Thursday, September 27, 2012

Project Notes

Uhm.. yeah. So, I'm getting to this late...

So far, my first MFA project has been in the "think about it" phase. That is, I have been conceptualizing what I want to do for semester one. Until now, I have had the concept but none of the imagery; I plan to do a triptych that directly deals with my somewhat less-than-fortunate childhood and find ways to introduce sculptural/3D elements to my surface. 

My plan is to do a symbolic self portrait flanked by portraits of my parents. I had gotten stuck on 2 elements: 

1> What would be the best way to represent myself without crossing the line into a "private" image? 
2> How the hell am I going to work out the framing and hinges to get the piece to open and close the way I want it to? 

Then, at the end of last weeks projects class, I got smacked in the face with with a revelation! The whole piece, in my head at least, came at me it in a rush of images. (minus the hinge and frame thing) And it did so as most of my creative endeavors often do -- inexplicably and without method. 

Obediently, I quickly jotted down some notes and then set to the task of assembling my references and building materials. 

The emotional side of this project has been harder to cope with than I initially thought and the idea of dredging up all this crap that I worked so hard to forget has cost me more than a few nights of sleep. So, I did an all-nighter and assembled my panels...  

And have since gone back to thinking. 

Yesterday I met with my mentor, Walt, who told me to get out of my head and sketch what I am thinking. Ric concurred. 

For the record, this is not my usual methodology. When an idea crystallizes, I can see it in front of me as though my eyes were projecting the image on (insert surface, here) and all I then have to do is trace it out. Make it happen. 

Easy peasy, lemon squeasy.

The bad thing is that if, for whatever reason, the idea doesn't happen in my head, I get stuck so, sketching things out MIGHT be a good plan. That's how I will be spending the next several days -- recording my thought processes and keeping myself on target.

Hopefully, by next class, I should be ready to start laying paint to board.

My list of artists who are inspiring this piece, for those interested, may not make much sense to anyone else but me... It's a personal project so, stylistically, I don't want too many outside influences mucking up my production. Conceptually however, I do have a list for your consideration:

Beethoven's "Midnight Sonata."
The music of a band called: "Lost in the Trees."
The writings of Benjamin Hoff, Ken Kesey and Irving Stone.
Dali's painting; "Portrait of My Dead Brother."
Francis Bacon's "Self Portrait."


Wednesday, September 26, 2012


So, in my Digital Culture class, we were assigned to create a spiffy sample presentation. It's web-based and WAY cooler than Powerpoint. This is the one I did, just to try it out... Click This!!!

Side note: In the presentation, there's this short video of an addictive 8 bit game called: Super Crate Box! Available through steam. I highly recommend it! Hit the play button during the presentation for a preview!


Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Have You Hugged An Artist Today?

In the public eye of the United States, we artists are often times marginalized. Our best efforts – bastardized and formalized by big business, gets put into neat little boxes and promptly mass produced to aid in the national pursuit of more, ultimately useless “stuff.” Stuff that clutters our lives thereby making us feel as though we are somehow more or less successful in some ridiculous way than the person standing right beside us. In the film “Fight Club,” actor Brad Pitt delivers a simple yet scathing observation; “The things you own, end up owning you.” Truer words are seldom spoken. 

But I am veering off point.

When people ask me what I do and I say; “I’m an artist,” the usual reply I get is; “no, I mean what do you really do?” Because… what? You’ll spend your life living out of a box? Being an artist is not a real vocation; it’s a hobby, at best? If you honestly think that, then you are an ignorant moron. 

Consider this: Everything tangible in the world that is not naturally occurring was created by an artist. EVERYTHING.

The clothes you wear.
The vehicle you operate.
The place where you keep your stuff.

All of it exists because an artist of some sort thought it up. When you go out to eat, your meal is prepared – for better or worse, by a culinary ARTIST. If Jules Verne hadn’t penned: “From the Earth to the Moon,” would science have figured out the logistics to do just that a mere hundred years later? Doubtful. And let’s not forget to thank a certain Captain James T. Kirk for introducing us to the cellular flip phone or, Leonardo Da Vinci for inventing the first working model of the airplane. Or the helicopter.

It’s thanks to him and other such artists that modern medicine has precise and detailed and exceptionally thorough schematics of human anatomy. If you’ve ever been operated on and lived to talk about it, well… you’re welcome.

But these are only a few examples that cover mostly “commercial” applications.

Museums are FILLED with art chronicling, with painstaking detail, the entirety of human history. For you Christian types, you should consider the genius of Dante degli Alighieri. If not for his writings, you’d have no concept of Heaven or Hell or any of that. Nor, if not for Michelangelo Buonarroti, would you have the uplifting and inspiring visuals to accompany them.

Art, so profound, that it influenced and changed the perception of an entire RELIGION.

Politically, art is often a key element in helping to shape a nations awareness. Case in point, the Obama hope poster. Televised satire in the form of sketch comedy. Informative documentaries. I could go on but my ultimate point is this; without the arts, civilization as we know it would simply cease.


And it’s not like anyone can just dive in and do it. Physically, emotionally, intellectually, spiritually, psychologically – Art is HARD. It takes a lifetime of dedication, commitment and a willingness to experience life completely unfiltered. All for your benefit, I might add. 

As an artist, you have ‘to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it’ and constantly tear yourself apart only start the whole process over again. And again. For some, this level of intensity can often times lead to madness. (insert Van Gogh or Sylvia Plath or Dali, for example, here)

But for those of us who persevere and find that delicate balance between reason and intuition, the arts can also be one of the most rewarding life choices a person can make.

This is why I get so pissed off when people ask me stupid questions like; “An artist?!? What, you couldn’t get a real job?” or when I hear about local governments cutting funding to the arts and especially, art education. Ken Danby, an insightful and beautifully gifted painter once said; “The degree to which the arts are included in our educational curriculum is totally inadequate. The arts are just as important… as any other endeavor in our lives.” This is not a new thought, folks. Long before the near decimation of our current, rather pathetic “educational system,” it was once the belief that you were not fully learned unless you had studied art, as you would science or math or astronomy. 

Note: You don’t have to be an artist to study and appreciate art. 

Practically, art teaches us critical thinking as well as the ability to problem solve and to 'think outside the box.' This translates to gains in math, reading, cognitive ability and verbal skills. Beyond that, involvement in the arts can also improve motivation, concentration, confidence, teamwork and (perhaps) a healthier form of self expression. Consider that after the next family function, when you're found under the table, in a fetal position. Naked.

This why I feel that there should be a day; An “Artist Appreciation Day.” There isn’t one, I checked. 

I don’t know about you but my calendar is just lousy with holidays like, Groundhog Day, Flag Day, International Youth Day... No Artist Appreciation Day!

International youth day?!? Seriously?? What the fuck?!? 

This needs to be rectified. I say, put it right as autumn gets started; on September 23rd, when nature is exploding with color and there are no other pesky holidays to interfere. The day could begin with a celebratory brunch, because we artists often like to sleep in a bit... 

French toast.
Fruit parfait.

Something nice. And artists also appreciate quality materials to work with so, treat the creative person in your life to a gift card to his or her favorite supply shop/recycling center/hardware store. Go to a reading. Hit up an art opening. Pay the cover charge on open mic night. 

Break out the crayons and color for an hour – go nuts, you’ll be glad that you did. 

And the next time you see a squirrely kid whip out a sketchbook and start mapping out their next masterpiece, walk right up, stick out your hand and say; “Thank you, artist, for making my life interesting. I appreciate you!” 

Then, bow low, as you gracefully back away.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

QR Code of DOOM

Yay for technology! 

I have made a nifty looking QR code that links to the recently-redone-blog that you are currently reading!! But, as it seems redundant to post here, I am instead linking you to my FB fan page... 

The code is there. 

Scan it with your super smart phone and be redirected back to here. Then, you can click on the link that takes you back to my FB fan page and have my fan page AND my blog each running on their own separate devices!!!


Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Another Day in Paradise...


It's day two of a no-sleep art bender that I'm on, four if you count a weekend fraught with insomnia, and after a quick twenty minute nap -- I'm still raring to go. 

Yay mania!

You may or may not be tickled to know that I've been a very productive Artist @ Large! I finally worked out the detail dealios of my semester one project, met with Charlotte (who graciously talked me down from a frightening website related panic,) knocked out a third of a new painting and still had time to handcraft a Brooklyn style pesto pizza!

Currently, I am writing this weeks blog posting.

Shortly after, I gots some sketchin' to do, followed by a bit of time invested on what I hope will be my new website, before heading home to spend some quality time with the missus, our bird and a somewhat grumpy pygmy hedgehog named Moxy. We may even work in some quirky DVD entertainment, assuming we don't immediately  pass out after dinner...

My project idea, in brief, goes something like this:

I will be producing 3 pieces, assembled into a triptych. In the center, will be a self portrait. This will not be a traditional image of myself, but rather an icon that represents me. (The specifics of this image has not yet presented itself.) It will be flanked by a portrait of my Mother on the left and my Father on the right. I plan to dive into a more constructed approach – ironic, as my style is a deconstruction of my subject(s), by adding sculptural elements to the face of the painting(s). This, I feel, will help ease me into the world of sculpture and installation. As for the concept behind the art, well, I'll save that for my in-class presentation on Thursday...

I don't seem to have anything else on my mind at the moment, so I s'pose that's all for now.

Monday, September 3, 2012

MFA Post


Today, I am secluded in the studio while the masses celebrate Labor Day by not laboring. I find this odd. At any rate, it's been three months and change since I last posted something here, so let's get right to it, shall we?

I'm told that my usual rambling approach to blogging may be off-putting and that some of you may lose interest half way through and wander away.

Fuck it.
Your loss.

There are big things happening with your Local Artist @ Large... Namely, I have begun the masters program at the Columbus College of Art and Design. I'm pretty pumped. The campus is awesome, my new studio space is super sweet and everyone I've met so far is, in their own right, totally amazing.

And I'm not just saying that because of my digital culture class, where we are meant to post weekly, review each others progress in the virtual world and in general, beef up our “Google footprint.”


Anyway. I've been thinking a lot about what I need to get done as a student, as a professional and as a somewhat manic guy living his life and how all these elements seem to intermingle. It feels cluttered. I hate clutter. So, this weekend has been about me sorting shit out and making lists.

I LOVE lists, especially “to-do” lists. In fact, as I write this, I have successfully checked off no less than eight things from today's list. Yeah, that's right: EIGHT. Suck it.


The project that I had in mind for this semester went through a few drafts before, just after my third bowl of chocolate cheerios, I had an epiphany. Or maybe gas. Either way, I now have a clearer idea of what to do so, now I can move forward. Essentially, I will be doing some painting and diving into my troubled past as I focus on the idea of isolation and abandonment. Not very cheery I'm afraid, but a long overdue step in my continuing evolution as an artist. More on that later.

Professionally, I am coming out of a long slump which was coming out of a long run of high productivity. This has to happen from time to time and while frustrating as it can be, one must honor the rest cycle as we prepare for what's next.

Personally, I have been juggling big, life-altering decisions that threaten to overwhelm me resulting in this nagging feeling of bemused excitement inter-dispersed with blinding, piss-yourself terror. I've been coping by way of heavy lifting at the gym and the occasional bag of M&Ms.

Life's funny.