I'm in the middle of making a decision about whether or not to take a studio with three other people from school. So far, all signs have pointed to "yes": the two girls are some of my favorite people to be around, and the space is huge and beautiful. Even down to the fact that the studio's former resident was one of my favorite professors and I heard that he's planning on leaving an amazing couch. One that I can easily picture myself lounging on while working on my embroidery projects...
I other news...
Marathon training- last Saturday I ran 16 miles and felt really good. I find out in a few weeks if I get into the NYC marathon. So exciting!
Here is a screen print that I finished the last week of school:
My website is really coming together and I'm looking forward to it's big debut. It has gone through more than a few phases, but I'm happy with what I've done to it recently; it just took a whole lot of practice and a little tweaking of design issues. I'll be sure to list it here when it goes live!
Last week, I bought enough lumber to keep myself busy with panel building. I can't believe that we only have 3 weeks left of school. I can't tell you how much I'm looking forward to it...
I was first introduced to Tucker when I went to a visiting artist lecture about 6 months ago. The lecturer was the owner of Lincart, a gallery on Market. Tucker seems to be a gallery favorite so he was in the video that the artist/gallery owner had shown.
His work is great and his website really reflects it.
I've been working on the same painting for a few weeks now, and feel like it's really coming along. I'll be able to add it to the image library that I'm going to put on my website shortly. This is what it looked like when I first started it:
A lot has been done since then, so I'll post pics when it's finished.
My internship has been going really well. It's a little bit of new stuff that I haven't done before, but I've felt really comfortable with it so far. I'm looking forward to really digging my feet into a project, hopefully soon.
The list just goes on and on and on. But I've started my internship, so I can just move forward and take care of everything else. I constantly have to remind myself that I can only do one thing at a time and not get bogged down by impending projects.
I've gotten in a little studio time over the past few weeks. I've been developing the same ideas from the last few pieces that I've done, including the one at Somarts:
I have 3 panels that I've built that are dedicated to this body of work. I'll build at least two more to tide me over the summer. I'm trying to figure out if there's a way for me to sneak back into school in the fall to use the machines to build panels.
I love working on panels and I think that there's something really special in being able to build your support from the ground up, even though building them can be a pain.
Tauba Auerbach is amazing. She has been an SF favorite for a while. I remember reading some 7x7 Magazine "Hot 30 Under 30" list that she was on a few years ago. I still think her work is amazing...
Her website, which you can get to by going here, is something that I feel I could put together with my eyes closed. Not that I'm an expert, but really, there's nothing to it: a white background, archive button, bio button. It also gives you the option to download her CV as a pdf. Maybe her work is about starkness. I plan on finding out when I research her work a little more...
This is one of my favorite watercolor artists, Kim McCarty. Simple androgynous children's portraits, sometimes done in a single color.
Her website is also simple, but I found a little hard to navigate because you had to rely on the browser's return arrow to get back to the previous page. Something to think about...
You can find her website here.
This is the cover art of the album, "Andrew Bird & The Mysterious Production of Eggs", one of my all time favorite musicians. I really like his website, especially how it forces you to search for the navigation bar. You have to roll over it in order for it to appear again after first visiting a page. I'm not a huge fan of the black background, but I'm sure it appeals to a lot of people and it does seem really easy to read. you should check out the AV page and listen to the jukebox.
Lisa's website is one of those nice and clean artist's websites that is so amazingly simple, but I wonder if it's accessible to everyone. You could very easily go to the main page and think that all that existed in the whole site was her name and a little scroll box. You almost have to look around a bit to discover that there's more to it, but maybe there's some psychology behind that idea as well. Like, a person visiting your site could somehow feel accomplished by discovering secret rooms and therefore feel a strange attachment to it.
I was excited to discover through visiting her website, that I own a t-shirt that she designed, a gift from Rob a few years ago. cute.
I really like the simple, easy design of the site and am a BIG fan of his color palette. (BTW, his bike matches his work) Some of the choice of font color is a little light, making it hard to read, but that could just be my aging eyesight.
A plus about this site in my circumstances, is that there's a teeny image in the upper right hand corner that links you to the web designer's site, showing other artists' websites. Nice job. A++
When viewing his site's use of meta tags, I noticed that some of his keywords were the names of some of his contemporaries and artists that he's been in shows with. Which I've never thought of doing, but I suppose makes perfect sense. Here is an image of the print that is hanging in my living room.
Yesterday I went to see Claire Sherman speak. She is a candidate for the professor position in the painting department, I assume to replace one of my favorites ever, Paul Pratchenko. I recognized her work from "New American Paintings" from about a year ago. The image above is one of my favorite pieces of hers, but you can check out her website here.
It was interesting to listen to her talk about her thoughts about surface and the use of paint as a material that can be used to break up an image, becoming just paint. She experiments with incredibly thick applications, almost to the loss of control. Her work is on the border between abstraction and representation.
I think that she would be a good fit with the painting department. It's too bad I'm outta there. I think that I'd really enjoy a class with her.
I've officially kicked off the training season for two marathons and one half marathon coming up this year. Which basically means that I'm going to start doing a whole lotta running and tons of cross training and eating really well (and eating a lot). I find that I'm constantly starving while I'm in this process and pretty much spend the day snacking. I also sleep really well at night, and feel incredibly motivated with personal projects. One project that is in the works involves mapping my runs from point to point to see what sort of patterns develop.
For this particular training program, I'm a pace group leader. This means that between myself and two other pacers, we keep anywhere from 15 to 35 runners on track for the long runs, which happen on Saturdays. This also means that my Friday nights are shot because I have to be all set to go at 8:00am. I work or have school 6 days a week with Saturdays being my only day off. So by the afternoon, I feel very accomplished and I can actually let myself chill out and relax a little.
But I've had a hard time working this one out. All of my sketches are rendered the way that I want them to be in pencil, but I know that the translation from sketch to embroidery thread is going to be hard to manipulate.
I finally settled on the idea to create this piece as if it were a drawing/sketch from one of my notebooks. So I started by creating a college-ruled piece of notebook paper with my sewing machine. Here's a picture of the beginning:
The final piece won't include all of the loose ends, but you get the idea. The rest of the piece will be made up of embroidered versions of actual sketches from my notebooks from the last few years. I'm looking forward to going through my notebooks to revisit my thoughts and ideas from the past.
I drove up to Gail Dawson's show at the Dominican University in San Rafael this Saturday. Having been a student of hers for a couple of years and only having seen one live piece of her work, it was great to see it up close and personal. I was totally blown away by the amount of work that goes into the video pieces. 24 (?) paintings only take up one second of video. That's a huge project to tackle.
Now I'm attempting to treat thread as I would treat paint or a pencil. Each stitch is like a brush stroke. I'm making up my own and reintroducing the classic stitches into my vocabulary. I did this piece in the Fall that ended up as part of a series that was in the Stillwell show:
I really enjoyed this and have wanted to explore it further. I like the idea of working with one continuous piece of thread, the thought that if one area is snipped, the whole thing falls apart. It speaks of fragility and impermanence, two things that I've been dealing with lately in my work.
"They've done nudity, bondage, bad language and turds: now Gilbert and George tackle the latest taboo - hoodies, identified recently by the government as a symbol of the so-called yob culture.
Presumably, Bluewater, the shopping centre which sparked a national debate by banning hoodies - and claims that sales rocketed as a result - wouldn't give wall space to the latest work of art from the men approaching their 40th anniversary as living works of art.
Gilbert and George met in 1967 at St Martin's School of Art, where both were studying sculpture, and they have lived, worked and exhibited together since.
They began as performance artists, showing themselves as living sculptures, but in the past 20 years have produced a series of monumental photography-based pieces.
In Hooded, the pair are flanked by capped and hooded figures of young black men, who could be seen as threatening, bemused or wryly amused.
Andrea Rose, director of visual art at the British Council, said: "Gilbert and George have made grand portraits from the hooded boys who live and work around Spitalfields, where the artists themselves have lived and worked together for more than 35 years.
"While others discuss banning youths from wearing hoodies, Gilbert and George find something positive to say about them."
The piece, unveiled yesterday by the British Council, is one of 25 new works made by the artists for the British Pavilion at the Venice Biennale, which opens next month."
Think about how amazing that is.
I was glad that I had the opportunity to research the artists before seeing the exhibition. Seeing as how the work of Gilbert & George could have the ability to offend. One of my classmates told me that he saw many a family turn into the exhibit and then turn right back out. Could it have been the photo montage that included a 20 foot tall cross made of s*^t?
They're not joking when they say that they "put themselves" into every piece. They incorporate themselves into 99.9% of the work; either by their own image, or their bodily fluids. The fact that they started the former part in the last 15 years, while they were in their late 50's is interesting.
I was not that impressed by the choices they made in color and repetition of image. And then I remembered that a lot of them were done pre-Photoshop and changed my mind. But there was one, that I stood in front of for a while called Existers from 1984:
What does it mean? Why are only their ears, lips and clothing brightly colored? Why is (Gilbert?) on the floor? Why the trendy 80's colors? Why? Thoughts?
One thing that I was thinking a lot about was the way that they explained their idea of "Art For All". They said that this century is plagued by the notion of art being for the few people that are "in the know" and that this secrecy makes it impossible for "normal people" to understand art. Think Marcel Duchamp's "Fountain". Their work is most definitely not as simple as Jeff Koons or Thomas Kincade, the people that I think of as making easily understandable "Art for All". Do you want something to be so obvious upon first glance that it doesn't teach you anything or make you think differently? This is definitely the part that I appreciate most about art. So does this mean that conceptually, their work is more shallow than I think?
I definitely enjoyed watching peoples' reactions to the work and the scale was pretty amazing. I'm also really excited that I purchased a membership, and I only live 1.5 miles away. Morning trips will be a must.
I worked all weekend, so I don't have much to say, but here's an image of something that I made a while ago. It's done in watercolor and colored pencil. It's from a picture of my mom from 1980. This was an assignment that I gave myself to try and mimic the renegade colors from that were used in photo printing during that time.
I love that when I look through old family pictures, my mom seems to have the newest trendy hair style in every one, and as some can remember, there were some outrageous styles going on. Perms included.
I wish that I had more hours in the day. I'd be able to go to school and/or work, run, get into the studio, work on side projects, homework, take photos of my progress, and then write about it. I'm lucky if I get to do two of those things, but one of them is always work or school.
The curator of the last show that I was in at SomArts sent pics of the show, which you can find here. You can see my piece starting at image 15. My new project includes two 24"x30" panels and one 24"x27". It's a further exploration into this installation and because it was temporary, I'm feeling the need to re-visit it. My problem now is that I feel like I have no time, but I'm in the process of creating a written schedule for studio time. It seems like a good plan, I'll keep an update.
I'm running the SF Marathon in August and just entered the lottery for the New York City Marathon. The long runs that come with training allow not only for creative energy, but it means that I get to eat whatever I want, whenever...
This piece, which is accompanied by real audio from the hearing took him over a year to complete and is on view in The Fine Arts Gallery at SFSU for another week or so. He also showed us a piece called "Who's Afraid of Black, White and Gray", inspired by the film. "Who's Afraid of Virginia Wolf", and is done in all gray tones.
I appreciate that he uses subject matter that Americans can easily connect to. When he was first beginning to study art, his favorites were Andy Warhol and Jeff Koons. He enjoyed their banality and the fact that their work was easily understandable by all. (which is exactly what Gilbert and George are claiming to do)
He believes in the "original thought" and spoke about working intuitively. What he does is this: he takes the first thing that comes to his mind, does it, and then later works out it's meaning. I really appreciate this notion that you don't have to kick an idea into the ground in order to make it meaningful. If a person is confident that his or her first idea will be meaningful, and is willing to put in the amount of work, this way would allow a whole new experience of the creative process.
I've been working on a little side project that I plan to post soon and I built the most amazing panel last week. I'm also meeting with a grad student tomorrow to get help with cutting panels. If you've read my other posts, you'll know that this means no sweaty-self-cutting station, and this makes me very happy.
and another one that includes videos with them speaking about the exhibition from the Tate Modern last year here
It's funny to believe that these two men:
...and other giant-scale images that are meant to shock with social, religious and political commentary. They include nudity (of themselves) and other bodily fluids (their own) combined with bold use of color and high contrast.
San Francisco, Milwaukee and Brooklyn are truly lucky cities to be able to host this show, the first (and possibly only?) time here.
You can listen to it here from February 13th, 2008.
I've never before heard two people speak so confidently and fearlessly about themselves as if they were one person. It's as if they share a brain. It's almost eerie that two separate entities can describe their thoughts and ideas and passions as if they were coming from the same soul. It sounds like they've spent every waking moment together since birth. They haven't been to a film since The Deer Hunter, and refuse to go to galleries, museums or theaters because they "don't want to be contaminated". If I were to call in to ask them a question, it would have to be along the lines of this: "Don't you ever get sick of each other?"
I'm incredibly intrigued and excited to see their work based on their explanation of content and unconventional materials. Some words and phrases that recurred throughout the interview were "self-exposure", "art for all", "for the women" and "heterodoxy".
Thus far, I've only gotten to see one Gilbert & George image, but I feel like I can imagine what the work is like. Well, maybe. Minus the spit and lice.
In the fall of '07, I did a teeny search on them to see what they were up to, and somehow must've gotten distracted, because all that I can remember is that they used some unconventional materials, and maybe some type of performance art? But, are they a team? Father and son? Lovers? Brothers?
Let me preface this by the fact that I always him and haw (is that how it's spelled?) about going to my usual lumber supply spot, Discount Builders on Division. First of all, you have to know the secret code to be able to get into their parking lot. The store is situated on a corner where every one-way street and freeway in the city meets. If I could construct a map of the many twists and turns that I took trying to get there, it would look like the inside of a Rubik's Cube.
My first visit to Discount Builders, I walked in with shoulders high, measurements in hand, ready to stun the staff with my amazing lumber knowledge. I had to fight my way into getting some wood cut, as well as dodge the raised eyebrows. I ended up walking out moderately fulfilled, ready to build my first panel, but couldn't shake the feeling of the burning stares and dusty snickers from the staff and clientèle.
My second visit to Discount Builders, I tried to joke with one of the staff members about my difficult time trying to get help with lumber cutting and I mentioned that "everyone gave me funny looks when I walked in". His slow response was "Well, that's because you're funny lookin'."
So, I was surprised this afternoon when I walked into Home Depot and asked where I could get some lumber cut and was directed by a sales associate to the "Self-Cutting Station".
My dad has been working with wood since I can remember, I've seen a zillion pieces of wood being cut with a hand saw...
Starting on the first 1 x 2, was a bit challenging. The whole "Station" was built for a 7' tall man, so I had to stand on my tip-toes just to position the saw correctly. By the end of the fourth cut, I was completely sweaty and had begun to see a little trail of smoke rising from the wood.
I've decided to stick with the old tried and true. I now know the secret street to drive down to get to Discount Builders, and even though I'm funny lookin', they'll at least cut my wood for me.
When visiting a solo show at a gallery, aren't you ever questioning why there are so many pieces that are almost exactly the same? Not just a show that displays the artist's current body of work, but that the artist has taken the same figure or image and only altered it slightly in numerous ways? You've seen shows of this artist a few times over the last two years and it's been the same. In the beginning, the artist defines the work but at what point does the work define the artist?
On one hand, the viewer can deduce that the artist has asked him/herself multiple questions, and has tried to answer those questions in different ways, which is the path that can (and should!) lead the artist into more and more questions and possibly a new body of work. But does this mean that the artist hasn't grown? If you have one style of work that is best known to be unmistakably yours, can you ever climb out of the creative sink-hole and move on to a new subject or medium? Is the artist just forced to supply for the market's demand, or are they feeling some strange fulfillment in obsessively cranking out the same thing over and over? I can think of a handful of local artists that have made their mark in the art world, with a distinct style. Are these people ever allowed to venture outside of what they're "known" for? Does it have to be super-genius in order to be respected? Or will they be looked down upon because they're trying to do something that's "not them"? I guess this could be the difference between commercial and non-commercial.
I came up with a few words to help myself understand this a little better. "Diversity Within Sameness". Maybe it's been used before, but the two words "diversity" and "sameness" really work well together in this instance. It's like having a balanced ecosystem with a variation of life forms. It's important to be able to grow and learn and create new, inspired work, even if you're trying to answer the same questions over and over again. There are artists that have been working for years and years on the same few bodies of work, and even though their work may appear the same, there is a big chance that they've been inspired throughout, and they've uncovered ideas that they didn't even know existed.
Last week we were each asked to write a 500 word, first draft of our artist statement and give copies to each other. During class, each statement was allowed a good chunk of time for work shopping and feedback. This is one example of how amazing this class is. How often do you get direct, verbal feedback from 8 people? Not only did I learn valuable things about my own work, but each statement brought up questions that we could all take a little gem of knowledge from. There was such an information overload in those 6 hours that my head is still swimming. I guess that's why we have 17 weeks.
I think that I'm going to have to follow his instructions.