CreativPaper Interview

I've been interviewed for the latest issue of CreativPaper!! I thank them for their interest in my work and for graciously including me in their magazine, which can be seen here:
CreativPaper 03

There are a couple of questions and answers that were left out of the printed version of the interview (but will appear on their website), for issues of space.

One question they asked me that was left out of the magazine edit regarded whether I think art is more about the artist or the viewer and who I think it should be about. I did like this question and my response. I think it should be a little insightful to anyone who may happen to be interested in my work and outlook, so I've decided I may as well include it here:

I don’t really believe in “should” too much, where it applies to art. If there is a “should” that I believe in concerning art, it’s that it should be an honest expression. If you absolutely hate painting puppies with rainbows, but have made a career doing so solely for the sake of the viewer, because you think it will sell paintings, then I am not sure that is art.
Generally speaking however, when someone begins to preach about what they think art “should” be, my first reaction is an internal rolling of the eyes. I don’t see why it can’t be both really. I think both the viewer and the artist are integral.
I don’t think the artist’s intent can ever be totally separated from the art they have created because she/he has brought all their ideas, interests, obsessions, theories, life experiences, etc. and filtered it into that piece of art. That specific work would not exist were it not for that specific creator. However, I also think what the viewer brings to the work when they view it, is valid, even if it’s very different from the artist’s original intent. Especially with work that is not just a straightforward clinical representation of something. If the artist’s intent was to convey sadness, but a specific viewer sees the work and experiences contentment, who is to say that viewer is “wrong” in their interpretation? That was their valid impression, which was influenced by everything personal that he/she is bringing to the viewing of that work.
There have been many times when I have gone to a museum or gallery with someone who appreciates art, but is maybe a little less knowledgeable about art theory and art history. At first they are hesitant with offering their impression or thoughts on a piece because they are afraid of getting it “wrong”. I think that usually hinders the experience of the viewer. In these cases, when I have assured them that there is no right or wrong interpretation, you can see the whole experience become more fulfilling for them.
Personally speaking, I don’t really create my work with too much conscious concern about the viewer. Creating art, for me, is a very personal journey and is about my own self-expression. I try to create art that I personally like and believe is interesting. My work may never garner much recognition, or yield much in terms of the typical definitions of success; that won’t change my course. I don’t create art for the approval of others, I create because I must. I cannot live without creating my art. Obviously, I hope that people will agree and like my work in the end, and I experience disappointment if they don’t, but this is not in the forefront of my mind when I am creating it. When I am creating, it is the ideas and/or feelings that are within, that I am concerned with.
This however does not, in my opinion, negate the importance of the role of the viewer. I like to create work that is either open to interpretation by the viewer or conveys an overall feeling or emotional impression; or even work that is purely aesthetic. I prefer the viewer to be able to bring her/his experience and imagination to it. This is the kind of work I gravitate to most as a viewer myself, and what I like to create. I find it interesting when someone views a work of mine and their interpretation or their impression is radically different than the concept or emotions that were going on in my head when I was creating it. My reaction is usually one of “I never even thought of that”; a feeling of wonder, rather than a feeling of failure of intent.
I like duality and I like paradox. I believe that seemingly opposing ideas can coexist. I think art is multilayered and is many things at once. I don’t believe art should be either about the viewer or the artist, it can be both at once.

 

The Print Shop is Now Open

I have finally added a Print Shop section to my site. One can now check there to see if a print of any artwork on my site is currently available for purchase, as well as make a purchase. 

All prints are produced with archival pigmented inks. Payments are processed using a secure payment service provider. Limited editions come with a certificate of authenticity and are hand-signed by the artist with edition number. To see a complete list of policies, please go to: Policies.

Notes 1.10.17: Good Riddance, 2016

2016 was a shit year. There is no other way of putting it. I say this for personal reasons, as well as the events that unfolded in this country and around the world.

I try not to get political here. Therefore, I don't have too much to say regarding the disgusting treasonous racist misogynistic orange pile of walking talking excrement that was not elected by a majority, yet installed by the antiquated electoral college, to be president.

Except that is to say: could one ever in the past, have imagined a scenario in which an individual who is to assume the presidency of the United States, as well as a substantial segment of the populace, would show such a lack of care or concern over the clear and overwhelming evidence of foreign interference in an American election - our most sacred and fundamental institution?

This quote by John Adams seems to be the best way to sum up our current state of affairs:

“Remember, democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself. There never was a democracy yet that did not commit suicide”. – John Adams (1814)

I'll end my rant with the great speech by Meryl Streep at the Golden Globes:

#TrumpIsATraitor    #LoveTrumpsHate    #NotMyPresident    #NEVERMyPresident

 

On to other things...

Looking back on this past year, 2016 was a year of experimentation and development for me. Now that I've been through that, I'm hoping 2017 will yield more finished work. Among the many images I have in process, I have been revisiting some older images and reworking them. One of these reworks, Bare, is now completed.

Bare (detail)

Bare (detail)

The reworked version has been uploaded to the Various Works gallery. The previous version was more photographic, but I decided I would like to create a version that was a digital painting.

Bare (detail)

Bare (detail)

In this version, I was more interested in painting expressively and exploring texture. I plan to continue more digital painting with an emphasis on both going forward.

I also changed a couple of photographic works, Clouds I and Clouds II.  I'm hoping to add more of these soon.

Lastly, I hope to finish the first of a new portrait series soon.

So, more to come...

Notes 9.13.16: Time (or the Lack Thereof) and the Birth and Death of a Series

I have too many ideas and too many pieces I wish to work on and too little spare time to work on them. I need a wealthy patron.

Despite there being a couple of additions to the Vanitas series in the works, I have not been able to progress with that series in quite some time. And now, as often becomes the case with me, I am thinking of changing my original intent of that series and possibly the name along with it– or scrapping it entirely and just starting a new series altogether to take its place…

Work in progress (detail)

Work in progress (detail)

I have eclectic tastes and inspirations, and a shifting interest in exploring different ideas…but unfortunately not enough time to delve into all of them. Not fully. Not in the way that I wish. Which means, unfortunately, some things get put on the shelf for long periods of time, or just abandoned entirely. I seem to always want to explore several series ideas at once. I guess I like the idea of a series, generally speaking. To explore a concept or visual language in depth; letting it evolve "organically" over time.  But not having enough time to fully explore some of them, or give them equal attention, means that some series evolve very slowly…or I lose interest.

Of course this hasn’t dissuaded me from the two new series’ I am currently working on starting…

Notes 6.13.16: Figure+Form, Works in Progress, Digital Art and Traditionalism

Figure With Red

Figure With Red

In contradiction to my New Year's resolution, I have been missing in action from this blog. I wish I could say that it has been all due to life throwing obstacles in the way, but that is only partially true.

Figure IV

Figure IV

Despite the aforementioned obstacles, I have managed to work steadily this year, so far. A lot of my time has been experimenting; there is a new series I am developing which I hope to unveil soon. I seem to want to do a number of different series. I can't help it; I have varied visual interests.

I also recently completed the 'sister images' Figure IV and Figure With Red. Figure IV, which originally was to be titled Figure in Red, went through a few metamorphosis before becoming what it is now. Ironically, Figure With Red was the result of a happy accident while creating Figure IV. Don't let anyone tell you the happy accidents are somehow lost with digital media; I have had many. When turning off some layers to check something, I turned off the wrong ones and liked what I saw. It wasn't quite a Figure + Abstract image, at least not where the series is now, yet I liked it so much I wanted to keep it and create more, and so the Figure + Form series was born. Though it came out of the Figure + Abstract series, the Figure + Form series will be a different type of exploration.

I have several, too many in fact, pieces I am working on that are in various stages from barely there to almost complete. Some of which (gasp) do not belong to a series at all.

Lately, since in recent years my work has increasingly become more and more of a mixed bag of traditional media combined with digital painting and photography - and I have been going deeper into digital painting itself, I have been thinking about how to describe or categorize my work. Perhaps it doesn't really matter in the end. I have to point out an excellent article I ran across: A Defense of Digital Painting (and Digital Art in General) by Eric Wayne. The article is from 2014, but very relevant.

Work in progress (detail)

Work in progress (detail)

Work in progress (detail)

Work in progress (detail)

I pretty much agree with every point he makes about the biased elitism, snobbery and nonsensical arguments made by traditionalists against digital art. Though Mr.Wayne's article mirrors my views exactly, he articulates them much better than I could. The attitude he pushes back against are unfortunately all too prevalent. I remember a certain photography oriented site I used to go to years back, full of the same self-satisfied elitist traditionalist types of photographers. I always found that to be funny, since there was a time when photography was a newer medium and the same narrow minded attitudes were leveled against it that today are directed towards digital based work in certain quarters.

Notes 9.18.15: Figure+Abstract, Morbid Anatomy, William Mortensen, the Louvre and the New Whitney

Ashokan Reservoir, NY III

Ashokan Reservoir, NY III

So, apparently my image, Ashokan Reservoir, NY III, was on display in the Louvre a couple of months back and I didn’t even realize. Last month, I received a message which started: “We were thrilled to include your work in the digital display at the Louvre on July 13th as part of the Landscape Collection.” I have to admit, I remember entering this landscape thing on See.Me, but after discovering there was some kind of social media popularity voting component to it, I was turned off and didn’t really pay attention to any of the subsequent messages in regards to it. I was surprised then to be informed that my image was among those that were on digital display. I guess I can officially say I had my work exhibited in the Louvre, if only for a moment…

Figure III

Figure III

It has been a strange taxing couple of months. In truth 2015, you have not been a good year so far and the summer has been too hot and too long. Nevertheless, I have felt generally productive and focused, in an artistic sense. Most of my attention has been on my Figure + Abstract series. I recently finished Head III and Figure IIIFigure III in particular had been a bit of a trial to create, having been started, scrapped and restarted, perhaps three or four times before its final incarnation. I wonder if the “Figures” of the series are always going to be such a difficult birth, so to speak, as I had similar difficulty creating Figure II until its final manifestation.

Head III

Head III

Currently I am working on another, tentatively titled Figure in Red which incorporates the same combined elements of digital and analog painting, drawing, etc. However, I have experimented with some new techniques in its creation especially regarding the manner of how I used Corel Painter. I must say this about the process of creating the Figure + Abstract series so far – there are reactionaries that reflexively assume digital media has somehow brought an end to the “happy accident” – this is not so, I have had many happy accidents in the creation of this series regarding the digital elements.

I have also been doing some preparatory work for a different new series that I wish to explore and I wish to also continue with the Vanitas series that I started. Time for a little darkness, I think...

Speaking of darkness, last month Sarah and I visited the Morbid Anatomy Museum in Gowanus, Brooklyn. We saw their exhibition Opus Hypnagogia: Sacred Spaces of the Visionary and Vernacular. Overall I enjoyed the exhibits mix of occult, art, curiosities and elements that are a bit, in truth, campy. The museum occupies a nice space housed in a building with a black façade that stands out in the industrial area of Gowanus. We discovered the museum by chance a couple of weeks before we went and I have to say, I am a bit thrilled that such a place exists in Brooklyn.

Among the most interesting work on display was the work by William Mortensen, a photographer who created photographic manipulations in the Pictorialist style and whose work went from being widely known to obscure, in part due to the disdain of photorealist purists such as Ansel Adams.  These early fantastical photo-manipulations were great to see as they predict so much of what is going on today including some of what I do in my own work.  When I used to work in analog photography only, I was much more interested in the labor intensive darkroom techniques that came with manipulation and experimentation. Mortensen wasn’t focused on representing strict reality. He was more interested in psychological and emotional impact and also exploring the imaginative; something I can relate to.

Lastly, Sarah and I went to the new Whitney Museum last month.  We had a very good time.  Visiting the Whitney’s old space within the Brutalist building designed by Marcel Breuer always felt, perhaps as to be expected with Brutalism, like one was within somewhat of a dark fortress.  I can’t say I didn’t like the Breuer space overall, but it didn’t exactly “flow”. However, before visiting the new space I was a little hesitant that I wouldn’t care for the crowd pleasing elements to the new design that I was reading about.  So often pandering to the crowd means a race to the lowest common denominator, and consequently, mediocrity.  The new space designed by Renzo Piano however was impressive. It is definitely not dark, with its many windows and terraces offering views of the surrounding neighborhood, including the High Line, and the Hudson River. In many ways it almost seems like the opposite of the old space to me. Most importantly, the space seemed to showcase the artwork quite well.  I enjoyed the inaugural show, a retrospective taken from the Whitney’s collection representing the history of art in the United States from the start of the 20th century to the present.  We even had a tasty treat and very good coffee at their café.

Notes 5.22.15: Crystal Castles, Egon Schiele and Figure + Abstract

Crystal Castles, "Wrath of God" is playing.

There were ominous clouds gathering when I arrived at the cafe...

Figure I (detail)

Figure I (detail)

Figure with Black Hood started as a remake of another image of the same title. I wanted to further explore combining traditional techniques and non-digital materials with digital imagery, the way I had done with some earlier images. At the same time I was thinking about the idea of the body merging with an abstracted backdrop, something akin to the existential voids of Schiele. However in this case the void would subsume the figure. Figure I was a further exploration of this and so came the desire to explore this as a series.

By the time of Head I and Head II, the figurative forms are being consumed by or even dissolving into abstraction. I intend for the series to be loose, experimental - the pieces can look very different while possessing similar elements. Form into nothingness. Form into abstraction. Beauty into decay? Or vice versa? Expressionist. Experimental. About the process as much as the aesthetics. Titles are to be merely descriptive and spare.

Head I

Head I

Head II

Head II

The series is more improvisational than most of my other work. It's almost like the whole series is a sketchboard. Thus far, it has largely been acrylics and ink that I've combined with photography and digital painting. I'm looking to incorporate more papier-mâché and start using water color.

Nude Nite 2015

My work "Female Nude, Standing" will be among the art featured at Nude Nite 2015, March 5-7, in Tampa, Florida.

"Female Nude, Standing"

"Female Nude, Standing"

Held in a warehouse transformed into a pop-up gallery, Nude Nite showcases over 200 works of juried original art from local and national artists and is the largest gallery to exhibit nude works in the country. "Entertainment includes burlesque, world class body painters, aerialists, performance artists and a cast of characters both in clothes and out... " www.nudenite.com

Twilight Kingdom by Lisa Gerrard

One of my favorite musicians, Lisa Gerrard, has just come out with a new release titled `Twilight Kingdom' which I just have to take a moment to write about. Though to many she is known for her work with Hans Zimmer on the Gladiator soundtrack, I first knew of her from her amazing work prior to that as one half of the duo known as Dead Can Dance (Brendan Perry being the other half).

Dead Can Dance was for many years, and still remains, one my absolute favorite musical acts of all time and has had an immeasurable influence on me, artistically and otherwise (as has Lisa's solo work).

Lisa Gerrard is of course known for her unique and amazing voice and singing in her own "invented language". She also plays various instruments most notably the yangqin.

'Twilight Kingdom' is an amazingly beautiful release with some tracks that are as great and moving as anything she has ever done (which is saying quite a lot). I was completely mesmerized on my first listen (and my second and third and...).

The track 'Seven Seas' (which you can sample by watching the video below) gives only a taste of this masterful release by Lisa Gerrard.