Saturday, October 23, 2010
Tuesday, October 19, 2010
Hi everyone! I just wanted to invite you all to drop by my studio this Saturday October 23 from 1PM to 6PM to take a look at some of my work in process. I am a part of the Fabrik Magazine Art's District Walk in Los Angeles. On display will be a cool installation of the Apartment Homes Fake Book project, including some really massive xeroxes as well as the debut of the second book. http://www.fabrikmagazine.com/content/arts-district-art-walk/ Let me know if you want to drop by — I will have beer.
Sunday, October 17, 2010
While it is still early in rainy Sunday Los Angeles, and my lust for coffee remains to be satiated, I thought I would finish up the triptych I had posted earlier this week. For this final installment I want to highlight my long-running beer nerdery. Though wine and cocktails have been my focus for the past years, anyone who has been around me since those sweltering Chicago summer nights and skin-achingly cold Minneapolis winter afternoons will know my first romance was beer. Helped along by the good punk-otaku sirs of Pyschommu Gaijin I was exposed to hundreds of the worlds finest beers (and many a world-class hangover along with at least one hallway boxing match at 4AM). At last tally, I've easily tasted well over a thousand different beers from tallboys of Shlitz to Trappistes Rochefort #8.
Wednesday, October 13, 2010
Sunday, October 10, 2010
Those of you who have been following my blogging for a while know an old feature I used to run was called "Triptych", which was literally, three unrelated things that I found inspirational. At a more macro level, that is how I envision this blog — as a public sketchbook of sorts. A place where you can turn to for some quirky inspiration when you have a bit weekend afternoon boredom. A place that when you feel run down you can find something small that is new and creative to recharge your batteries. A place that you can poke through and make a random association to help you out of a rut (a bit like Brian Eno's Oblique Strategies cards). Well, I might have jumped the gun with posting exclusively about Botch's "We Are the Romans" album because I had a perfect triptych thrown my way this weekend. So here is part two...
Cemitas Poblanas Elvirita
3010 E 1st Street
Los Angeles, CA 90063
Cemitas Don Adrian
14902 Victory Blvd
Van Nuys, CA 91411
Part Three to come soon!
Saturday, October 9, 2010
Hiya all! I was listening to some newer hardcore/post-hardcore bands this morning in the studio and after a few albums I was feeling rather blasé about the genre. As a comparison I grabbed my old warhorse album "We Are The Romans" by Botch and was instantly, and once again, dropped by it's unparalleled ferocity. From the recklessly explosive breakdown and subsequent all out manic return on the first track, it's clear why this remains one of the top albums in this genre of extreme music.
Monday, October 4, 2010
Hiya! Welcome to the second part of my reflections about my art process. One of the issues that I realized going through these notes and answers is that I seem to have a habit of talking far to generally about "my work". I suppose the lazy, rainy Los Angeles afternoon is the perfect time to reflect on my motivations for making art.
"When do you make art? Is it at a regular time? Is it after a specific inspiration? What's on your mind?"
I am a very regularized, hard working artist. I wake up, work in the studio starting around 11AM, read some art theory while taking a quick break for lunch and a run, and a longer break to cook dinner (an important part of clearing up my head actually), and maybe go out and work another couple hours at the bar or before bed. One quirk is that I am not a home-body, I derive much of my vigor and inspiration from being out in the world, out amongst the urban swirl, or the uninhabited lands. Another quirk is that when I am shooting for a project I get up early or stay up very late (that is, I shoot almost all of my photographs from 10PM to 10AM!).
A big part of my production method is I make a million proofs, studios and tests, organize them, show them to friends, artists, have underground small shows, all the while making new photos, proofing more, having work-in-progress shows, re-shooting things, writing about the topic (often I end up writing academic articles about the topics I make art about) exploring the new topics making the work has raised.
Innumerable variations, contortions, long proofing and editing sessions, extensive research into ideas and topics as I go. Like a labyrinth, my process often feels re-treading the same area (both geographically and thematically) from every angle. That internal complexity of my work is why it usually takes four or five years to complete a given project, though two or three projects happen simultaneously with other projects and the work produced is very large in scope and complexity.
And perhaps I should have explained sooner, like a novelist has the novel, the "project" is the discrete unit of my art. Almost exclusively I build a body of work around and in response to a particular topic. While I produce individual pieces, they are like sentences and paragraphs to a larger written piece.
Akin to an essayistic structure, I try to worm and delve through the myriad of propositions and counter-propositions that the tension between these out-layers to the art world have when they are brought together in the same conceptual space. But I always see it as a two-sided conversation. An additive conversation - that both sides are furthering the complexity by participating.
As for my inspiration, I generally speaking cannibalize a topic I am intimate with (in the large number of senses of that word). Not only that but I seek out places in the periphery of art and culture. Place with differing valuations, modes, rituals and uses for art. Places where art has very high poignancy for the individuals involved but without a great deal of connection to the larger "art world." I search out topics and communities and subjects that I can build bridges and trails to. To facilitate the movement of ideas to and fro from the frontiers and repositories of knowledge. To in many ways examine and ponder the power and effects of art in our lives.
(Based on a series of questions presented in articles on Alan Bamberger's site at: http://www.artbusiness.com/artists.html).
Saturday, October 2, 2010
For those of you who follow me, you might know I am currently prepping to look for my first gallery representation for my art. On of the best resources I've found has been the archive of articles on Alan Bamberger's website at http://www.artbusiness.com/artists.html. One of the ways I have been preparing myself and my work has been to write down some of the questions he mentions people might want to know about your art. I thought I'd share a couple writing exercises with you (exercises I did to get to know my own art better). I already realized that I don't mention photography enough, so it's been a good process for me even at this early hour. Here's my answer to the questions about:
There is an element of critical mass involved with the projects I produce. I have usually developed an intimate knowledge with a topic and the context/subculture around it. As my curiosity about how these cultural locations are connected in hidden ways to other cultural forces & histories overwhelms my straight-forward interest in the topic my art production begins. Often this means that I'm already in a project when I officially "start" a project.
Almost always that means I am producing my art from both the inside and outside of a topic. That I tend to produce in a outward trajectory after mastery of a topic. For instance, with the anime convention project I was a fan for a long time, starting anime clubs, watching any import or bootleg tape off Japanese TV I could get my hands on, even helping to start a convention, and as I reached a plateau where I started to be meta-critical of my own identity and goals in the subculture I found I had already been shooting photos at conventions as a way to occupy my boredom. I had already been writing essays and making comics about the weird, darker edges and anxious emotions that accompanied the fandom. It's more of a declaration of something that is already in process when I start a project.
Being an extremely production oriented artist every project evolves wildly during the process of completing it. I delve in to a topic with curiosities, mysteries, anxieties and frustrations and through an intensive process of work, revision, self critique, research and pondering (layered, repeated many times) the work evolves, goes in new directions, branches off, splits, flows in to other projects, other media, breaks apart and reforms in more nuanced and refined ways. A search to find and express in clear terms, not the truth of a topic, but a rather the nuances, ambivalences, incongruities and ambiguities of the world itself.
Often this means backtracking, trying numerous different medias, techniques, chance tactics, changing context, blank staring, and large amounts of production that is culled so as to see the many facades and facets of a project. I joke that my best working method is to attempt to make every mistake I can around the way to approach and produce a project. But really it's a fairly accurate assessment, in that I am trying to learn the edges and nuances of the topic, find where it breaks, find what drives my subconscious passion, the other's obsessions, the dark pathways that are at once a touch troubling but also have a twilight beauty.