Sunday, November 07, 2010

Forecast: Pink Albedo Thunderstorm

 Pink Albedo Thunderstorm. 2010. acrylic on canvas. 36 x 48 inches.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Threshold (Gathering)

Threshold (Gathering). 2010. acrylic on canvas. 30 x 40 inches.

Sunday, August 01, 2010

SOIL New Members Show

The Mountain. 2010. acrylic on canvas. 30 x 40 inches.

Terrarium (Hill). 2010. aquarium, plexi, acrylic, light. 12 x 10 x 20 inches.

More images and words from the show on SOIL's website.  Thoughts by Erin Shafkind here.

Temple of Vacuous Confidence

Temple of Vacuous Confidence.  2010. styrofoam, wood, cords, models, mirrors, paint.  6' x 12' x 1'

Earlier this year, ACT Theatre approached SOIL about commissioning SOIL artists to create window installations for their sidewalk windows.  I thought, "So, you'll PAY us to make art?!" That was a radical concept for me to understand, but after giving it some thought, I agreed that it made some sense.  Not having really made much sculpture before, I was excited to give it a whirl.  More info on the SOIL website here.  Each window represented a decade of American culture since the 1950's.  I had the 1980's...  Materialism, rabid consumerism, glitz-y exteriors without much content, Lamborghinis, speedboats, hot pink, etc.  On display through August 30 at ACT Theatre.

Monday, May 17, 2010

The Navigator

The Navigator. 2010. acrylic on canvas. 30 x 40 inches.

Monday, May 10, 2010

The Interloper

The Interloper. 2010. acrylic on canvas. 36 x 48 inches.

This one was previously posted, but I dragged it out of storage and fixed some things, vastly improving it.  Actually, the previous post showed it before I messed it up by over-painting it.  This post is a result of painting out those previous additions (not posted on the blog), and adding some other subtle changes that, to me, correct the balance.  I'd like to note that the title changed from the previous post to one that I think fits much better.  It's inspired by a comment my friend Michelle Witten made when I was working on it, referring to the big pink form, as if it had just crashed the party.  Everything else in the painting is like, "Who invited HIM?"

Sunday, May 02, 2010

Land of Suspended Belief

Land of Suspended Belief: Temple.  2010. acrylic on vinyl.  5 x 9 x 3.5 feet.

I posted a few images of this piece before, but wanted to post some better ones with an explanation of the process.  SOIL was invited to install a very large group show at the Seattle Design Center for 3 months, filling an otherwise empty 11,000 square foot space.  With a bunch of new members (myself included), we filled the space surprisingly easily.  I was excited to show a bunch of smaller plexiglas paintings for the first time, but I had heard that the space might offer some unusual opportunities for installations.  Once I arrived, I saw what was basically a huge empty frame in the middle of one of the larger rooms.  It was perfect for a large multi-layered vinyl painting, similar to the plexiglas ones, but much, much larger.  I had previously done a vinyl painting installation prototype at 2009 KAC REDUX event, and was eager to try it again.  This one would be more contained and viewable from both sides.

After preparing the ceiling and walls with the hardware to keep the vinyl evenly space, I started improvising the painting, one vinyl sheet at a time, painting on the floor.  Obsessed with temple forms and symbols, I built one that descended from its peak, down and out towards the viewer on either side.  The temple is surround by layers of flowers and exotic plants, threatening to eventually over-grow the supposed man-man structure.  The reference to the tower or temple has several meanings for me, mostly relating to ideas of faith, art, spirituality, and practice.  It seemed appropriate then, that I was on my knees for the duration of the painting, building the temple, mark by mark, layer by layer.

I've never made a painting that has two viewable sides.  It was really interesting to be making decisions about the foreground on one side, realizing it was going to become the background on the other.  It's also very satisfying to create illusion without really having to do so.  I can adjust the relative size of marks, color saturation, and value, but the space is actual.  Lighting this piece was definitely a challenge, as you can probably tell from the photos.  Without the proper lights in the right places, the space isn't nearly as effective.  The shininess doesn't bother me though.  I quite like the artificiality of the plastic, and its reference to consumer products.  After all, the SDC is basically a mall.

The show is up through May 28, and you can find more info at the SOIL website here.

Collaboration Land

 Glyphland. 2010. paper-mache, foliage, toothpicks, fimo, paint, glue on gatorboard glyph

A while back, Artist Troy Gua invited me to participate in a collaborative project between himself and a boat load of other local artists.  Inspired by the relationship between current simplifications of online text communication and the hieroglyphics of earlier civilizations, Troy designed and cut out individual and unique symbols or "glyphs" for other artists to complete.  Each symbol represents a collaborative relationship between the two artists,  and once finally installed at Monarch Contemporary, the individual glyphs formed a collective statement about sharing, community, and visual language.  The exhibit, "Meet Greet Rinse Repeat" just came down yesterday.

For my glyph (which arrived as a flat gator board cut-out), I wanted to go 3D.  I covered it with a paper-mache pulp, sculpting it into a series of rolling hills.  After putting on green turf, I built tiny bridges, towers, and viewing platforms out of toothpicks.  Then little fimo flowers and fluffy trees finished it off.  The result was "Glyphland". It was one of my first sculptures ever, and I wouldn't have made it without Troy's offer.   I'm very thankful to have been part of the project and I'm looking forward to many other collaborative projects this year...

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Animated Painting: At The Edge of Town

The painting:

 The video:

Months ago, I was contacted by Kyle, Joe and Alex from the music and art blog, Camp Revival, asking if I wanted to contribute something to their site.  It was the perfect opportunity to do something I had wanted to do for a while, but didn't really have the right equipment or reason.  I suggested animating the progress of a painting, mark by mark, accompanied by a later-to-be improvised soundtrack.  They were really enthusiastic about the idea and visited my studio to set up the camera and lighting, eventually leaving me with a blank canvas to fill.  As with most of my paintings, this one was entirely improvised, with no plan whatsoever.  It's always a thrill to embark on a new painting, not knowing where it will go or what it will look like, yet trusting it's eventual resolution. It was both exciting and strange thinking of an audience, not only for the final piece, but for the process as well.

And so it began, one splotch, then another, and then a steadily accumulating series of marks.  It's a very different experience to paint a mark and then step back behind a camera to snap a photo before paining the next mark.  The added step of the process slowed me down, making each mark very deliberate, yet it also tends to break the continuity and flow of mark-making that other paintings allow.  The strangest thing was to realize that someone would be watching these mark-by-mark decisions and I became aware of my painting process as performance.  There was definitely a push and pull between making decisions that were purely in the best interest of the painting, and making decisions that would be more entertaining to watch.  The possibility of a time-based narrative during the making of a painting (ala Wlliam Kentridge) was intriguing, but not something I went for.   I suppose that if there was a narrative through time, it would simply be about shooting into the dark and the discovery of where you end up.

Because the painting had been completely improvised, it made sense that the soundtrack would be too.  After figuring our the tempo of the frame rate, I played guitar to the beat, trying to follow and respond to the marks, musically.  I'm not sure which ended up weirder... the painting or the music.  It was also really interesting for me to combine two of the things I'm most passionate about.  It's something I've never had the motivation to connect before.

I also asked my friend, Andy Arkley if he would create a soundtrack for the painting.  Andy is a super-talented designer-animator-musician involved with two great bands, The Bran Flakes and Library Science.  Very graciously, he created his own soundtrack to the animation and I'm hoping to post a link to his version soon.

This was a really fun project to do, and I want to give my sincere thanks to Joe, Alex and Kyle for giving me the opportunity.  It was truly a pleasure to work with them.  Thanks!

Saturday, March 13, 2010


Some new plexi-paintings and a site-specific vinyl installation as part of SOIL at SDC (Seattle Design Center).  Thanks to Saya Moriyasu for the photos. More info to follow soon...