITERALLY a year. Yay for sales, yay for art that's out in the community...