Saturday, October 23, 2010

Art walk in an hour and a half!

Los Angeles Art's District Walk TODAY (Oct 23)! I'm just about to head out and buy beer, JUST FOR YOU. And the map is online for you to find out where I live. Oh noes! 1PM - 6PM.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

October 23rd - On the Art Walk!

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. Let me know if you want to drop by — I will have beer.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Triptych Part Three

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.
The beer I am reviewing today is Mikkeller's "Beer Geek's Breakfast" which is an strong Oatmeal-Coffee Stout. At 7% it isn't a true imperial stout, at least by the insane standards of current American craft brewing, but it is very well balanced beer. The head is thick, foamy and the color of espresso and the nose is absolutely glorious. Rich smells of iced coffee, soy sauce, vanilla bean dominate. Underlying it all is an earthy note, almost the smell of the tree bark in a forest after a rain. Hints of smokiness lend it just a waft of Islay scotch.

On the first sip, everything is way to tight. The flavors seem hidden. 95% chance the beer is too cold being straight out of the fridge. I could swear there was a weird plasticy off-note. Though this should be the lesson to take from this triptych if nothing else: Yes, different beers have different temperatures where they taste best!

Letting the glass sit out for even 5 minutes, the beer came alive. Soft cocoa flavors, hints of soy, and a very long finish. Grassy overtones, molasses undertones. These forest-y, vegetal notes are probably the most unique aspect of this beer, though they are extremely subtle. Woody sasparilla flavors with lingering notes of chocolate coated coffee beans. Large but not intimidating, filling mouthfeel (basically exactly what the term implies - how the physical characteristics of the beer feel in your mouth). In structural terms, this beer is very akin to a good Merlot. A bit velvety, quite expressive, but not overwhelming or flashy. This beer would pair quite well with food.

At $11 for a 500ml, this beer isn't cheap, but it is certainly worth checking out, especially for those of you out there who are getting burnt out on big IPAs. Also, they have a great Northern European design sensibility for their label design. Thanks to my roommate's cat, Mochi, for being my beer model!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

October 23rd Art Walk

Myself and a couple other artists will be participating in the Fabrik magazine art walk of the downtown Los Angeles Art's District/Little Tokyo area on October 23rd. Massive xeroxes, installations, lingerie and beer to be had! Stay tuned for more details!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Okay, so I missed the triptych... Part Two.

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...

Part Two: Cemitas Poblanas
If you are like every other local in Los Angeles, you have very didactic ideas about your preferred taco. And are willing to fight over the proper burrito. Willing, nay, EGER to try cabesa (stewed head meats) at what your friends colloquially call Taco Zone, owing to it's proximity to Auto Zone, at 3AM. But you know, standing in line, feeling restless, sometimes you need to mix it up, try something new, break out of your asada, carnitas, or chorizo comfort zone. A Cemitas Poblanas is your savior.

A Cemitas is a style of sandvich from the Mexican state of Puebla. It is basically a sesame seed topped roll with crispy fried Milinesa (thin pounded beef steak), rich chipolte chiles in adobo sauce, sliced red onion, fresh feta-like cheese, a bitter Mexican herb called papalo, and (for those of you who aren't allergic) thick slices of avocado. This is one serious flavor bomb. This is the 16% Aussie Shiraz of sandwiches. Deeply smokey, extremely spicey, layered with savory fried meat, piquant onions and cooling avacado this beast reeks of too long in the sun, too much mezcal and strips the taco ennui away. Will your local taco place have on the menu? I'm not sure, it was a special at Tacos Por Favor in Santa Monica, and it is rumored there is an amazing version served by a truck on Venice in front of the Smart and Final store.

Here are two other places to try that I read about:

Cemitas Poblanas Elvirita

3010 E 1st Street
Los Angeles, CA 90063
(323) 881-0428

Cemitas Don Adrian
14902 Victory Blvd
Van Nuys, CA 91411
(818) 786-0328

Part Three to come soon!

Saturday, October 9, 2010

A Little Weekend Listening

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.

This is serious angry music with direction. Contorted, slithering guitars, relentless percussion, massive distortion and gut wrenching bass figures. And huge cathartic metal-core influenced breakdowns. This is not some whiner copying Bob Dylan going on about suburban ennui and how much they wish their life was like an 8-bit video game and how much they can't get their relationship right. This is music to smash something you thought you loved, and erect new art in it's ashes. This is music to sweat, dream of the suburbs burning and create. Perfect weekend music. Crank this one up to bug the neighbors. Taste it at:

Monday, October 4, 2010

About My Art, Pt. 2 — In which I realize I am being far too general.

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.

Last week I ruminated on my the way that my art evolves. This week I want to take up a more concrete topic of how I come to actually make my art. The question was:

"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:

Saturday, October 2, 2010

About My Art Pt. 1

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 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:

"How does your art evolve? Are you intentional right from the start or does direction materialize as you work? "

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.