Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Before The Color's Added...A New Piece Partway Done.

I started a brand new piece last night...standing 16x68", it's a large and wide piece, and I think it's off to a good start. Based around the archeological idea of being able to learn much about a subject by looking at the food it ate, this piece is a portrait of sorts...more on that as the piece moves on, but take a moment to check out the work before it gets its color.

Should We Ignore Vandals?

Two interesting articles. The first on a gallery in Houston which  has awarded a solo show to an "artist" who defaced a Picasso painting, outraging the local art community and blowing up the web...

And the second on how we should deal with vandals like the one mentioned above and the recent Rothko defacing "Yellowist."

The first story really bugs me. This guy does NOT seem revolutionary at all and I find it ridiculous that the gallerist is trying to defend what he did. I'd be very interested to see what the gallerist and artist would do if one of his pieces gets defaced...

At the very least, we now know the names of a gallery and an artist who don't care about art history or respecting it and so now,  confidently, we can ignore most of anything that comes from either.

And for a follow-up, this blog has a review of the show which, rather unsurprisingly, sucked.

New Star Wars: Good or Bad for Fans?

You could almost hear the gasp of a few million star wars geeks as news broke that George Lucas had just sold his beloved franchise to Disney...yes, Disney...and announced a new move to be made for 2015. Flashback to Jar Jar Binks bringing a wave of nausea and enraged confusion...a teenage Anikan made us wish Darth Vader had always been an evil ruler...and Samuel Jackson became a I can only imagine what's in store for the next installment. But is it possible that this is the right move? Is Star Wars doomed to a future of less-than-worthy sequels or is getting George Lucas out of the driver's seat the best thing that could have happened?

Images for Aliens

There are many fantastic possibilities about the search for life elsewhere in the solar system, but even if it exists in some kind of intelligent form, the chances of us finding them in our lifetime and being able to reach them is pretty small. The universe is just so darn big! But don't we've seen across the history on earth, we leave stuff behind and later people (or beings) find them. But if you could leave something behind for some future person to pick up and learn about you, what would it be? Take a look at what we're leaving behind, just in case a future alien stumbles across some ancient space junk...

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Star Wars 7...As In Another Movie

Cue the collective groan. If this news is true, leagues of star wars enthusiasts will be both dismayed that they are trying again, and excited they have a chance to right the wrongs of the last three movies.

George Lucas announces a seventh Star Wars film, set to be released in 2015 and saying “It’s now time for me to pass 'Star Wars' on to a new generation of filmmakers."

As long as they avoid Jar Jar Binks and Hayden Christiansen, I don't think it can make it worse than what they've already done...right?

"Ono" She Didn't...McCartney Defends Yoko

Even though it won't change the minds of many an angry Beatles fan, Paul McCartney recently revealed in an interview that Yoko Ono did not, in fact, break up The Beatles, and that he was actually the one arguing most amongst the group. Take a look...

You Won't See the Forest for the Trees. Details.

You Won't See the Forest for the Trees.
Acrylic and Pastel on canvas

From Chicago to Milwaukee

I did this commission of the skyline of Chicago about a month or two ago and really think it came out nice. The energy and color really make the skyline come alive without it being your stereotypical cityscape.

I also just got a commission from someone who saw this piece, asking for one of a mish-mash of the Milwaukee skyline. Kind of a jumble of the famous buildings in Milwaukee, as our skyline isn't as recognizable. If you like the first piece...keep an eye out here to see sketches and updates of the new commission along the way.

Here's an old illustration to tide you over.
Also...on a sadder note, one of my best friends moved away last week but by doing so opened an opportunity for me to create "memories of madison" type piece. It's going to be a large tapestry format made to look like a somewhat demented and naive excited and keep an eye out for that as well!

If you like what you see above and would like any of the cities discussed, or one from your own background, immortalized in a contemporary style contact me at my email and we'll work something out!

Dino Names and 11 Epic Controversies.

What's in a name? Well when it's followed by a couple hundred tons of meat, bone, and a few hundred million years of history, quite a bit. Check out some funny and strange controversies of dino naming through history.

Sales from the Weekend.

Well, If I'm lucky this can become a weekly post for the blog...hmmm...weekly sales...I like the sound of that....

Three pieces sold last week including one that tied the most expensive and largest piece I've ever sold...and that same piece may become the second that's part of a corporate collection. Good week all around and let me know if you want to buy something...get your Fleming's while they're cheap!

Another Sale!

And the last sale from the weekend...a bit smaller of a piece at a bit smaller of a price.

Welcome To The Horizon At Actual Size was made for the Beyond the Canvas Event, stood at 3x36" and inspired a larger, yet-to-be-created painting currently in the works. Congrats to the buyer, a regular patron of mine...and enjoy your new piece!

Photos From The Storm

Check out some photos coming from the areas of the storm in the gallery below!

Monday, October 29, 2012

You Can't See the Forest for the Trees.

I'll give you a clue on this piece so that you don't start out down the wrong's not a pro-environment message I'm trying to's more the meaning of the phrase applied to these images that I would like to evoke...

Aaaaaand go.

Dave Hickey Quits the Art World.

Dave Hickey, renowned art critic, thinks the art world has become "nasty" and  "stupid" and  he says he's quitting. In a fierce attack on the art world, the  critic has raised eyebrows and ruffled feathers with his latest announcement...

I definitely dislike his attitude. If this is truly what he believes then he is in the perfect position to find artists that truly matter and give them recognition they deserve while fixing the problems he is railing against.

As for his assessment of the current art world, I don't think he's too far off. A vast majority of people on this planet do not connect to what's considered "the best art of the day" and I think that needs paying attention to. Art risks being an afterthought if it moves too far from the general consciousness and culture...and so either we, as artists/critics/art-activists aren't doing a good job of explaining this art to the general public and engaging them, or the art itself isn't a good representative of our culture.

The Saatchi collection (a world-class collection of YBA type art, which stands as an unaccepted gift to Britain) is having trouble finding a home for this very reason...the museums know the public isn't interested and it's too much money to be worth it.

Art is supposed to lead the way in building culture and new ways of understanding it, but we shouldn't leave 99.9% of the public behind with no interest of them tagging along.

If he's incorrect and the art IS the best, the art-world and artists have failed in bringing the rest of the world along...and if he's right, the art world has failed by putting up a front that the public "just doesn't get it", allowing gallerists and artists to claim whatever they want, no matter how much BS is involved.

Either way, the art world's at fault...and the public, and art itself (in my opinion), are the ones that get hurt the most. 

The Case for a Third-Party Vote

Here's an interesting article titled "The Progressive Case Against Obama" that I think a lot of people should read. It doesn't figure anything out or tell you what to do, but it DOES give good reason to not vote from the standpoint of "Well, I just don't like the other guy" which I am beginning to feel is the main reason Obama will win, if he does manage a victory.

The title may scare some people away, but the writer is actually a democrat with a long history in liberal politics. THIS IS NOT A "VOTE FOR ROMNEY" CALL TO ACTION. The article is not a feel-good story and doesn't give you a pretty picture of the upcoming election...but that's the reality we face.

Anyways...I know many will close this post and ignore the article, but I think it's a valuable read for anyone planning on making the tough voting decision next tuesday. I wouldn't be surprised to learn many closed the post once they saw the title of the story...the sad thing is that those are the very people this article is meant for...and it isn't pushing either candidate as the man for the job.

Bigger Sale!

And an even bigger sale, my brand new piece We've Got Twice The Power But Half The Fuel. joins the ranks of the largest and most expensive pieces I've ever sold as an artist! Again, to a fantastic buyer, the piece is sure to have a great new home in Arizona or, possibly, a corporate collection!

Italy's Anti-Rennaissance.

Italy has been close to forward momentum throughout modern history. The Roman Empire stretched across the horizon and pushed the forefront of building, architecture, and engineering while the Renaissance brought scientific reasoning to the why is Italy the center of what seems to be a modern attack on science, punctuated by last weeks sentencing of 6 top scientists to prison for failing to predict an earthquake? Take a look..


I think keeping the blog cat-free the past two years on a cat-heavy interwebs has warranted at least one cat post...enjoy national cat day and give your cats a hug when you get home...

BIG Sale!

Mine's Not A High Horse
Acrylic and Pastel on Canvas

Another great sale this weekend. A favorite was sold saturday to a great buyer. Sad to see it go, but I am happy to see such a great piece walk out the door to a better home...

Debunking the End of the World

With a new "perfect storm" baring down of the east coast, some may say that the Mayan prophecy of a 2012 doomsday may be starting to come true. I can see it now...the hurricane blows water onto the lands, which leaks through the ground into magma chambers, which heats and creates steam which builds the pressure in the chamber, causing all volcanos on earth to erupt! IT's SCIENCE!

Anyways, in an interesting look at history, the Houston Museum decided to take a crack at the doomsday debunking it...take a look.

I think it's a great idea. It gets people to pay attention to history by talking about something people know of, but not the facts behind. They are attracted by an outlandish idea, and informed about it through real history.

I've always been a fan of Ancient Aliens from a purely entertaining standpoint, but the thing that bugs me is that the "History"Channel never makes an effort to debunk the claims. They never interview the real scientists...they never present an alternative view...they never give the viewer an easy avenue into finding out how easily the theories are debunked. I love a good conspiracy, but I like being surprised at how simple the real answer usually is as well...

And what's really cooler,,,ancient man being able to build unbelievable structures or an alien "gifting" them to us? Ok, maybe the alien is still cooler...but the human's building it is definitely impressive...

Picasso Under Picasso

Experts have long known that Picasso's "Woman Ironing" hid something. Infrared scans revealed an upside-down portrait of a man with a mustache...thought just barely...but questions remained. Who was it? When was it done? Was it even Picasso that painted it?

With new imaging techniques, new details and identities emerge. Take a look.

Bracing for Sandy...

A good detailed article on what's expected from the massive storm...

Friday, October 26, 2012

Fun With Photography.

Fun with photography! Close-ups, details 'n artsy shots for a lazy friday afternoon...

Three Paintings

In the theme of "old work that is important to what I'm doing now", I thought I'd post these three pieces, the three I'd say really solidified my desire to use a primitive aesthetic, the three that drove me to learn more about ancient art, and the three that pushed my love of the "tapestry" and hieroglyph format to the forefront of my toolkit. Two of the three were sold right away, and I believe the third is still around somewhere, but I'd have to search a bit.

Anyways, people often ask when I started to move toward a more primitive aesthetic, when I moved to channeling ancient artwork more heavily...and I think I'd point to these three as the real catalysts.

Two Pieces That Changed My Work

These are two of the oldest pieces I still have that have never been painted over, and still hold an important place among my collection of my own work. It's not that I don't like what I used to do, just, as an artist, I have trouble keeping things that don't best represent me and my work...and if it's not good enough for me, why would I pass it on to a buyer as if it was?

Anyways, these two pieces were made around the same time, and I'm not sure what it was about them, but from the outset I really felt they were leading somewhere important. The above piece, Men of the Sun, is one of the first that I remember having a specifically ancient subject. The sphinx and sun dominate the center of the piece, while abstract objects and shapes move within and around the setup. I think it begins to create that shallow-but-complex, maybe naive, depth that has come to dominate much of my work.

The piece below, I Dreamt and When I Awoke I Almost Lost My Mind. was one of the first pieces I remember being overtly emotional while integrating a more symbolic approach...and it also marked a painting that led to a move away from human representation in my work that I am just now getting back to. I think the drama and energy really hit a nerve for me, and I found it difficult to attack the same subject again with equal interest, emotion, and believability.

Both pieces were a bit of a shift toward abstraction, yet both were restrained enough to hold representation of the subject matter. I'm not sure either immediately led to the place I am now, but they are two pieces which stand out, to me, among the older and recent work that I've done.

Take a look at these two keystone pieces in my work...

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Three Very Different Pieces of Paper...The Explanation

So you've gotten a few days to mull over the previous posts here, take a look at the work and detail shots, get some clues from me, and make up your what do you think was the idea here?

This piece is somewhat along the lines of the famous phrase "can't we all just get along?" It refers to the three different pieces of paper...three documents...three books of three major religions; Islam, Christianity, and Judaism. The three books would be the Qur'an, the Bible and the Torah, each adorned with a symbol associated with that religion; The far left has a crescent, the middle yellow book has a cross, and the lower blue book has three curved lines, representing the menorah. There's even a reference to ancient religion with the yellow disc of the sun in the upper right.

The part of the title "saying very much the same thing" could be taken literally or figuratively...In the literal sense, all three books contain very similar beginnings; The bible and the torah both containing the old testament, the Qur'an containing over 50 references to stories and characters from the other two. In fact, when looking at all three, more similarities seem to rise than differences...though the differences are important to each of the three religions. Figuratively, the phrase refers to the overall message of the books. While the prophets, writers and resulting beliefs have differed, the messages about living for the betterment of your community still relate. We are given rules, sometimes from different prophets, sometimes with different specifics, but largely meant to help us live our lives in a positive and productive manner.
(more in depth comparison:

The purpose here is not to say that all three are the same...that all three do not have their specific histories and beliefs...that all three aren't unique...more to point out that, while differences may be present, there are also overwhelming similarities...we need to stop concerning ourselves with being right and look more at how we can connect.

Two Stars for Richard Hamilton at the National Gallery

Check out this article on a show of late work by the late, great Richard Hamilton, the father of pop art.

Feed. Home. & Live Painting

This is a large piece i did live last thursday at the preview of the MIAD Alumni Sale. It's always interesting, doing work live. You can tell some people think it's really cool, some think it's a gimmick, some seem confused and avoid the area, and some stand for nearly a half hour, watching as you work.  You get a lot of opposing reactions...some tell you that they can't tell what it is...some explain how they can't wait to see what it becomes. Some are concerned and ask if it's working  or what your plans are. Some think you have no clue what's going on and assume you're just throwing paint down.

It never ceases to amaze me the different perspectives people have on the same event or subject. Whether it's politics, religion, morality, or a dude painting on a canvas in front of them, the differences in each person's history creates a, somewhat, alternate reality to the person next to them.

I guess the idea is that, no matter what I paint and how much I put into a piece meaning something, it will always appear different to someone else. My favorite part of the piece may be a specific brushstroke, while the guy who came up at the end said his favorite part is trying to decipher my semi-abstractness. What was obviously a bull and goat to me from half-way through was an abstract adventure to someone else, even though he knew there was an image. What had personal meaning to me was more of a interesting encounter with art in general for another that had never experienced it before.

It may not immediately emote what I intended, but it was real and impactful, to some degree, to the people around me...and while true purpose IS the aim in many of my pieces, real reaction and emotion is better than fake agreement anytime.

Check out in-progress photos below...

The Walking Statues of Easter Island.

I know i've covered Easter Island in a couple previous posts, and may have even covered this theory, but here's an article which lays out evidence and a video for why some scientists believe that the giant statues of Easter Island "walked" to their final location, rather than being rolled on logs. Take a look...

Note that the director of the Easter Island Statue Project disagrees. Her team has shown that the statues could have been moved by rolling on logs, and she claims that the experiment is more of a stunt than anything of scientific value.

It seems like it's still up in the air. Some of the evidence backs the walking theory and fits well, while a more simple and seemingly logical approach would be the rolling on logs...both sides claim evidence and I personally think the "walking" theory is an ingenious solution to moving such large sculptures, whether or not it's true to history. Guess we'll have to wait and see...

Debarking: Barbaric or Saving Grace...

Everyone's been in a situation at some point when there's a dog barking somewhere and it simply won't stop. Whether you're sitting at a bar, watching TV at home, sitting in a park or at work, eventually it gets annoying. Dog debarking is a procedure which removes this problem for the worst offenders, but activists call it barbaric torture, while various animal interest groups and owners say it's simply a last-resort-saving-grace for pets which have no other option. Would you rather face problems like eviction or the need to get rid of a dog because of barking or undergo the controversial procedure so you can hold onto your beloved pet? Take a look...

I can definitely see the issue. The procedure could definitely help in a case where a dog simply will not stop barking and an owner either has to get rid of the dog or do this. I suppose the question becomes, does the procedure cause more suffering than would putting the dog up for adoption, releasing it, or euthanizing it? Does banning the practice increase the number of dogs euthanized or released and is that OK?

HOWEVER...I can also see owners using this as a cop-out to training and being patient. Dogs's just what they do...yet some owners have it in their heads that you can turn your pet into a statue because it's more convenient for them. I would hate to see dogs silenced in this way simply because it's easier for the owner to deal with.

And if the procedure really is damaging, then I suppose I support and understand the "get rid of it" side as well. The article didn't give too much professional opinion on it's side-effects, so that's a bit hard to judge if the activists are over-reacting to something they don't understand or if the supporters are ignoring the facts. It seems like a problem that depends on who's using the procedure. If it's being used as a last resort to euthanasia and doesn't really hurt the animal long-term, that's one thing...but if the majority of procedures are by lazy owners who want a perfect pet, then that's wrong.

I'd like to see a follow-up on this sometime soon...

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

We've Got A Map and The Sail's Full, But No Direction Where To Go. The What.

This piece is all about direction and the idea that you can fully prepare yourself for what lies ahead, and still be completely blindsided by what actually happens. The title gives you a talks of a map and the "sail's full". This reference could be taken literally in the sailing and moving fast sense, or, as I intended, the full sails represent the beginning of movement, the readiness to move forward, the end of preparation. The "sails full" indicate you are ready to go full-steam ahead. The map implies that there is a goal...a destination...a plan...but a map with no directions (as the end of the title reveals) is questionable in its worth.

To put it simply, the idea of this piece is that you can do everything possible to get ready...feel as collected and confident as you can and still not know what's coming...still have insecurities....still have worry and the unknown.

It's not about being prepared to face anything (where's the fun in that), but about welcoming the eventual fact that, despite your efforts, you won't be prepared at some point but move forward anyway.

A Stroke of Genius. Reginald Baylor in Milwaukee Magazine

Check out this great article about artist Reginald Baylor, a fantastic local artist and impassioned activist in the Milwaukee art scene...

Gotta say that I feel personally honored to be working with such a respected artist and someone who is so interested in other artist's careers and how to expand the art market in Milwaukee. I know that I wouldn't be quite where I am without my interactions with Reggie and I am looking forward to the coming year with Plaid Tuba and everything that follows!

Ice and Snow.

Ice & Snow.
Acrylic and Pastel on Canvas

Three Very Different Pieces of Paper Saying Very Much The Same Thing.

Some more photos and details of the new piece Three Very Different Pieces of Paper Saying Very Much The Same Thing. revealing a few key symbols that may help you decipher the piece...

The below photos show the three pieces of paper, each a different color, each holding a symbol of their "followers".

Still not sure what "pieces of paper" I could be talking about?

Think religion...and apply that to the takes a little critical thinking, but then what interesting and engaging things don't?


When you approach a painting (at least mine) approach it like a short story...there's a title which introduces you, (if you can read) words (or symbols in my case) to carry you along, and pictures which display the subjects and events. When you approach a book, you don't read the first page and expect to know the ending...and as you approach one of my pieces, you should expect that same engagement as you would with a good takes a little time, a little attention, and a little imagination, but you'll walk away with a far more interesting experience than, say, if you simply read the back cover.