Saturday, March 24, 2012

Talking Heads and LCD Soundsystem

On Thursday, March 22, David Byrne of the Talking Heads and James Murphy of LCD Soundsystem were brought together for an interesting talk at the Yale University Art Gallery moderated by John Schaefer. They talked about the wildly changing art and music scenes and their experiences in coming to terms with being identified as artists after being best known as former frontmen of wildly successful bands.  I was able to shoot a quick video of Byrne and Murphy talking about their current artistic endeavors:

Byrne discusses his experience with designing and installing bike rack sculptures in New York City.  He shows an array of sculptures in the video that were designed for specific neighborhoods in Manhattan. What surprises me most is that the New York City Department of Transportation approved his project, told him they would install the sculptures, but did not offer to pay for them.  David Byrne had to finance the entire project himself.  NYC is fortunate that he has the financial means to do this, because they are great sculptures.  As an artist you grow accustomed to some people and organizations expressing reluctance to compensate artists, writers, or musicians for work they create that people will enjoy.  Perhaps it was naive of me to think that the NYCDOT would be open to paying for a sculpture by David Byrne.  This made me think about all the other artists out there, unaccomplished, without the resources of independent wealth, creating excellent things for people to enjoy, and putting themselves into debt for passion.  Being a good artist is about bankrupting yourself just enough to get your points across. We need compensation as much as anyone else who works for a living.  But we cannot think as much about compensation.  We think about the next painting, the next song, the next poem.

Which leads me to James Murphy: his idea of the subway turnstiles as a musical instrument powered by people would be excellent and enjoyable.  It would make New York City an even better place to be. (I immediately though of what LCD-esque euphony Grand Central Station would sound like at rush hour.)  It is not in the video, but after he explained this idea, he halfheartedly asked the audience if any of us knew anyone who could help him make this happen.  If someone in the audience knew a higher up at the Metropolitan Transit Authority, I'm sure they would have spoken to Murphy after the show. I would help him if I could, I have racked up so many excellent times dancing to his music that at this point I feel like I owe him.  He wasn't ashamed to ask and that's how it works.  You put it out there and hope that the right person will hear or see what you're doing. It is not any different for the rest of us, it does not matter that we are not yet world renowned, or as famous as we wish we were in our respective fields at the moment.  A great idea is a great idea, a great song is a great song, and great painting is a great painting and you have to find a way to get it out there.  They may not know your name now, but someday they will.  Be good enough at what you do to make them know your name.  Even if it is James Murphy or David Byrne.

Murphy and Byrne both discussed their attempts in vain to keep their artistic ideas compartmentalized.  Fighting who you are will never yield a victor.  I did not realize that the guy that makes me dance to Road to Nowhere could also make a great bike rack to protect my bike.  When I hear Home by LCD Soundsystem, dancing like my life depends on it, I am unaware that the same guy has been thinking about making my subway experience better.  I love looking at art and making paintings. I love listening to music and playing it with people.  I love giving compliments to people who rock fashion and I smile and say 'thank you' when I receive compliments on mine. All the pieces are already there.  We all need to stop fighting ourselves and concentrate our resources on creating the union of what makes us us.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Studio Visit: Gregory Santos

                    Mr. Gregory Santos is all about The Big Apple

When I met the printmaker Gregory Santos we were both in graduate school at New York University in 2003, his studio was right across the hall from mine.  He is a fantastic human being with a frighteningly vast amount of knowledge in printmaking, as well as the art of bookbinding.   He lives in Manhattan, works at Columbia University I recently visited him at his newly obtained studio.

        Gregory Santos's studio space in the heart of Spanish Harlem

These prints are a welcome cure my color addiction

In his current body of work titled Movements, he reduces the complexity of human interactions to minimal, vibrant forms creating a narrative account of the natural situations that occur between us in our relationships.  His work is beginning to undergo a transition from paper mediums to wood panels. 

This is one of my favorites

Gregory patiently explaining the many layers involved in his printmaking process

In the near future he plans on exploring substantially larger scale formats for this series.  I cannot wait to see how he utilizes bigger spaces and I am excited to see how is work will continue to evolve.  Click here to view more of his work.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

The Billboard Art Project-Corona, CA

XXIII on Interstate 15 South in Corona, California 12/2/2011

The Billboard Art Project is a non-profit 5013(c)(3) organization dedicated to allocating time on digital billboards in cities across the United States and utilizing them to showcase the work of visual artists.  Each city where the Billboard Art Project occurs exhibits artwork that is mutually exclusive from other cities.  This project is a rare and incredible opportunity for artists to reach the eyes of people that only major corporations and shady lawyers have access to on a regular basis.  This project is made possible through donations.  To make a tax exempt donation to the Billboard Art Project click here.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Studio Visit: Gerri Davis

Gerri Davis is an artist that I met while we were both showcasing our paintings at a group exhibition at Lyons Weir Gallery in Chelsea back in 2009.  She is an excellent person, a dangerous painter to watch out for, and she just got a new studio in Manhattan which I visited this past weekend. 

Oh!!...There she is!

She lives and works in NYC. Her work is extremely intriguing and she paints with incredible skill in watercolors, oils, and inks, she exhibits all over New York City, has curated exhibitions, designs her own clothes, look at this piece!  

          This oil painting is absolutely enormous, 96 x 92 inches.  

This is a work in progress of Ryan and Trevor Oakes.  Two more mind-bogglingly incredible people that I met through Gerri who I will dedicate a post to hopefully sometime in the spring after they complete their flawlessly executed plans for art world domination.

Uh Oh!  Wait!  There she is AGAIN!

Gerri Davis's jaw dropping studio space! 

Her next exhibition in January at Bridge Gallery on 98 Orchard Street between Broome and Delancey the first week of February through March 15th.  I'll be at this show, come have some wine and cheese with me and I'll introduce you.  It'll be fun.  If you want to see more of Gerri's work visit her here and keep her on your radar.

The New Website

I have acquired a new website specifically to showcase the non-objective paintings and sculptures of the Kwadrilaterals series.  I bid you a warm welcome to

This Kwadrilaterals site will now be a blog where I can get the chance to showcase my work more in depth, including other artists via studio visits, art happenings, gallery openings, my personal fashion trends, and keep you informed and posted of events of the art world through my eyes.

You can also find me on facebook, twitter, and linkedin where you may take the opportunity to view different works that I create.


Thursday, May 19, 2011

Number XXXVI

oil on canvas, 36 x 36 inches, 2011

Saturday, May 14, 2011

The Vermont Studio Center Residency

From May 8th to June 3rd I will be a resident at the Vermont Studio Center in Johnson, Vermont. I am one of approximately 60 artists here, painters, sculptors, ceramicists, photographers, and writers. I have already met some fantastic and amazing people from all over the world.  

This is the Corner House, these are my living quarters.  The two windows all the way left on the second floor are my bedroom windows.  There's a kitchen, bathroom, and a living room.  My floor mates, Justin and Dan, are from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and Boise, Idaho respectively.

These are the front and side views of the Wolf Kahn Building.  It is diagonally across the street from the Corner House and this is the building my painting studio is in.  I already love this building. 
This is my studio, it's spacious with high ceilings, and great natural lighting.  I've been painting every day, for hours on end, breaking for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.  The black and yellow painting on the left is going to be Number XXXVI.  
Turquoise hues of shapes in linear perspective.  I am in love with these colors right now.  I sit in the studio and the hours just fly by.  What would take me weeks to accomplish at home takes half a day here, the Vermont Studio Center allows you to nurture your discipline with care and respect for you as an artist and a human being.  For me this place is paradise.
We had a bonfire on the second chilly night.  Warm and gorgeous.  There were 15 to 20 of us around the fire.  We're all still getting to know each other, remembering names, artistic disciplines and places of origin.  It's been really great to meet poets and writers.
The cuisine here has been absolutely fantastic.  I've been eating salads like these during lunch and dinner.  The chef is amazing and you can taste love for his culinary arts in the food every day.  

I've been taking the time to visit the other artists and writers at their studios.  The other residents here are talented, beautiful, individuals doing truly incredible things.  I realize how lucky I am to be here and I'm extremely grateful to be among them.  It's great to meet writers, I've been inviting them to my studio in return for printed excerpts of their short stories or poetry.  

This is the Johnson Elementary School which is a quick walk from my living quarters.  I am volunteering there weekly as an assistant in the art classes for the second graders. I miss my Adae Fine Art Academy students a great deal, so being in the classroom is helping me fill the void a little bit.  

I also volunteered for gardening and groundskeeping duty on the grounds of the Vermont Studio Center. I uprooted dandelions and weeds on one of the sunniest mornings here for three hours.  Hands in the earth, finding earthworms, spiders, grubs of all kinds and simply enjoying the biodiversity.  A short walk away from the studios reveals some rolling green landscapes, it's really beautiful here.
I finished XXXVI last night and all I need is a sunny day to shoot it, so check back soon.