Gary Baseman's retrospective "The Door is Always Open" at the Skirball in LA opened recently to massive crowds in a huge celebratory opening party. The exhibition is so complex and personal, delving into Baseman's background, family history, and all the layers of prolific work that he has done over the years. After the opening festivities winded down, I caught up with Baseman for an interview. We discussed the underlying meaning to some of the components of the show and how it felt for him, coming from such an honest personal perspective in putting this massive show together.
Kristin: First of all, congrats on such a phenomenal retrospective with "The Door is Always Open" at the Skirball. The whole show was such an in depth exploration of your work and really a celebration of the work you've done over the last several decades. It was such an involved event, too, with so many different things going on. How did that feel for you- the experience of the opening and winding down afterwards? It was pretty epic.
Gary: Well even when I give a tour of the exhibition or look at just the exhibition itself, it has so many layers to it. So because I was determined when I put together the exhibition to not have a traditional retrospective, but that I was trying to create this kind of art installation- this kind of environment to engage the viewer and in a way disarm them. I wanted to bring them in to the space, to make them part of it and for them to be able to interact with the art differently than just a viewer looking at a painting behind glass. That became such an overwhelming process, so in some ways when I first give a tour of the exhibition itself, you get caught up in the concept. And then because each room represents a theme in my work, you almost end up removing the actual exhibitions themselves.
Each piece of art represents a specific exhibition or an event and then has a story in its own right.
So again, there are so many layers of not just the work as art, it's the work also as history, as memory and heritage and so you're dealing with a sense of family. For me it was a way to honor my family my parents for one by having their furniture, their original furniture, in there.
K: Wow, I didn't realize that was their original furniture you used. I was wondering about it.
G: Yeah, this is a very deep emotional exhibition. The furniture in the Living Room, the Dining Room and the Bedroom was my parents furniture. My mom passed away in October and at first I was going to mainly use relatives' furniture to capture that era, cause its not only my family but its also the Fairfax District that I grew up in. But when my mom passed away in October I made the decision to use family furniture. My brothers and sisters said it was cool and so I moved my parents' furniture that they had left in their home of 48 years and used it in the exhibition.
K: That's incredible. I'm sorry to hear about your mother. I imagine you were already well into working on this show when she passed, so was this process kind of therapeutic?
G: Well the process already started when my father passed away three years ago.... ~continue reading
Paul Wackers has an exhibition of all new paintings up at New Image Art Gallery in LA from February 16th to March 30th. He sheds some light on his inspiration, creative process, new work and his experience of being an artist in NY in this interview with Kristin Bauer.
"Early Romantics" Paul Wackers at New Image Art Gallery Feb. 16- Mar. 30, 2013
7920 Santa Monica Boulevard
West Hollywood, CA 90046
Dance for You, acrylic, spray paint on panel, 48”x60”, 2013
Tell me about your most recent work we will be seeing in Early Romantics at New Image? How has it evolved from your previous work?
I will be showing about 12 new paintings all made since the beginning of 2013, so pretty quickly. One is the largest painting I've ever made which was really fun to do. The rest are a mix of objects in the landscape and very paired down still lifes or almost abstract compositions. I think this show is a really good follow up from my show at Alice gallery in Brussels last year. So continuing to build a bit off an internal narrative for the work and some parameters from my subjects to exist within and seeing where it goes from there.
A Description of Leveling Off, acrylic, spray paint on panel, 60”x48”, 2013
Your paintings have a sense of capturing the magic in the mundane objects and moments in daily life. What is your process of working this way? Would you say it's more of a process of infusing energy into the ordinary, or seeing beneath the surface of the everyday and expanding on what's already there?
Yeah, I think that is all in the work, but the work is rarely from direct observation. It's more like a kind of assumption of what something is and that leads to being open to the possibilities within anything. I know that's pretty cheesy, but when you spend 7 days a week in your studio the regular stuff around you and your walks there get really interesting. Funny bits of trash or strange trees and blandness become stages for things to happen. Being able to expand on the boring bit to see how it might be something unique is a hard thing, but a worthwhile search I think. But maybe ask me tomorrow and I won't see anything in it. It's all in the moment.
Natural History, acrylic, spray paint on panel, 70”x60”, 2013
In your work there's an interaction and a sense of tension between meticulous detailed areas and looser more abstract elements- almost a play between order and chaos. How do you feel order and chaos, or other polarities, present in your process and final imagery?
I like to play with those ideas in some of the paintings. Its strange that what I might see as just background noise that is easy to ignore because it has no focus, other people see chaotic stuff. I love how every person reads them so differently. That's why I usually like to let people tell me what they see before I say what I think is going on, since it is that play and disconnect that I love. If I give away my intention too soon then the person looking usually just ends at that, but when it stays ambiguous I think it remains interesting and the discussion can begin after that. But that being said, sometimes I will try to make images that I think can't possibly work, and then they start to click and I have a whole new thing to explore. So I guess finding some disharmony has been very beneficial to my process.
Jay Howell's solo show "Enthusiastic Person" at FFDG opens Friday, Feb 1st (6-9pm).
Here is a small preview and also a short interview with the man who's been working his butt off in Los Angeles on his upcoming cartoon with Nickelodeon, video shorts with Vans, a new zine, and other projects when he's not walking Street Dog in the warm Southern California air.
How are you doing? Hope everything is jazzy.
Everything is going good. Life is busy and fun!
You moved to LA like a year and a half ago from SF. How's it going?
It's been 2 years, and it's going very good.
You're working on the cartoon for Nickelodeon "Sanjay and Craig". When can people expect to see a clip or the first episode?
We'll be airing in July! Maximum excitement!!!
What can people expect from your upcoming show "Enthusiastic Person" opening Friday, Feb 1st @FFDG?
It's a bunch of new stuff that I've been doing when I get home from work. A lot of it goes along with a new comic I've been developing.
What's your routine been like these days?
Get up early, go to work, stress out, get really excited, hang out with Street Dog and draw.
Los Angeles based Joshua Petker recently closed the show "Adrift" at Lebasse Projects a few weeks back. After switching up his style and direction to inlcude these simplier/ nautical/ ship themed works, we had the chance to ask him a few questions about this new body of work.
There's a lot of nautical action taking place in the new works. Where does this angle come from?
I've always been interested in juxtaposing beauty and melancholia in my work and it was important to me I continue in that vein whilst expanding my visual vocabulary. This new series of work is built on an interest in conceptual painting rather than on the aesthetic approach I've taken in years past. I was very inspired by thoughts of vastness. I uncovered a quote by Anna Freud that said, "We are imprisoned in the realm of life, like a sailor on his tiny boat, on an infinite ocean" and though I found this quote well after I began painting, it is the same illustrative metaphor that I had in my mind informing the direction of my work.
Been awhile since you've been up on the site. What have you been doing these last few years?
I became a full-time artist a few years ago which has been really important to the evolution of my work. I've been able to read and research more than I was able to while balancing a day job with time in the studio. Having the freedom to focus fully on my interests has allowed me to see more art, learn more about art, and generally focus all of my attention on art and philosophy and this has been very important to my work.
I welcomed a baby girl into the world a little more than a year ago and that has been a bigger joy in my life than I honestly expected it would be. I spend a lot of time with her.
Los Angeles has become an even more interesting place to be an artist in the last few years. Lots of galleries and artists here making the place interesting.
Skimming the Internet looking for new artists and inspirations, I'm always looking for something that can not only catch my eye, but sustain my attention. I stumbled onto New York based artist Matt Mignanelli's website a few months ago and got stuck on it; his black, matte and monochromatic paintings having some sort of transmittable information for aesthetic and structural reasons. In researching his earlier work I saw an interesting transition and wondered how it happened. I sent him some questions and this is the result.
Interview by Rob Loane
Tell me about yourself, you surely aren't painting all the time, what do you do outside of your work? Hobbies, duties, family... Does your art take up more time than you want it to?
Outside of the studio I'm usually going to openings, looking at painting, and going to the bar. My second passion is cooking. It relates to painting for me, I love the hands-on creation, the control, the quick gratification it brings. I use it as my way to decompress; it really relaxes me. I come from a strong Italian-American background where food means family and great friends; I love that aspect of food bringing people together. My brother and brother-in-law both live in and around the East Village, and my wife and I try whenever possible to keep up the tradition of a Sunday dinner.
I wouldn't say that my painting takes up more time than I want it to, but it does consume me. I have a very hard time shutting it off. I like to maintain a rigorous studio practice, it feels right to me.
These new black/matte/monochromatic color schemes and compositions seem to be more simplified in their elements. What was the transformative process that made you simplify, both to the grid and the figure ground relationships you are using? Why the decision to go black?
These current works developed out of a gradual process of working through and reexamining my earlier painting. At first I was creating small areas of monochrome, which then slowly developed into monochromatic backgrounds, and finally entire paintings. While I was working on larger scale works, I would always be making smaller works where I felt freer to take risks. These were always much more minimal, and almost magnifications of elements in my larger works. In a lot of ways those smaller works felt more satisfactory to me, which then led to me chasing that simplification. The grid paintings started as I began to concentrate on these smaller areas within the works and use the grid to create a confined space. The works that focus more on figure/ground relationships I arrived at by stripping away distraction from the paintings, I want these to be minimal environments that are still somewhat relatable to the viewer.
I arrived at black searching for purity in my painting. Black is so pure, it's unsettling, it represents the unknown.
I've always made bold paintings, and the black on black is bold yet there is so much subtlety, there is a balance. The black paintings are just as much if not more about the gloss/matte relationship as they are the blackness. As you move around these works they change with the light as it's reflected and absorbed into the surface, this level of engagement has really driven my continuation with this body of work.
Having been longtime fans of one another's work, Michelle Blade and I thought it would be interesting to talk about our ideas, inspirations and work processes as well as our concurrent solo exhibitions at KRETS, in Sweden and Carter & Citizen in Los Angeles. The conversation, passed back and forth between email over a week, took place as follows... -Alexis Mackenzie
Blade: Okay, to get the ball rolling I think I should start with a basic, but crucial, question: I've always been curious, where do you find your gorgeous source material?
Mackenzie: It all comes from used books; here in SF I mostly buy them at Green Apple Books or Adobe Books ~ so sad they are having to close! I also have a friend who is a book reseller; he keeps an eye out for books for me, and has found me some really amazing things. Most of the books I use are topical; vintage books about botany, rocks & minerals, fashion, and anatomy mostly. Lately I've been looking more for photographic source material that includes objects, such as decorative art ~ vases, frames, furniture ~ things I can build interior scenes with.
Blade: It seems like part of your process is about balancing your intuitive response to found imagery while simultaneously preplanning abstract shapes and text. Can you describe how you move back and forth between the two? When do you know a collage is completed?
Mackenzie: You're completely right; for my text-based collages, finding that balance mostly consists of having a letter-shape in mind, and searching for an image that resonates with me, which I can twist into the shape I need and melds with everything else around it. It is a long process of searching, cutting, arranging, rearranging, searching, cutting, and rearranging some more. Generally I stop when it feels like a completed scene. I don't glue anything down until this happens, because if I decide to add anything it may change the balance of everything else, thus necessitating changes. My process for the abstract line collages is the complete opposite; everything is unplanned. I'll chose an existing cut-out silhouette from the millions I have floating around in stacks, one that has a shape which is interesting and compliments the found image I'm working on in a dynamic way (or is compelling enough on its own, for working on blank paper), and I just start cutting & pasting, working with the existing shapes and trying to create something resonant. It is a much more freeform approach; I sometimes think of it as drawing, in a way.
Blade: You have some really interesting text in some of your pieces. What is your process for finding or writing these phrases? Is there a story behind "Look Alive", the title for your current solo show at KRETS?
Whether conceptually motivated or intuitively created, the process of painting has been a main attribute in art for sometime now. Controlling the surface of a canvas is at the root of most contemporary painting. Vancouver native Jeff Depner's work creates avenues for visual discovery through a process based aesthetic. Layers upon layers of paint each relating to the next. Masking some, if not all, of the past creates a visual history within. The work ebbs and flows between graphic qualities and thick painterly styles with muted but contemporary feeling colors. The constant process of ‘improvised moves' allows some of the work to be based in grid like structures. It allows some of the smaller paintings a chance for inquiry in constructive qualities and aspects of painting, inserting his work into the long history of painting.
Written by Rob Loane
What is the process of making these paintings? Is it strategic, do you have something in mind previous to the start, or is the end result derived primarily through process?
I usually have a general idea of what I want to do going into a painting, but it's usually a series of improvised moves piled on top of each other until something starts to makes sense. There's a lot of building up and tearing down going on, it's a slow process.
Layers are such a huge part of your work, each interacting with the previous, as you say. How do you decide what should be layered over, and what should stay?
Deciding what stays and what gets painted over is a balancing act, long periods of looking followed by painting things in and out, and moving things around on the canvas. Not much escapes being painted out at some point.
Your process seems to be one of give and take, how do you know when a painting is done?
It's tricky, usually when I can't think of anything else to do to it.
Yokonori Stone may have started out as a "dumb kid," who performed poorly on exams and was constantly chided for never paying attention, but today she's attracting the attention of curators in Asia and Europe as a young feminist artist who has a cunning ability to distill images of raw debasement. This summer, she'll have her American debut at Ever Gold Gallery with a suite of works that simultaneously embrace and ridicule her new hometown, San Francisco.
This spring I visited "Nori," as her friends call her, in her small apartment in the Western Addition neighborhood to talk about how she's been settling in and what's behind this new body of work. We sat on the floor of her living room and ate red bean mochi while we spoke. -Chad Calhoun
Counterfit Barry McGee
A plan for sucess in San Francisco
Ms. Stone interviewed by her friend Chad Calhoun
So how long have you been living in the Bay Area?
I have been here for just over a year.
Do you think the San Francisco scene has affected your work at all?
Absolutely. The generosity of this city constantly surprises me and all the great artists working here is very inspiring.
You've said that you think of your work as therapeutic. I think that's very interesting since so many artists today are focusing on external concerns rather than internal ones. Often I see artists engaging with the politics of representation or using art to comment upon current systems of oppression, whether cultural, visual, or political. You seem to be moving in a totally different direction.
I am not using art for anything except my own personal enjoyment and to gain a better understanding of myself. I wish I had the courage to tackle such important topics like sweatshop labor and gender equality but I am just a simple artist, and no one really cares what I think about such topics. They'd rather listen to Hilary Clinton or Reverend Al Sharpton.
Bamberger Classic (Nicely Done)
San Francisco Group Show
Another way that I see this—that your work is different from most of the art that's being made and exhibited—is that you create small works on paper. You don't do monumental works and you don't make videos or take photos.
I'd like to make monuments but they won't fit in my apartment, so I am not sure how I would be able to work on such things. Videos require a lot of technical skill that I do not have. I can't even figure out how to set up a facebook page. As for photos, there are just too many out in the world right now. I just don't think I have anything to add in terms of taking pictures of things.
I discovered the work of Chicago-based artist Heidi Norton via EBERSMOORE, and became an instant fan of her unique installation-based approach to photography and sculpture. Norton frequently uses living plants as a sculptural element, encasing them in layers of colored wax in conjunction alongside other studio ephemera. I sent her a few questions about her processes and approach via email, and here is what she had to say.
"Circle Template for Glass Sculpture" (2011). Archival pigment print, 19 3/4 x 15 7/8 inches.
Many of the materials you use in your work rely on, or are significantly affected by, their relationship to humans. Such as wax, which is naturally occurring but rarely observed in a natural state; houseplants, which rely on their owners to keep them alive and healthy, and man-made products built from natural materials (books, pallets), etc. Is there a specific aspect of these relationships you are addressing?
I think I am more interested in man's relationship to these materials versus man's interventions with them. The symbiotic relationship--a reciprocal relationship-- is what intrigues me. For example, the bee's reliance on man to help maintain their hives and the product man receives from this maintenance. My parents were beekeepers and I often assisted them as a child, learning this relationship from a young age. In order to reap the benefits of domestic plants, you must care for them. In Controlled Environments, there is an installation of shelves that are exact recreations of my windows of my studio. Here you can see plants in varying stages of life. Beside plants, there are objects, detritus, and remnants; collections that either reference these relationships or are products thereof.
"Controlled Environments" installation view. Mark Wolfe Contemporary Art, 2012.
Last summer I was given a queen bee cage, which looks more like a coffin for a queen bee. When making a beehive, one must introduce the queen bee, as she has not been raised with the collection of worker bees. One side of her cage/coffin has been drilled out and filled with "bee candy". As the worker bees are exposed to her pheromones, they chew through her bee candy plug. Once the plug is chewed through, she can escape and live in harmony with the other bees.
Another example of this was over the summer while making work that is currently on view in Chicago at Johalla Projects, Reasons to Cut into the Earth; I had trapped a butterfly in the hot wax that I was pouring into holes that I had dug as molds. I felt guilty that the butterfly died in my art, but liked the way it became the trophy of the piece. The next morning I had found that a community of ants had eaten out the inside of the butterfly. With that my guilt subsided--one organism contributed to the life of another.
I'm from Massachusetts.. moved to NYC after grad school at Rutgers, spent 10 years there.... about half of which was spent art-making and half playing in a band. It got to the point in NYC where I was spending too much time working to support myself and not enough painting...so I moved up to Northampton, MA where I was able to afford to take a couple of years just getting back into it. In 2007 I taught painting for a semester at an art college in Oslo, Norway and then did a 3-month residency in Los Angeles, wanting to be back amongst a larger group of artists and a more active gallery scene. The residency was sort of to test the water in LA, and I loved it so ended up moving out here.. where I've lived for two years now... teaching and making my work.
So let's get down to business. Tell me a bit about the characters and places in your pieces, they seem utopic, but with a underlying darkness. It also feels like the work is just out of reach from narrative...
The source material for the paintings are film stills... usually older ones where the sunspots and grain reference a previous era. In the newest work, the proportions of the canvas actually mirrors that of a widescreen cinema format. I choose the frames that strike an emotional chord with me, hoping that they will also resonate with viewers. So it's really done intuitively, without much thought to 'theme' but there are obviously common threads... groups of people isolated in nature and an ambiguity in terms of their identity and what exactly is taking place, as you pointed out in your question. So I would agree with that and say that it's intentional, as it hopefully creates a kind of compelling mystery and draws viewers in.
I should also say that the pieces that I'm working on now might well be the last that come out of this process; the process of finding a single, pre-existing image and translating it into paint.
I view these paintings as a kind of pop art because of this; they are pre-existing images in the culture, though of course not as recognizable as product packaging or celebrities.
The original image is also going through more of a transformation because the use of the materials is painterly and not deadpan, as in pop art, but just the same, I feel that with these paintings, once the frame has been selected, the die is cast and the work is half done... I'm hoping to start working more interpretively, more from the imagination, with chance and chaos coming into it more. I want to push beyond the nostalgia of these paintings.
AZ: Alex Ziv, artist, 23 years young, born and raised in San
Francisco, avid cigarette smoker, passionate art lover, motorcycle
QA: Hello FFDG world. My name is Quinn Arneson and I am 24 year old
artist. I am from Los Angeles, California but currently live and work
in San Francisco.
This is the first two person show you've had, why did you choose
each other for this show?
QA & AZ: Julianne Yates from Gallery Heist had been watching us both
or about a year or so and approached us both about potential shows.
She made the connection that both our works had multiple commonalities
that seemed to click. We both simply find humor in art while remaining
religiously serious about our practice.
Were there any guidelines you followed or did you work independently?
QA & AZ: We definitely chatted about making work that would be super
cohesive, but remaining distinguishably independent from each other.
We had things we wanted to accomplish independently, one being
increasing the scale of our work.
We pondered our differences and attempted to "bridge the gap" between our different styles.
our works have definitely changed over the course of making for this
show as we attempted to increase the amount of mutual visual
aesthetics apparent in our work.
Decades before the term street art was being uttered from ad executives' mouths, Blek Le Rat was bouncing about Paris throwing up political, thoughtful and humorous stencils... Banksy was quoted as saying, "Every time I think I've painted something slightly original, I find out that Blek Le Rat has done it as well. Only twenty years earlier..."
A new book on Blek Le Rat is due out this winter along with the solo show 60/30 at 941 Geary here in San Francisco to celebrate the 30 years that Blek has been creating works in the street. We emailed him a few questions below to see what he's been up to since we last spoke with him in '08. -Trippe
Where did the name Blek Le Rat come from?
In the 1960s children used to read a lot of comic strips; I took on the name of Blek le Rat in reference to an Italian comic strip called Blek le Roc. I changed it into Rat, because I painted rats and the word "rat" is the anagram of the word "art" (something Banksy hadn't thought of!).
How do you create your stencils? Are they xeroxed photo copies that you enlarge or do you draw them out yourself? Please explain.
In the 1980s I drew all of my stencils, nowadays it depends on the stencil. Often I still draw the stencils because I am inspired by photographs that are not of a quality that lends itself to the stencil making process. I also use xeroxed copies on occasion, but not very often. I like the "handmade" aspect of the stencil, in both the preparation and the final image. Stenciling, though an antiquated medium, also has a very modern look and is ideal for street art, which is why so many street artists employ it. I also prefer black and white—I do not like colorful stencils much.
Your forth coming book explains that it will feature half street art and half fine art. We're familiar with your stencil works. What kind of "fine art" do you do?
Street art is ephemeral and it is very important to keep a memory of what has been done in the street. It is important to me that my fine art reflects the street or urban/public landscape in some way. I try to reproduce the ambience of the street where I often work at night when shades of black and white are dominant. I use the same characters in the street as well as in the work I produce intended for the gallery.
Are you producing much work on the streets in Paris these days?
No. I don't work in the streets of Paris anymore because I know each and every inch of Paris. I love to work in places I don't know because these locations allow me to get in touch with a new atmosphere, new lights, and new people. If I continued to work in Paris I would have the instinct to do the same thing over and over again, without making any progress.
To me, the most interesting aspect of street art is the constant opportunities to be surprised and/or amazed. I lose interest when something becomes routine.
Originally published on Fecal Face February 18, 2008
NYC based photojournalist, Lyle Owerko, was one of the first photographers to the World Trade Centers on September 11th and captured some disturbingly intense photographs, one of which ended up on the cover of Time Magazine. These are his words and images of that horrible day.
Sept 11 Time Cover by Lyle Owerko
On September 7th 2001 while on a plane flying back to New York from Dar Es Salaam the previous 5 weeks flashed through my mind. I had been photographing everything from elephants fighting each other, to documenting street clashes to driving my friends through a storm of tear gas and burning tires during a riot. The reason to go back to New York was to shoot an Ad campaign. Part of the trip home meant changing planes in Johannesburg. The layover continued my preoccupation of being torn about flying home. While sitting in the transit concourse I watched a molten orange African sunset burn an unforgettable hole in sky outside the lounge windows. Every day in Africa delivers a unique visual which makes it so hard to leave. It is a constant razor's edge of tragedy and beauty. Leaving was if I was abandoning all that was poignant and tangible in my life. Yet, I felt I had to be in New York for a purpose.
Four days later, just after 8:47am on September 11th found me sprinting through the neighborhood of Tribeca chasing down the source of the worst sound I've ever heard in my life. The final destination was the World Trade Center complex, now marred with a gaping hole in the north tower. Within minutes of reaching the complex another plane began its suicide approach. It struck the Towers looming above me with a punch beyond description. In defiance of the fireball and ensuing shower of glass and steel I managed to click off a series of pictures. Within 10 minutes of leaving my apartment I shot the image that made the cover of Time magazine.
Over the next couple of hours I filled multiple rolls of film with assorted images of people leaping from the Towers and absolute carnage beyond words. Most of those images have remained in my archive silently frozen in memory of that day. What the images will never convey is the aural soundscape I have inside my head. It's hard to reiterate the screams and shouts of horror that erupted from the crowds of onlookers as they viewed the ballet of death occurring above the street that morning. Even now, which is over six years past the event, my ears scan any sound I hear out of the normal in New York. Is it a shout of pain? Is it danger? Did that sonic boom come from a jet in peril? Everything goes through an internal assessment filter making sure my perception is right. The day of 9/11/2001 completely stole my innocence, as it did with many others. Though I've seen many horrible things before then and many after, I've never been in a situation where I felt so helpless to contribute. There are many instances where I've passed up on taking pictures to simply to err on the side of helping, but that day was overwhelming. All I could manage to do was click the shutter to document something I had no cognition of and probably will never fully assess. I remember the policemen yelling at me that morning and encouraging me to keep shooting and keep documenting what was going on around us. They understood the importance. In the images of that morning I hoped to capture the dignity and grace of the people who jumped and to somehow define the decision they made with integrity and peace.
They are not easy pictures to look at, especially when our daily world is an oversaturated media landscape of manufactured realities and the new rising class of "celebritocray" - where disingenuous shock and awe on camera leads to fame and fortune. Stepping out of that bubble and looking at the tangible "real" of the actual moment between life and death is very hard, it forces us to come to terms with so many things including our own mortality. I simply hope these pictures pass on through the generations as an informative tool for future members of this planet to see and understand that all life is precious and beautiful. And yet to grasp how easily innocence can be snatched away in the blink of a second. -Lyle Owerko
This shot was taken about 30 seconds after the second hijacked plane hit the South Tower of the World Trade Center complex. The air was cluttered with white business papers - which scattered in the sky like giant pieces of confetti following the initial rain of airplane parts and building debris.
The beginning of the jumpers. You can distinctly see this mans hand with fingers spread grasping outwards as he falls.
Jumper. This photo was taken as I started my journey out of the WTC site to a vantage point of greater safety. The North Tower is in the shot, which collapsed not long after this picture was taken.
September 12th/2001 - A burnt out Fire Truck on the corner of the World Trade Center complex at Vesey and Church Streets. This photograph was taken on the same corner where I had stood the day before.
BG: So Jacob, before I enquire about your upcoming September show (Fri, Sept 9th) at Mark Wolfe in San Francisco, I'm inclined to ask a few brief but personal bio questions about your history and upbringing because I think you have an incredible past.
Small Moon, 5 x 3 inches. Gouache and spray paint on postcard, 2011
Can you tell me about where you grew up, about your father as a Minister and the story about how that affected you (and your family), and also how and why you ended up in the Bay Area and finally in Los Angeles?
JT: I grew up in Colorado near Boulder. Until I was aged 14 my dad was a pastor in Christian churches. The earlier church where he was assistant pastor was very much like the famous "Evangelical" churches that are featured in the documentary "Jesus Camp". There were miracles, spectacles, speaking in tongues, a pool for baptizing. Sometimes church members would line up around the stage and my dad would lay his hands on their heads and pray. When this had gone on long enough, the person would be knocked over by the power of God, falling into the waiting arms of deacons to lay on the floor crying from the experience. I was suspicious, so one time I got in the line. My dad put his hands on my head, I think my arms were in the air, and then I fell.
I was a child being lead to believe in the full text of the bible, the beginning, immaculate conception, worldwide flooding from rain, eternal suffering in Hell, and everlasting life in Heaven.
There I was, laying flat on my back asking myself if I had been knocked over by supernatural force or what? I went up knowing I was going to fall so was this a real thing? I had my doubts. Somehow I always felt like I was being tricked, and I still feel like that sometimes. Now I mostly feel like other people are being tricked and I'm not, but I catch myself back on the other side of that line occasionally. When my dad started his own church the theatrics were toned down a little, but the belief was notched up. No fakers. I think I could fill a book with the stories from my childhood and the lessons I learned from questioning my surroundings, this is just a teaser. My love for skateboarding and punk rock lead me to the Bay Area and I moved to LA to attend grad school at UCLA.
Still Life with Sculptural Element (Water), 60 x 60 inches. Oil on canvas, 2010
BG: How do you like LA? Do you have a favorite food cart or any sketchy food cart stories?
JT: I love LA. People are very free to express themselves here, and not just in a politically correct, socially accepted way. Anything goes. "Beto's" is my favorite food truck. It's on Jefferson near Burnside from 7:00-11:00pm and I highly recommend their tacos al pastor. The food is not sketchy.
BG: How was UCLA and who did you work with there?
JT: UCLA was really great. I pretty much stuck with the painting faculty, they offer a genuine painting program where you go into the studio and work. I think it's what people expect from MFA programs but rarely find. I was very inspired by Lari Pittman, Roger Herman, and Don Suggs and worked with them repeatedly. UCLA a real gem! The library is AMAZING!!! Because I was a grad student and UCLA is a research institution they let me check out as many books as I want and for like 2 months at a time. I still have a lot out even now! I'll have to return them soon though as I'm moving to NYC.
Outer Space Series 1, 12 x 8 inches. Gouache, graphite on gessoed paper, 2011
BG: Your last show at Mark Wolfe was right after graduate school and you had made a pretty extensive group of paintings. How would you describe that show and how are you thinking this show will be different in terms of approach and art work?
JT: I was still in school for the last show, and I had nothing to do except paint! It was so nice. There were paintings in that show that I really felt were good and others that I was suspicious of, in spite of the ample time I had to work. Now I have to work full-time to pay for my studio practice and bills and every moment I have to make art is precious. It gives me a different appreciation of the dedication I have to this conversation of art. I feel very privileged to make art with my spare time. It doesn't hurt that I enjoy my work at the wood shop very much as well. I'm glad to do both kinds of work.
This Australian couple, now living in Los Angeles, collaborate on every piece of art they create. Splitting their works between acrylic on canvas and the murals in the streets, they're participating in the Australian street art show Young & Free: Australian Contemporary Street Artists opening up at 941 Geary on September 10th. We emailed them a few questions as they wrap up their work for the show.
So you've been in LA via Melbourne, Australia for 2 years now... How has the transition been?
It’s been great! We really love it in Los Angeles...quite quickly it felt like home here, which was something we didn't expect! But the transition was really smooth for us. After a few months to settle, and just once we wrapped our heads around some of the small differences like allowing 40 minuets to get somewhere - even if its 5 miles away -and learning to use inches and feet over centimeters and meters!
What have been some of the pluses and minuses of being in LA?
There is definitely more pluses than minuses! I think the main pluses are the weather and the people. We have met so many great people here that have become very close friends. And the constant sunshine and blue skies is just ridiculous! I don't think we will ever get sick of that!
Do you consider LA your permanent home now?
At the moment, yes. We can definitely see ourselves being here for many more years...But you never know what the universe has in store.
It seems that your works are divided between murals and paintings. Which came first?
It was different for both of us. I started painting graffiti in the mid 1990's. I had been painting pieces for years before returning to Art School and learned how to paint with acrylics.
Myla on the other hand, had been painting with a brush for most of her life, and it wasn't until we met that she started using spray paint.
Which medium works best to translate your work? Walls with spray paint or brushes while creating paintings?
I'm not sure... We really love painting graffiti and it’s such a big part of our overall influence and style. Painting graffiti letters is so important to us, and we love painting big characters on walls too. The way we go about painting with spray paint is similar to our brush paintings, but also completely different.
The characters are the same, and the content, but outside we paint with heavy lines and strong bold colors. Whereas on our paintings with acrylic, its a lot softer and harmonious approach. With subtle colors and no outlines...and we love working that way too!
Damon Soule's third solo show Then What Happened opens @FFDG in San Francisco Saturday, August 20th (7-10pm). Gerald Anekwe swung by his studio a couple weeks back to see what he has brewing for his show.
San Francisco Art Institute graduate, Damon Soule's newest paintings take what he's been doing for years further into a mind bending reality. Beautiful.
You've had two solo shows with FFDG in the past, what are some of the things you are taking into consideration while working on this one?
FFDG is a small space, so it's a great place to put together a cohesive experience. That's all you really have to worry about.
How would you describe your work to someone?
Aw man, that's always hard. I usually just describe it as crazy paintings. If I was painting things that I could describe in a simple sound bite, I would be disappointed with myself.
All At Once - 66" x 74"
In addition to SF, you've lived in Portland and NYC. What are some of the things you've enjoyed about living and working in these cities?
NYC is great because you can always get something to eat nearby anytime of day. Portland is cool because people are relaxed and know how to have fun. No one'ss really trying very hard there which I find refreshing.
What brought you back to SF?
I love the community vibe in the Bay Area. It feels like things are really happening which I didn't get in NYC. That may be just my perception but since that's how I feel, I had to come back here. As far as I'm concerned SF rules! However, I like to keep it fresh and that means not getting too comfortable.
Second String - 24" x 36"
You've been exhibiting for over a decade, what would you say is the most important thing you've learned along the way?
Keep it personal and challenge yourself. If you get bored, flip it upside down. Life is short, so don't get stuck in a rut.
In a stale state as the SF art scene is, the most successful art dealer and gallery owner in America, Water McBeer is a breath of fresh air to invigorate this horrible mess. His currated show at Ever Gold opens this Saturday July 30th (6-10pm).
First off, tell me some things about yourself and your history/ background in the arts?
My name is Water McBeer owner and founder of The Water McBeer Gallery, a small gallery space dedicated to art excellence. I have also been a prominent art dealer for over 28 years. I received my BA in business economics and my MFA in art criticism from the San Francisco Art Institute and went on to become the most successful art dealer in America. I was raised by my teenage parents in a small hippie commune in Northern California hence the name Water. At the age of 14 I inherited my distant grandfather's extraordinary art collection of over 500 pieces from the most important artists of the 20th century. I own the most valuable art collection of any private collector in San Francisco and my extraordinary Self-confidence, determination and belief in personal freedom have made me the most successful art dealer and gallery owner in America.
What initially got you interested in starting an art gallery?
Well, I've done just about everything, made billions of dollars traveled the world, won a game of golf against Bill Clinton, partied with every celebrity, own 15 cars, a 195 foot yacht, 3 mansions and so it was the only thing left to do.
Can you tell me more about the art you inherited?
My grandfather collected everything from Van Gough to Duchamp and over his lifetime built up an impressive collection among the collections trophies is Pablo Picasso self-portrait yo, Picasso. His collection was worth 1.5 billion dollars. He had an eye for great art. I not only inhereted his collection, but his impeccable sense of taste.
Why did you choose San Francisco, rather than NYC or LA to open a gallery?
Sadly San Francisco stands no chance against LA or NYC. It is my goal to show world class artists in my gallery to highlight San Francisco's artists among the rest of the art world so that they may shine bright in a sea of art darkness. I am here to save San Francisco from its artistic doom and stimulate the art economy with my wealth and power.
It's pretty noble of you to invest your time and money in an art gallery, what are some of your long term goals for the gallery?
I foresee a future of endless possibilities for the Water McBeer Gallery and its artists. I am investing in the future of the San Francisco art community, a future of great wealth and boundless creative expression.
The Shooting Gallery here in San Francisco opens Grand Illusion, work by Anthony Michael Sneed Saturday, July 9th 7-11pm and runs through July 30th. In addition to paintings and handmade wooden object installations, Sneed will be releasing a print with a portion of the proceeds being donated to the San Francisco LGBT Community Center. Daniel Rolnik interviews Sneed covering his process, his musical past and how he was once part of a Christian cult. Featured here in this interview is some recent work and previous works.
Do you sketch everything out before you paint it?
I do it all in the computer.
The print with a portion of the proceeds being donated to the San Francisco LGBT Community Center
What program do you use?
Photoshop. I could probably do it in illustrator way better, but illustrator and I don’t get along.
How do you transfer the sketches from the computer onto canvass?
I don’t mean to sound like a geek, but it involves a series of math that I have to do. There’s a tool in Photoshop under the analysis menu called record measurements, where you can record each pixel. I lasso one row of pixels and it tells me how many pixels it is. Let’s say it measures 256px across in Photoshop and my actual canvass is 55.5 inches wide. I’d divide the two numbers; find out how big each pixel is, and then make custom rulers out of tape that equal those measurements. I make an x/y axis and cover the piece in tape - I don’t grid it out in pencil. I use an x-acto to cut the lines out on the x/y axis, pull it out, and paint it in. Eventually, I got to the point where I was making them like a manual screen-print, I would see where the color would be and paint huge blotches to save me a lot of time. It’s all math.
Wouldn’t it be easier to use a projector?
The lines wouldn’t be perfect because all types of weird shit can happen to lenses since they can get bumped or curved.
Is it true that you found out about the horror film you were in, Bad Biology, from craigslist?
That’s a lie. This girl I was hooking up with at the time had this TV show on the style network and was friends with the rapper R.A. Thornurn who was the produer and co-writer of Bad Biology and I knew of him since I was doing hip-hop music at the time, believe it or not. Anyways she asked me if I wanted to audition and I thought I’d give it a try even though I didn’t really think I’d get it, but I ended up getting the role which was cool.
What was your rapper name?
Chief Sneed. I’ve had like 7 different names and they’re all bad.
Did you take all of your rap offline?
Hell yeah. You can actually find some beats I produced for a record that we put Jay Z vocals over - which everyone and their mother has already done. Rob Swift from the X-ecutioners did all the cuts on it, which is cool. It’s called Native American Gangster because the vocals were taken from the American Gangster record that Jay Z did and the fact that I’m a quarter Cherokee Indian. My family lives on a reservation in North Carolina.
David Young V is on a mission. Shuttling between two studio spaces in the Tenderloin district of San Francisco— frequently in the dead of night—he engages in the business of recovering fragments from a future world. To hear him speak about the tomorrow he foresees; a world of zealots, martyrs, psychotic orphans and armed bike couriers, one is reminded of Mad-Max… if it had more military training and dabbled in cryptography and linguistics. The hard edged, high contrast, near religious iconography of David’s new work is an encrypted enigma, gnashing it’s teeth at you, challenging you to decipher it. It wants you to look hard. Maybe it will tell you…if you make an effort. — Shaun Roberts
D Young V, Are you actually the fifth David in your family?
Yeah, my father is David and it goes back five generations, but it got restarted, so it really goes back about
eight people. The original David Young III got killed so his brother named his son after this guy. So the son became the first in my line.
Were there a lot of creative people in the Young family line?
No, there wasn’t a lot of artistic people in my family.
Then how did you get involved in art?
It’s all I really know, I’ve been doing art for so long...I’ve always wanted to do it. I’ve been doing it my whole life and I never want to stop. I was always drawing on the backs of my papers and on tests during class. I loved free drawing sessions, I always had fun in art class. I never really liked art projects, I always just liked drawing whatever I wanted to draw. Honestly I don’t think I was ever that good at it, but I just enjoyed it.
I didn’t decide to take it seriously until I was in college, I didn’t even know what a fine artist was but if it let me do anything I wanted to do, then I’ll try to be a fucking fine artist.
What was your work like back then?
Well when I was 18 I was doing these Micron pen drawings but they were totally different in nature, they were much more intricate than the work I do now, and they were more fantasy based. After that, I really got into abstract art using charcoals as well as murals. I was really into de Kooning, Pollock, Basquiat, Picasso, Braque, Kandinsky and other 20th Century Abstract art. I was obsessed with that for a number of years and I was just continually making abstract work.
Ryan De La Hoz interviews Nick Mann aka Doodles. His show Astral Rise is running now at Gallery Heist here in San Francisco through July 23rd. Travel, train hoping, spiritualism, murals, paintings, and this summer he'll be traveling across the US on an artistic and spiritual project under the title Crystal Eyes.
I'm Nick Mann, I live and work in Oakland, CA when I'm not traveling. I'm
currently 23 years old.
RD: Can you describe your path to being an artist? When did you really get
I got into visual art through playing music and growing up in the Pacific
Northwest. I've been playing guitars since I was 10. Painting has
channeled some of the same creative visions/moods that I previously
expressed through music. After I had slowed down my post-high school
musical output, I wanted to change my creative process. Painting and
drawing both indoors and outdoors gave me room to breathe artistically. I
really got into making visual artwork probably around the age of 19.
RD: Describe your ideals and how they manifest in your work.
My ideals are to live a balanced, well-traveled life in harmony with our
universe and mother earth. I think that it's important to let our creative
visions grow and be open to change. When we put a block on these visions or
translate them into symbols of what's hip and safe, problems arise within
our souls. My work is made through a process of intuition and mistakes.
Through this intuitive process, each piece has potential to develop and grow
on its own. Once I finish a piece, I look at it as a manifested symbol of
my subconciousness at any specific moment or phase in my life. Upon the
completion of a piece, I am also able to rationalize its meaning and
relevance to our universe. The best art speaks a universal language that
communicates to beings of every culture in and out of this world. A
balanced, holistic life is contingent on listening to our subconscious side
while coupling it with rational insight. This dichotomy is illustrated
universally with Lunar (female) and Solar (male) energies.
RD: Is music a part of your studio time? What do you listen to?
Recently: Big Blood, Michael Gira, Thou, John Fahey, Michael Hurley, Des
Ark, Godspeed, Diane Cluck, Sun Ra, Blind Blake, American primitivist guitar
music, world music. I play guitar on breaks from painting.
Via Wiki: Gary Baseman (born 1960) is a contemporary artist who works in various creative fields, including illustration, fine art, toy design, and animation. He is the creator of the Emmy-winning ABC/Disney cartoon series, Teacher’s Pet, and the artistic designer of Cranium, a popular board game. Baseman’s aesthetic combines iconic pop art images, pre- and post-war vintage motifs, cross-cultural mythology and literary and psychological archetypes. He is noted for his playful, devious and cleverly named creatures, which recur throughout his body of work.
Interview By: Daniel Rolnik - daniel[at]fecalface.com
How hands on were you with the actual animation of “Teacher’s Pet?”
I was the creator, executive producer and production designer on “Teacher’s Pet.”
During the series and the feature film, I was there every day working with my wonderful crew. Originally, I drew and painted the original characters, backgrounds, etc., to establish the look and feel of the series. Then I oversaw my amazing team of artists to follow and execute the episodes. I worked closely with my director Tim Bjorklund who wanted to make sure the series looked like my hand-painted work, so all the backgrounds were painted on canvas. Tim was an amazing animator. I am not an animator. Our storyboard artists, timing directors, etc. created a template and we sent them oversees to our talented animation studios, who would sent over rough animation. We edited, recorded, and produced music and dialogue here in the States. Does that answer your question?
How does an artist pitch a cartoon to a network?
When I started back in the ‘90s, Nickelodeon actually came to me asking if I had any interesting ideas for an animation series. I lied and said yes, then came up with a dozen ideas to pitch. We actually made two fully animated pilots for the same series “Louie n Louie,” but unfortunately, they weren’t picked up. Then I did decided at that point (after doing well in illustration) that I would concentrate on pitching for TV shows and moved back to LA from New York, where I got an agent who got me meetings with TV executives. How do you pitch a series? You sing and dance and put your heart on your sleeve. Cartwheels help too.
What’s your favorite weird movie?
Does it have to have “weird” in the title? Is “Memento” weird? I love that movie. I love how it is set up and how it is played out. I often feel like the main character in Memento.
Do you often sketch out everything you are going to paint ahead of time or do you leave room for improvisation?
No. I don’t like to sketch things out. I need to feel spontaneous, vulnerable, and organic when I create. The last thing I want to do is work everything out and just follow through. That said, I draw in my sketchbook all the time. I work through my themes in my sketchbooks, but I only use them as an emotional template. So I put ideas down and see what stays with me. But I don’t usually paint those images directly on canvas. In fact, I have about 50 sketchbooks that have been archived recently, made since I moved back to LA in 1997.
5 years ago we first learned of Josh Keyes work - not sure how, but when we saw it, we loved it. A studio visit later and we were certain. Josh's work is brilliant, precise, thoughtful and timely. We've kept up with his successful career, showing across the US and beyond, as the years passed. He's a master in his own time, and we're very pleased to open his solo show Magician's Garden @FFDG on April 7th (7-10pm). If you're unaware, here's a little taste to fill you in on what you've been missing.
Writhing - 30"x40"
Writhing (detail) - 30"x40"
What can viewers expect from your upcoming show at FFDG in San Francisco opening April 7th?
The four new paintings and graphite drawings I am working on for the show touch in a satirical way on the delicate and controversial subject of genetically enhanced and modified plants and organisms. The subject raises serious issues about the long term implications of corporate modified products intended to both enhance and streamline products designated for mass consumption. Monsanto along with other companies are producing both products and organisms that have already been introduced into the environment and are causing major disturbances in ecosystems worldwide. The fear is that these genetically engineered plants and organisms will have a devastating and irreversible effect on the natural balance in these living systems. I have taken a few of these ideas to an eco-surrealist and absurdist extreme.
Waking - 30"x40"
Your work obviously focuses on the juxtaposition of the decay of modern society/ its potential demise and the animal world. What are your feelings toward our society as of now? Do you foresee a collapse? Are you frightened or concerned about an environmental or man made end of our societies and/ or man?
I have mixed feelings about the state of the world and our future. The balance between our ability to sustain or destroy all life on Earth is a condition and mindset we have adapted to since the invention of the atomic bomb, and now with the threat of catastrophic oil spills and what has become very clear the dangers of nuclear power. I think the crisis in Japan though originally caused by the tsunami is a loud awakening that there are certain technologies that we are still learning to control, and in this case it seems clear that we should step away from the path to reliance on nuclear power. At the root is the power of corporations, driven by profit and not by that which is both good for the environment and in this instance safe for all living organisms. The film Gas Land touches on this very well. I am speaking about alternative environmentally safe sources for generating power, like solar, wind, and water. I have serious doubts if we will see this kind if change happen in the US anytime soon, as we are witnessing the rise of the right wing and the growing influence of the tea party movement, and the fall of the power of individuals and the rights of unions. I am terrified, just today the federal funding for NPR was cut, all I can do is try to pay attention, be active where and when I can, and vote. Though they make me mad as hell, I do find listening to progressive left wing radio stations both liberating and encouraging, and that there is a large majority of people out there who want to see a real change in this country and not towards the extremist right.
Getting back to the point, in reality the world will die with the sun, I am sure by then we will have found another planet or two to call our new home. In the meantime, with the environmental crisis escalating and civil wars breaking out all over it feels like the world is having a mid life crisis. This could just be the fact that the Internet and viral sharing of information is at a level the world has never seen or witnessed before. The ripple effect is stronger now than ever before, its like the video footage of birds swarming and flying in undulating masses, that’s a metaphor for the virtual world mind, it flows and moves and is directed by emotion. It’s the cerebral cortex of the world, and its beautiful, seeing the exchange of information and thoughts on a global level gives me hope. Except for the viral buzz surrounding Charlie Sheen, someone should help him unplug and get onto the therapists couch. So when a catastrophe occurs we are virtually enveloped by it, it is amplified and then the news stations quickly turn it into a Hollywood production and mythologize it. This is the structure of how future events will play out in the public sphere. I find it interesting to compare different news stations and study how they deliver and filter the same information. That is why again with the attempted muffling of NPR we cannot allow FOX News to emerge as the sole source of world news. I tend to listen to a lot of audio books while I work and have been turning more and more Orwell, Aldous Huxley, and Naomi Klein and others who address issues of the adverse effects of the balance of power related to profit, progress and production. At the moment I am both horrified and ecstatic about the events in the world, revolutions, uprisings, natural and man made disasters, on and on. I keep waiting for a moment to catch my breath but I think those days are gone. I am however hopeful on the level of the green movement, and civil, and workers rights, there is a sense of coming together on a global level, and it will be interesting to see if the human population can organize and work together to influence and change the way certain governments and corporations operate to serve the interest of the many instead of an elite minority.
For those of you who claim size doesn't matter, you obviously have never met or seen the art of our latest Fecal Face feature, Jorge Rodriguez Gerada. He steadily gained momentum over the years both in the scale of his work and clarity of his craft. Originally from Cuba he relocated to the United States as a toddler. After a no doubtingly interesting and fascinating childhood he began taking his art causes to the streets.
It was in the early 90's with the art crew Artfux and Ron English, when he began crushing the streets, modifying street signs, developing "slap in the face" billboard campaigns, and using his art as a tool for the social consciousness and awareness. Since his pioneering days Jorge Rodriguez Gerada has expanded his artistic horizons, his geography and his ability to go big with incredibly photo realistic illustration on walls, streets and whatever medium he can get his hands on around the world.
In the words of a true poet Gerada says; "Charcoal fades away and becomes a memory, like the warmth after an embrace". With that in mind, Fecal Face is proud to bring you the boundless art and ideals of Jorge Rodriguez Gerada. - Manuel Bello
“Identity/David/London” 24’ x 16’ London England 2009
Tell us a little bit about your personal and artistic background.
I come from a Cuban exile family that moved to the States when I was three years old. I grew up in North Plainfield, New Jersey and moved into Manhattan when I was 19. I became one of the founders of the New York City culture jamming movement with the group Artfux. We were altering a lot of billboards and did a good amount of guerrilla art actions. By 1997 I stopped working with collectives and started to experiment more with urban semiotics by altering street signs as well. In May of that year I was interviewed by Naomi Klein for a Village Voice article that was later included in her book “No Logo”. Unlike my previous direction, I was purposely avoiding names and logos that have been engraved in society through advertising. I became disillusioned with the culture jamming movement because some of the major players involved at the time began using it as a stylistic device for personal media attention. It became apparent that it was just part of their marketing plan to sell a clothing line or toy line later in their careers.
“Terrestrial/Expectation” 340’ x 260’ Barcelona Spain 2008
“Identity/Tina/Ljubljana” 52’ x 30’ Ljubljana Slovania 2009
Wasn't going to write an intro for Ron English because if you're here at Fecal Face you should already be well aware of this iconic artist. If you need to know, read his bio below.
Thanks to Daniel Rolnik (danielrolnik[at]@gmail.com) for conducting this great interview for Fecal Face.
One of the most prolific and recognizable artists alive today, Ron English has bombed the global landscape with unforgettable images, on the street, in museums, in movies, books and television. English coined the term POPaganda to describe his signature mash-up of high and low cultural touchstones, from superhero mythology to totems of art history, populated with his vast and constantly growing arsenal of original characters, including MC Supersized, the obese fast-food mascot featured in the hit movie “Supersize Me,” and Abraham Obama, the fusion of America’s 16th and 44th Presidents, an image widely discussed in the media as directly impacting the 2008 election. Other characters carousing through English’s art, in paintings, billboards, and sculpture include three-eyed rabbits, udderly delicious cowgirls and grinning skulls, blending stunning visuals with the bitingly humorous undertones of America’s Premier Pop Iconoclast.
How do you teach yourself other artist’s techniques?
Trial and error. I had a gig painting landscapes a long time ago at one of those production houses where they taught me a lot of techniques. I also worked for a few different artists, so I had to learn how to mimic their styles.
What artists did you work for?
I did some paintings for Rohhny Decone, Larry Rivers, Marcus Darvy. When I first moved to New York in the 80’s I was a ghost painter. Yeah, it’s a good job to work and you get paid.
Was it frustrating to be a ghost painter because people wouldn’t actually know it was you who was the painter?
Oh yeah. It’s funny because I always get what I wish for, but it’s kind of like the old genie in a bottle thing – I wish that I could have people see all my paintings and the paintings I would make [for those artists] would end up in museums, it’s true. I always forgot to ask “could I sign them” but it’s not really your thing. It’s like if you go on tour with the Rolling Stones and you’re the bass player, you’re not really in the band and you don’t think you’re in the band –maybe after 30 years or so you think you’re in the band like Ron Wood [guitar]. It’s funny because it’s someone else’s art, they’ve built their own language, and if you went to art school there’s a certain amount of that stuff that you can just do. Their art was more about their concepts and I did it because I wanted to learn a lot of techniques.
Would you purposefully choose to work with certain painters whose style your wanted to learn?
Well Mark was probably the ultimate situation because initially there were only 3 other painters working with me, but later there were like 40. Guys were coming in from Russia and Poland, people who were trained as master painters and knew all the technique. And even from day one Clark Decarro was a classically trained painter from Canada, so he showed me how to make glazes, but it’s interesting to do something with someone sitting right next to you and where you can say “Why is this not working” and they’ll be respond by saying “here’s what you’re doing wrong”. They’re all there with you and I think that’s the best learning environment - when you can’t overcome something and there’s someone to show you how to do it right there. There are always bumps in the road, eventually you can figure it out on your own, you can read books, there are a lot of things you can do. If you want to get somewhere you’re going to get there, but it’s always nice to have a set of directions.
Do you have assistants help you with your paintings?
I have two assistants. One assistant comes in one day a week and stretches the canvasses and the other guy pretty much does everything - like all those weird houses with the comics all over them that are in the paintings. He puts together the houses and then puts the comic book collages on them and then he’ll set up the shot. When we were at Art Basil last week painting a big mural he took lined up and shook all the spray paint.
It’s kind of like being a surgeon and saying “Hooker Green ASAP” it really allows you to move like a motherfucker because you just reach your hand out and somebody’s putting whatever you’re asking for in your hand instead of you having to find it and shake it.
I mean all that time it takes to do that stuff slows us down and the fact that they are doing all that for us is just amazing.
Do you do anything to your spray paint cans to get them to behave in a certain way?
Sometimes they put too much pressure in the cans, so you turn them upside down and relieve some of the pressure. If you turn them upside down it just sprays, it doesn’t release the paint. And, as soon as you’re done spray painting you turn the can upside down so paint wont dry in the tip and ruin it. It’s also good if you want to do fine lines to make the pressure [in the can] super low. You never quit learning, you just don’t.
Do you read books on new painting techniques?
One of my friends learned a lot of his techniques from reading books, but I’m just not much of a reader.
I caught up with Corey earlier this week and asked him a couple questions that hopfully aren’t duplicative and the one question that everyone who has seen it wants to know, “When can we get the DVD?” The film is multi-layered and while skating plays a central role in the film, if was replaced by, let’s say pogo-balling it would not have hurt the main content of the film. Although, it would have been pretty funny to see Steve Olson on a pogo-ball.
I have a film called Machotaildrop that is playing at the SF indie fest.
Where is the film playing?
The screening will be held at the Roxie theater.
Have you been here before?
I have been there a few times. We actually shot a small piece of the film there with Frank Gerwer. Who hopefully knows about the screening. He is a very hard man to get a hold of. Frank if you read this we would love to see you there!
Corey Adams photographed by Isaac Randozzi
I know you are sick of this question but it is all people want to know. When can we get our hands on a DVD of Macho Tail Drop? Or will it be in theaters before that?
Well we are hoping for both. I am learning that getting a film out for people to hold in their hands is a very difficult task when you don’t really own the entire film. Others have there hands involved so we are dealing with higher powers.
Heroes & Villains is a photographic portrait project by the photographers Tatiana Wills and Roman Cho that spotlights a wide array of innovative contemporary artists who drive popular culture today... The subjects include both well recognized and emerging artists within the world of alt comics, street, graffiti, painting and illustration. All the subjects have roots in emergent underground.
Interview by Daniel Rolnik (danielrolnik[at]gmail.com)
Gabrielle Bell by Tatiana Wills + Roman Cho
Mr. Cartoon by Tatiana Wills + Roman Cho
When did you start taking portraits of the artists for Heroes & Villains?
The Heroes & Villains project got started in Los Angeles around 2005. Roman Cho (my co-photographer) and I knew it would be a long-term project and turn into a book, but we weren’t quite sure who would be in it. We just knew who the first people would be and it just kind of snowballed from there.
I was photographing a lot of street artists prior to the project because they were friends of my husband, who was an avid collector of Sheppard Fairey’s work. I’d go with the artists on their missions and because my husband knew them they didn’t put up too much of a stink about me being there. I went to their houses, hung out, took some photos, and it developed into where I gained their trust and was able to take their portraits. Because the street-artists didn’t want their identity revealed, I would always reassure them I was just taking portraits for a personal project and I was going to keep them to myself for now.
As time went on, Roman Cho and I were looking for personal work to do because I wanted to shoot more portraits but couldn’t find the time. Roman was assisting photographers and I was a pretty busy lady working full time at a day job as well as freelancing. We had worked together before when I was at an ad agency and we complimented each other’s strengths and weaknesses. We felt that working with another photographer would motivate us more to finish the project. He initially thought of photographing comic book artists to compliment my portraits of street-artists, but we started to notice there was an overlap between the styles that was indefinable.
Like David Choe?
And Travis Miller, Jordan Crane... it was LA, it was a particular niche of artists all hanging out and doing their thing.
I actually ended up working with David Choe for a very brief time. He had a comic book for sale at an ice cream shop that I used to take my daughter to. My husband and I bought it and brought it back to the agency where we worked. The creative director loved it and hired Choe to illustrate something. I don’t know if he ended up working with them much more than a day. It was most likely his first and last foray working for the man. That was in 2004, a really interesting time because street-art was getting co-opted by movie studios who were trying to do subversive ad campaigns. It became pretty clear that the street-art movement was starting to get a lot more attention. I certainly wasn’t there at the beginning of any of this happening, but I was for sure at the right place at the right time to explore it to the fullest.
Fresh off his first solo show in NYC, 'THIS CITY WILL EAT ME ALIVE', this Australian transplant and aerosol wizard, Kid Zoom, answers a few our questions to get a lil' better perspective on how this young talent ticks.
Ron English called him Rembrandt with a Spray Can... He's damn talented.
How has the transition to NYC from Australia been so far? How long have you been in the States?
I moved over in May. The transition has been amazing, the winter is taking a little adjusting, but it's been a great experience, I feel really at home in New York.
Why are Australians so cool?
We have a culturally ingrained system of ego destruction called tall poppy syndrome, which basically cuts anyone who's head rises above the crowd off at the knees. It helps keep us all pretty down to earth, but it's a blessing and a curse, especially when you're in a creative field.
How do you feel about Ron English giving you such a glowing recommendation? That's got to feel pretty good.
Ron has been someone I've looked up to for a long time and to have him be so supportive of my move to New York and of my work has been amazing and very surreal.
What celebrity's vagina would you like to photograph posed with one of your sculptures?
Very good question!! But somehow I can’t find an answer to this, strange isn't it? It might be the reason that I don't search I just find.
Where's the best surfing spot you've encountered?
For me it is the north coast of Spain, between France and Portugal.
The irregular coastline gives many different kinds of beaches. Every evening I decide the best beach for the next day by looking at the wind and wave forecast. I drive to this beach with my van and the first thing in the morning after waking up is surf. Spain is the only south European country where it is legal to sleep at the beach in your car. I never go to Mundaka though…
How do you convince beautiful women to pose naked?
I don't believe in convincing. I just work with women that like and enjoy to be naked. I’m also interested in wired, non-fashion, non-porn and politically incorrect photos.
Anthony Ausgang is one of the original godfathers of Low Brow art. Most of you
will recognize his recent painting for MGMT’s record cover Congratulations. He is a
master of painting psychedelic cats, and was a trailblazer in artistic method - he was
doing improved art (painting over already famous paintings) well before Banksy and
his reworking of Monet.
Interview by Daniel Rolnik
In life do you prefer to own cats or dogs?
I prefer to own cats since they use a litter box, unlike dogs that need to go out
on “walks”, a process that should be more accurately termed “shits”… Nevertheless, I
appreciate dogs and enjoy their idiotic enthusiasms.
Who is your favorite dub artist to listen to while you paint?
I mostly listen to different online stations so the mixes are always different. These days I
have been listening to Sir Coxson Sound, Twilight Circus, BLOOD, Alien Dread, Yabby
You, Sound Ministry, Mentor Kolectiv, Dublab, just a whole mess of weird stuff. There
are a few strange stations that play “Ethnodub”, a hybrid dub from India and other off
beat places featuring Jahtari Riddum Force, ah Seal, Zomby, Jah Batta & Bullwackies All
Stars, Ustad Sultan Khan & Sunidhi Ch, Kid Gusto, Sanchez Dub and Phat Boy Singh.
You use photoshop to manipulate your sketches before you paint them. Once you
finish your process in photoshop how do you transfer that image onto your canvass?
Are you working with Photoshop CS 5?
First off I just wanna say that I seldom try out color combinations on the computer, I
prefer to work with “real” colors in “real” light. Anyway, I print out the line drawing
then project it onto the canvas with a large opaque projector. I use Photoshop CS5 or CS2
depending on what computer I’m using.
No computer used in the making of her collage; pure scissors, glue and a lot of patience. Intense work from this Glasgow based artist. We love it, and Jessica emailed her a few questions to get some insight into this talent whose works takes on avergage 25 hours to produce... She's also available for commissions. Wink wink.
Tell us a little bit about yourself, Age? Location? Hometown?
Name: Lola Dupre, Age : 28, Location, between several locations in Scotland, my main studio is in Glasgow and I also work and live in two remote studios in the far north of the country.
I consider Glasgow my home town, but I was born in Algeria. And spent my childhood in Paris France and London England.
Have you always created collage-based works? What was your early work like?
I have always created collage, since I was 9 or 10. But I spent most of my teenage years experimenting with papier-mache and this was my real initiation into photomontage. With papier-mache I made 3D forms, the surface of which was composed of many pieces of paper stuck down upon paper. I was always very interested in this accidental photomontage and it led me to my first experiments towards the photomontage style that I do today.
I’m so curious about your process - it looks like you must use multiple prints of the same image. Can you tell us about your process, how long it takes?
Indeed, I use multiple prints of the same image, printed on (typically) A4 and A3 paper. And I also generally print a few different crops of the same image, so that when they are combined in one piece you have several sizes which can be manipulated together.
The process itself of mapping out, and sticking down each individual piece does take a long time, I guess my average working time would be between 20 and 30 hours per image.
Using the right glue, brushes and scissors you can get pretty quick, and with a bit of practice you dont smudge any glue.
If you think of some of Jean-Paul Goude's work with Grace Jones, this is what I do, just with more pieces.
Mark Mulroney opens a solo show at Ever Gold here in SF this Thursday, Dec 2nd. Jamie Alexander from Park Life conducted this short interview which includes a general sampling of Mark's work.
PR: We are proud to announce Mark Mulroney’s second show at Ever Gold Gallery, “I’m Trying Really Hard.” It will be a show of reasonably tasteful works that address contemporary issues such as malnourishment and decorative pumpkin carving --> Mulroney is represented by Mixed Greens Gallery in NYC and Ebersmoore Gallery in Chicago. He has also shown in Copenhagen at V1 Gallery, National Gallery of Art in Warsaw, The San Diego Museum of Contemporary Art, and Park Life in San Francisco --> He currently lives and works out of Rochester, NY.
Buffalo sounds like a really amazing place, how does it inspire
artistically and otherwise?
Buffalo is a fine place indeed but I live in Rochester also known as Rock
City or Smugtown USA, although since the riots in '64 and factories closing
down a lot of that smugness has worn off. Living here has been quite an
adjustment but it has been good for me. I don't see any other artists and
I don't go to any shows. It is pretty hard to get caught up in all the petty
competition when you just sit in your room and work. Also minor league
baseball is the greatest thing ever. My wife and I pack sandwiches and ride
our bikes to the Rochester Redwings games.
Glen Friedman is showing works from two of his books, Fuck You Heroes and
Fuck You Too, at the 941 Geary Gallery in San Francisco starting tomorrow night, Nov 6th.
These photos have been touring the world for the better part of a decade and half,
and so they’ll be familiar to many of you already. The point of the show, then, may
not be to see these photos for the first time, but to see them again and be reminded
of why they’re so firmly a part of this culture (skateboarding, punk rock, hip hop)
that we love so much. Additionally, we’ll get to see some of Friedman’s
collaborations with Shepard Fairey.
In advance of the opening, this Saturday, November 6th, I spoke with
Friedman over the phone (after an elaborate ritual by which I contacted his
publicist, who then e-mailed Glen my contact information, who then called me from
his blocked number—a level of secrecy and intense concern for privacy I’d never
experienced before [maybe I’ve been interviewing the wrong people so far?]). What I
took away from our talk was part awe at an inarguably legendary photographer (one
whose work I personally admire and find greatly inspiring), and part confoundment
due to Friedman’s lack of humility and his bitter disdain for art he dislikes and for
any criticism of those he holds in high esteem.
In short, during our brief chat, Friedman lived up to every expectation I’d
held; every anecdote of pompousness seemed to me truer after having spoken to
him, but likewise, my appreciation of his doggedness and artistry was also more
actual and, in a way, deserved. At the end of it, the idea was only reinforced that
there’s no true answer to the question of art vs. artist. Whether or not art can be
separate from its creator, we live in a world of copyrighted images and brand names,
and our discussion of a work of art takes place within a framework of context and
intent. Regarding something and being able to appreciate it based purely on
aesthetic grounds is noble and maybe the only true measure of its value as art, but
our valuations remain colored by our own biases. But still, but still, Glen Friedman
has made some of the most beautiful and important and inspiring images of the past
30 years. They’re even in the Smithsonian.
Anyhow, here’s the first part of the interview. Take from it what you will.
To begin, and in a garbled and uninformed way, I asked Glen if there would be
any new photos in the show, or what, if anything would be different from past
exhibits of his Fuck You… works.
GF: There will be two new photos added at the last moment, that I literally took this
month, or in October, two photos that I took that I thought were pretty cool, to show
people that I’m still doing it sometimes.
AT: Are these skate and music photos as well?
GF: They’re just music photos. I have been shooting skating stuff as well, but I didn’t
put one of those in the show. I just liked the music stuff. One of the music shots
[was] this really young band that I don’t even know what to make of them at this
point, but I had a really good time at the show so I shot some photos and I got a
picture that I think is my favorite photo of the year, or one of them anyway, so I
figured I should put it in the show because it’s so bad ass.
*Vancouver based Lucas Soi opens Cradle Stories at The Shooting Gallery in SF on Saturday, Oct 9th. Niall spoke with Lucas and touched on his working method, living and working in Vancouver and how the work in Cradle Stories focuses on suburban teenagers and the dark undertones prevalent.
There’s this excerpt from Life After God by Douglas Coupland that comes to mind when I think about Cradle Stories.
Coupland grew up on the North Shore, and now lives in the same neighborhood as you in West Vancouver: “It was the life of children of children of the children of the pioneers - life after God - a life of earthly salvation on the edge of heaven.”
Oh cool. Growing up in West Van is crazy. It's great, but you definitely grow up with a warped sense of reality; you're totally ignorant to how other people live. It's this weird combo of beach town and retirement community. The only people you find in West Van are babies, teens, MILFs and old people.
The drawings in Cradle Stories depict events in the lives of privileged suburban teens, often in the safety of their own homes. The images have very dark undertones. Are you commenting on the Millennial Generation’s self-destruction?
I think being young, you're closer to conception than to existence. Meaning you're really closer to death than life. If you're fourteen years old, surrounded by your parents who are, say, triple you’re age, you're closer to "just being born" than to "everyday life". So destruction, which is a kind of creation in reverse, is closer to your understanding, maybe? When you're growing up you're always looking backwards, comparing what you can do now to what you couldn't do before. There's not a lot of forward thinking, no matter how many adults are helping you navigate the way. So maybe the darkness that you see in these drawings is just the connection all youths have to that unknown place where we come from, and where we go when we die.
This November, sculptor Jud Bergeron and painter Joe Sorren will unveil eight new bronze sculptures, created in collaboration, by the two noted artists. The show entitled “Interruption” will be at California State University Fullerton’s Grand Central Art Center (GCAC), in Southern California, then will travel to Sorren’s hometown in Northern Arizona.
The exhibition opens at Grand Central Art Center on November 6, 2010 and runs through January 8, 2011, then will be presented by Flagstaff Cultural Partners at the Coconino Center for the Arts, Jan. 22 through Feb. 25, 2011.
We recently had a chance to do a quick interview with Jud Bergeron about the works presented in the show through email.
Blob creatures viewing geometric forms as if in awe of them. Can you explain how those came to be? Which one of you both was responsible for what in the works?
Joe came to my studio in NY 3 times and each time we would just make stuff, sometimes ceramic figures that we would pass back and forth until we liked them, sometimes wax figures that we would cast in bronze, just stuff. Joe would go back to AZ and we would talk everyday and send hundreds of phone pics and the work just sort of evolved. It became a call and response sort of thing, I would think of strange situations to put these figures in and then we would change the idea a hundred times until we hit on what felt right.
Feeling of helplessness or giving over to a higher and cleaner form Sitting back and taking it all in. These characters, how would you describe their milieu?
I would say that the 'higher power/helplessness' feeling you are sensing is probably a function of where we were in our personal lives at the time. When we started working my son (Fletcher) was around 6 months old and I was still coming to terms with being a new father. Also, the country was in shambles and the art market had just taken a nose dive so there was this feeling of 'oh shit! How am I going to support this family?' Joe had things going on in his life as well and we were not only creating art together but it seemed like we were counseling one another as well. I would describe these figures in the most basic sense, they are dealing with their environment. We really wanted these pieces to be truly sculptural in nature yet still maintain the narrative that is so prevalent in painting and in doing so what we ended up with were these environments or situations that these figures inhabited and the goal was to create beautiful pieces that left the viewer with questions and a smile.
Johnny Ryan's utterly unpretentious taboo-tackling is an infectious and hilarious bombardment of political incorrectness, taking full advantage of the medium's absurdist potential for maximum laughs. In an age when the medium is growing up and aspiring to more mature and hoity-toity literary heights, Ryan builds on the visceral tradition that cartooning has had on our collective funny bone for over a century. Johnny was born in Boston, Massachusetts and grew up in shitty Plymouth, just a mile away from the Pilgrim Nuclear Power Plant. He now lives in Los Angeles with his wife.
"Generally speaking, [Johnny Ryan's] comics are really dumb & infantile, and prove beyond a doubt that chemical pollution, television, video games, pop music, etc. is making us all stupider by the minute..." – R. Crumb
Shalo P is a SF based audio-visual artist who recently exhibited a selection of 14 drawings at Ever Gold Gallery coinciding with the recent release of his self-published “LOVE IS SUCH A DANGEROUS GAME”. The zine, containing work created in a two year period chronicles memories, longing and catastrophic situations in post-modern copy/past collage fashion. They're meticulously wild drawings and really deranged ones at that. The zine comes in two limited versions and are available at the Ever Gold as long as supplies last. It's an absolute gem, so make sure you get yourself a copy. It’s probably the best $8 I’ve ever invested. -Alex Braubach
AMB: I’ve known you since our school days at SFAI and had plenty of opportunities to see your work evolve in the past years. It’s really interesting to see how you have developed from "The Tormentors" paintings you exhibited at Meridian Gallery years ago to what your up to with your video-based performances at New Langton and elsewhere. Your current show at the Ever Gold is an exhibit of drawings. It’s like you’ve come full circle with “Love Is Such A Dangerous Game”. Please describe your current work, the drawings, and how they relate to your previous work.
SP: The work is a barrage of symbols and signs. It’s dense stuff that also seems fit to just be “in the moment”, not only as some mutilation of the bizarre nature of things but also embracing the ways of seeing to varying degrees. You know, as drawings, comics strip and other visual forms. My current works are like celebrations to living at the start of a very weird age.
My conceptual framework hurtles into these different directions and they always seem organic and mine. I’m producing floorshows and farewell concerts with the FRIENDSHIP FRIENDS FOREVER (rainbow band), making videos under the TELEVISION FOR GHOSTS / 2084 FLOORSHOW umbrella, and making images that relay the totemic themes behind all the other work. I shuffle around in formats but the big difference is how close they are to me, personally.
Before I moved to SF I was just a writer, and words just made so much sense to me. Then they seemed phony, manipulative and limited in a world with hypertext in it, a world with so much goddamn subtext to what was lurking under in it’s big storm of changes, in its unconscious birthing of memes. Words were meaningless in the face of the connections between them, in the changing face of how books were produced, in the questions concerning the changes in information retrieval itself. This was big to me - the new ways of experiencing “stuff”, from how we communicated these changes to the part that images play with culture and memory. So I went from writing dialogues to making data maps.
Then I got into imagery again, especially the Medusa, the representation of the incomprehensible. That’s what got me into The Tormentors – relationships - the walls between things breaking down. It was car crashes. Have you ever seen one? It's like that Raymond Carver story "Popular Mechanics", it's a raw moment of chance and horrible corrupted beauty. Things change irrevocably. Well, the drawings... They're my landscape of these feelings - the innate vile beauty of car crashes, the taste of sweat, the medusa's gaze, sexual fantasies, self representation, time and memory - that whole gag. What's the personal side of a good sinner?
AMB: Freddy Krueger.
SP: Hey man, are you going put some cool hyperlinks?
For the last 20 years or so there has been a bad seed growing in the Portuguese city of Lisbon. They call him Pedro Matos. Growing up he was heavily influenced by skateboarding and graffiti which was running rampant in Portugal during the early 2000's. Please don't let the graffiti monicur confuse you. Over the years Pedro Matos has developed one of the cleanest and most well refined illustration styles I have seen in quite a time. His fusion of masterful illustration and streety grime seems to breath new life into this often overused process. This undeniable photo realistic skill Pedro possesses is quickly getting him the notoriety he deserves. Keep your eye on this guy, he is just getting started at the ripe age of 20 years old. -Manuel Bello
Can you describe your childhood?
I was born in Santarém, Portugal and moved to Lisbon one year later. I grew up in a middle-class suburbs on the south side of Lisbon. I remember feeling like a bit of an outsider as a kid. I started getting involved in graffiti and skateboarding and hanging around in the street with my friends and creating all sorts of different things. I have also been very lucky and had many opportunities to travel beginning at a very young age.
Where does Pedro Matos currently reside?
I currently live near the Beach in the south side of Lisbon (Caparica) but I have my studio in the centre of Lisbon where I spend most of my time.
Cute cute cute is what Southern California based Natlia Fabia's latest show (opened July 10th @Corey Helford) is all about. If you leave the show with a warm fuzzy feeling in your belly than Natlia is happy with the outcome of her years worth of intense work on "Fashionable Aftertaste Without End". The recent Art Center graduate is inspired by all things Kawaii (ie, Japanesse word for over cute) and completely obsessed with yoga... This is when she isn't painting which, obvious after viewing her work, she must spend countless hours doing to gain this level of skill.
Fecal Face: Tell us a little bit about your current show at Corey Helford.
My new show is inspired by all things Kawaii and my love for Japan. Kawaii is a Japanese term that means supreme saturated cuteness, delicious adorable things. When I see something that is Kawaii, I get a warm feeling in my tummy and I want it and must have it!
The show is very influenced by my trips to Japan. I love all the amazing fashions I saw there on the street. I love the toys, advertisements, food, charms, gardens and I love the people! The first time I heard the term “Kawaii” was when a girl on the street in Tokyo pointed at one of my heart candy tattoos on my arm and said, “kawaii, kawaii!!” I right away asked my friend who is studying in Japan what that meant, and I loved the idea of it. I have been working on this show for over a year now and I have never felt so strongly about paintings or a subject.
Tyson Reeder is a Chicago/ Milwaukee based artist that has shown extensively here in Chicago and abroad (Jack Hanley, Kavi Gupta, Actual Size LA, Daniel Reich, etc etc etc). Tyson's activities are seemingly unlimited, from painting, sculpture, and performance to basketball, making music, curating, and so much more. This week Tyson, along with his brother Scott and sister in-law Elysia, unleash the force/farce that is Club Nutz (the worlds smallest comedy club/ disco) this week at the MCA as part of the Here / Not There exhibition. Replete with dancing, jokes, dj's, videos, workshops, robots, performances, magic and boner sound effects. These people make art fun. -Ryan Christian
We love the work of this LA based artist and the fact that he plays "cornhole", can hardly hear out his right ear, searches for Chupacabras, and that he gets back forth to work in LA without driving his car.
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This day may have been inevitable, but now it's finally here. In its attempt to take over the world - or at least everything that can be bought and sold in the world, Amazon is launching an art gallery.
This summer Amazon is planning to launch a Fine Art Gallery where customers will be able to purchase original artwork offered by a select group of invited galleries via Amazon.com. ~continue reading
A new HBO documentary looks at the work of street artist JR, whose giant portraits force people in troubled areas to confront the humanity that's all around them... On the day JR found out he'd won the $100,000 TED Prize, the French pasteup artist found himself in China being questioned by police for doing his thing on the streets of Shanghai. ~continue reading
Street artist JR HBO documentary premiered yesterday, May 20th
Art lovers, collectors and gallerists will gather on Thursday for Hong Kong's inaugural edition of Art Basel, sealing the city's status as an international art hub and Asia's leading art destination... Hong Kong has surged to third place in the global art auction market behind New York and London and Western galleries are falling over each other to open franchises in the former British colony. ~continue reading
Wowzas, there's a lot of art happenings this weekend, and while you're making the rounds, be sure to stop at SFAI's MFA show Currency opening Friday, May 17th at the beautiful old SF Mint Building (88 5th Street).
SFAI's 2013 MFA graduates—working in painting, photography, printmaking, film, sculpture, installation, digital media, performance, and across media—will present work that embraces the Institute's signature spirit of experimentation and conceptual risk-taking.
Opening reception: Friday, May 17, 7–9 pm & running through Sunday 11-6pm daily. -- complete details
London based Pedro Matos opens the solo show Building Castles Made of Sand this Friday in Los Angeles at the Martha Otero Gallery featuring a new series of oil paintings on canvas and azulejo panels - a traditional Portuguese medium of hand-painted, tin-glazed, ceramic tile work.
San Francisco -- CCA opens their 2013 MFA Thesis Exhibition this Thursday, May 16th at their SF campus. Every year another graduating class produces steller work. One of the best SF art events worth getting to, but be sure to get there early as there's always a long line. ~details
Ryan De La Hoz' show in the Upper Haight at RVCA runs through this Saturday... And the next time you're in the Mission, be sure to swing through his new shop on 14th St, Cool Try... We need to get over there soon and do a little photo feature for ya.
The Book and Job Gallery (San Francisco) really stepped it up with the opening of Daniel Chen's loveBlast on May 4th. Complete with a doorman, piano player, old fashioneds, and some really nice paintings, I could hardly believe I was at the Book and Job. The paintings varied in size, and the show was balanced nicely between them, the spray-can work on the walls, and the smaller drawings displayed throughout. The kind notes Chen wrote on the walls are certain to brighten your day, and the rest of the work is definitely worth a look. It was a very classy evening and I hope they continue to intersperse shows like these into their schedule in the future
FFDG opened up the group show featuring original works by the artists of the world famous Skull & Sword tattoo last Friday here in San Francisco. Thanks to the huge crowd who turned out to support these four incredibly talented artists. Here is a taste of the show, and be sure to swing in to view in person. The show runs through June 8th.
Gary Baseman's retrospective "The Door is Always Open" at the Skirball in LA opened recently to massive crowds in a huge celebratory opening party. The exhibition is so complex and personal, delving into Baseman's background, family history, and all the layers of prolific work that he has done over the years. After the opening festivities winded down, I caught up with Baseman for an interview. We discussed the underlying meaning to some of the components of the show and how it felt for him, coming from such an honest personal perspective in putting this massive show together.
Fertile Menace, a new show of Mark Mulroney's (NY) work opened at Ever Gold on May 4th and it's not one to be missed. It is intelligently hilarious, with jokes riffing off sex, Foucault, and the body, and while it makes you laugh it's also going to make you think.
Our buddies Jay Howell, Andreas Trolf, and Jim Dirschberger are hyped as their show, which they've been working on for like 2 years, premieres on Nickelodeon Saturday. From the trailers we've seen so far and from what Jay has told us about, the show is going to be pretty epic. Congrats to those radical fellas.
Following his solo exhibition "The Collected" at Gallery Wendi Norris, painter Amir H. Fallah is in the throes of developing more new works for upcoming international exhibits. We spent some time in his studio in Highland Park, Los Angeles recently, discussing his process and inspiration.
We were first introduced to the photography of Spanish born NYC based Bubi Canal when he emailed us his great video Trust in Me a couple years ago. His solo show Special Moment recently ran at NYC's Munch Gallery in February, and he recently released his newest video Chrystelle below.
Although I missed the opening of Northern-California photographer Michael Garlington's newest show, Constructed Realities, I was fortunate enough to see the work still up during the Metaphysical fundraiser a couple weeks back at 111 Minna. Metaphysical fundraiser, an auction to benefit Wayne Ernzer. --- The ghoulish photographs in their heavy, hand-made frames are reminiscent of photos from the old west, and the glass crucifixes, complete with fetuses and guns, emphasize the accumulated time within the works themselves. Whether you're looking at the frames, the photos, or both, this show deserves a visit, and a walk through the golden archway Garlington constructed around the front door.
Fecal Face contributor Rachel Ralph (rachel(at)fecalface.com) has been profiling this Oakland based painter as he travels about Japan. In this segment, we feature some photos as he prepared for this show and residency at Spes-LaB in Tokyo which opened last weekend. Arnold will be featured in SFMoMA's Minna Street windows on June 8th.
Last Saturday, here in SF's Mission district, Guerrero Gallery opened two new shows with Philly based Alex Lukas and SF based Richard Colman respectively. Colman's work occupied the project space while Lukas' work and foliage was presented in the main space. Worth getting to if you haven't already.
Just got back to SF after a little trip south to Sayulita, Mexico. After 10 years without a vacation, me and the Mrs. headed south for some mental time off sitting in the sun, swimming and enjoying the watery Mexican beer. Here are some photos as we get back into the swing of things again.
Athens, Greece based designer, architect and artist Dimitris Polychroniadis emailed over more of his work which consists of mixed media, pop-humorous diorama sculptures that make a comment on the harsh realities my country and much of the world is facing at the moment.
FFDG will open a group show with the artists from the famed Skull & Sword Tattoo on Friday, May 17th (6-9pm). Artists: Grime, Henry Lewis, Yutaro, and Lango. Below are a series of videos on Grime for Vice's Tattoo Age produced in 2011. Fascinating look at one of the greatest tattoo artists alive today.
ARYZ (Spain) opened his newest gallery show at Fifty24SF last Friday and, if you live in the Bay Area, you need to go. This dude can obviously paint, and he doesn't need an entire building to show his impecable skill. The show has lots of small works on paper which contrast his highly-defined line work to his hard-edged painted objects. The contrast between the hard and soft was the most striking thing to me about his work, since I had never seen it in person before, and the washes blend with the thick paint seamlessly. The show also contains a larger work on canvas, a huge head suspended in the back of the room, and a big wood sculpture of a wolf figure. This diversity in such a small space was impressive, and those of us that went to the opening even got to meet the man in person. If you didn't make it out this weekend, check it out before May 31st when it closes and these works will be off to some very happy new homes.
Water McBeer is please to announce its latest exhibition "Precious" a solo exhibition by David Bayus (April 6 - May 4, 2013) -- David Bayus born 1982 holds his BFA from the Savannah College of Art and his MFA from the San Francisco Art Institute. David lives and works in San Francisco and is a founding member of the basement collective. This will be his first exhibition with the world renown Water McBeer Gallery highlighting his most recent achievements with paint and digital media. David Bayus will be exhibiting 5 relatively large-scale mixed media works along with a collaborative object featuring Hungarian sculptor H.R KOONS.
The Shooting Gallery handed over the reins to the Red Truck Gallery (a New Orleans based gallery) which curated their new show, Hard Time Mini Mall and opened the it on Saturday night. This is my favorite show (so far) in the Shooting Gallery's new space and was packed full of art, a mini bar, and cowhide rugs. The Red Truck Gallery chose works with clear craftsmanship and it was easy to see in Ian Berry's denim assemblages and Chris Roberts-Antieau's awesome quilts. The space was completely packed, making it hard to see each piece individually, but this show deserves a second trip anyway. I look forward to spending more time with the chandeliers, automatons, and paintings before the show comes down on May 4th.
Toronto based photographer Nathan Cyprys emailed to let us know about his newest series "Neighbour State", and we were about to post it when we spotted this series on his site entitled "Ayre (of Distances)" and had to post this one instead. After you view this one, view "Neighbour State" on his site. Both are visually enjoyable.
Working from found photographs, Lyle's paintings are created through a reductive painting process where each piece is rendered using only black paint and turpentine. Lyle begins this process by priming a panel with white gesso. He then paints a thin, rich, oily black veneer over the primed panel, slowly and systematically developing his images by removing some of the black paint with a cloth. In doing so, Lyle renders layer upon layer of various values of black paint resulting in his signature-style of luminescent works.
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