Once again, I sought to challenge myself with my Cinefield® as to avoid lapsing into mere mannerism. As with my last piece, I went with a limited color palette, in this case one reminiscent of some of the submariner greens Degas used. I also stuck to sea changing via my cutting, only one image.
I was pleased with the results. As is the case with all my work, I only use images which I personally took the photo(s) of. There is never any digital magic as I utilize the traditional method of my trusty scissors and adhesive applied with a brush.
Artistic evolution is my constant mantra, with emotional resonance being my goal. I achieve if not both then at least the first by constantly challenging myself. I never want people to look at my work and after seeing a few pieces feel they have seen them all. Nor do I ever want to become the “…” guy in regards to what my voice is saying via images I use to do so.
Semi recently I started mixing it up with my Cinefield® works as I had previously been doing with my drawings & paintings.
The challenge I presented to myself this time was to use only one image and one of a limited color palette.
The initial wave of Pop art was portraying common objects or scenes, things which could easily be considered lowbrow of plebeian. It was not the objects portrayed which made a work Pop art, it was an ironic emotional detachment. Someone like Wayne Thiebaud often gets lumped in with the Pop artists for his wonderful paintings of cakes and other sweets. However there is painterly intent and definite emotion involved. He is not pop
He followed in tradition which started with the impressionists of showing objects that they encountered every day. Drinks and drinkers were often used as subject matter as cafes were de facto ‘offices” for artists and dealers.
Le Buver d’Absinthe (1859) by Edouard Manet
L’Absinthe (1876/6) by Edgar Degas
Buveur d’Absinthe (1901) by Pablo Picasso
Painted Bronze (Two Ale Cans) 1964 by Jasper Johns.
It occurred to me after I started my piece that I was working, a link in a long chain of artistic tradition. I had previously done flowers, faces and cityscapes and it was the novelty of subject which initially appealed to me though, not the tradition. Before anyone accuses me of pretension, I had gotten both a bottle of good whiskey and one of Absinthe for my birthday. I tried photographing the whisky bottle first but it was just a dark brown with no color variations, I next tried the Absinthe which worked better, this being my only impetus for using it.
I took three photos, not moving the bottle but standing in front of it, besides it and behind it. As is true with all my Cinefield® work, I only used photos that I personally took, working no digital magic. I used my trusty scissors and adhesive applies with a brush.
The work is 7×10. Soundtrack György Sándor playing Batrok’s Mikrokosmos books III-IV, kini Rao (various), Sun Ra Lanquidity.
Addendum: People are still under the impression that Absinthe was illegal either because of the wormwood or the high alcohol content. Neither of which was true. Some politicians in France had major interests in certain vineyards and importers/bottling concessions. Absinthe was cheaper and lasted longer so workers turned from wine to that. The outlawing of Absinthe was first and foremost a financial consideration.
My In the Eights series has garnered an audience which I am pleased about. My one reservation, using found images to take my trusty scissors to, has become a non issue as people now volunteer to model. As it is an ongoing project, i am always open to new models. Email me for details.
They are meant to be beautiful but also slightly off putting. One part H.P Lovecraft and one part Impressionist painting.
As always, there is no digital magic, just trusty scissors and adhesive applied with a brush. roughly 3×5. Special thanks to model Beauty
I never want to repeat myself. There are some of my direct peers whose works I enjoy but after knowing them for a few years came the feeling that once you had seen a few of their pieces, you have seen it all. One way to sidestep this is by constantly mixing things up, leaving one’s comfort zone.
For myself, I do this by shaking up my methodology, intentionally putting aside things which I know will work procedurally or which I have done already a few times.
I always like to have my work possess a sort of open ended quality so that the viewer feels that there is a story within but it is up to each person to decide what it is.
This time I changed that up making a work which is intentionally programmatic.
The two books i return to time and again over the course of my life are Homer and Dante. I am far from the first artist in visual arts or letters to find inspiration within the pages of these two works. The appeal for all of us is that they offer so many possibilities of dramatic moments. And even two artists showing the same scene will present two completely different works.
I did not choose a specific scene from Dante. Instead, it is the idea of him following the shade of Virgil, seeing all the shades in their free falls on their way to the various rings.
I only used images for which i personally took the photos. The very bottom section is water rather than flames/lava. I felt that any kind of flame thing would be a little too on the nose, also i had not taken photos of any flames. As always, there is no digital magic. I just used my trusty scissors and adhesive applied with a brush.
Sheltering in place (still), I used whatever materials I had in hand. With all the figures, I got some cardboard, from packages delivered and constructed a little stage. I then painted it white. I painted each figure, applying different coats as to get color variations of darker and lighter blues and reds. I then took photos of the figures from various angles as to have it seem a myriad of different types of people rather than merely the five or six. Top views, side views etc, further create the effect of many types of people on their way to the deserved rings.
I always have a design in mind beforehand and primitively sketch it out. More often than not, as I am actually creating the piece, i tighten up the design. This piece originally had several clock faces from photos i took of the great clock at the Musée d’Orsay. I was going have a row dark blue versions of the girl seen in upper left corner as if the line were falling off top each clock to join all other shades. I was so pleased with the effect of depth and movement in the background of the vast crowd, i decided against it, feeling that it would detract.
I had been working on a large project and so knew doing a full scale Cinefield® was not possible. I get equal enjoyment from my ongoing “In the Eights” series. Their benefit being that they do not take up as much studio space and so I can do them at same time as something else.
For this series within the series, I had the pleasure of Kini Rao posing for me. She fully embraced my ethos of truth is beauty and her pieces are all the more stronger for it. No digital magic is used, just my trusty scissors and adhesive applied by brush. Each one is roughly 3×5
I am always considering new models for the series. If interested send me an email.
Over the course of the past year have adopted the rhythm of doing a Cinefield® then a painting (while maintaining steady flow of nightly drawings & 8’s). At the start of a painting it rained for days off and on. I put it aside, the novelty of doing so being in itself of value for my creative process.
I started a new Cinefield® , the creation of which I do not need sunlight for.
Even though the shapes are lush and abstract, I wanted to see if I could achieve an open ended, open to interpretation sense of narrative.
“Bing-Bong” The piece is 11×14. As always all the images are from photos I personally took. There is no digital magic just my trusty scissors and adhesive applied by brush.
To anyone that reads my blog, it is immediately apparent that I take what I do very seriously. I am writing from the point of view of someone who is a professional working artist, so some of my advice or point of view will not apply to the hobbyist or anyone who has a “regular” job to earn their daily bread.
Numbers on social media & blogs still seem of the utmost importance. Whether intentionally sneaky or not, many people hunt for images, taking without attribution anything that strikes their fancy. You can copyright your image and if it is taken you have recourse. With concept or ideas however, it’s a different problem. If you have a concept that you work to articulate and brand and someone comes along with ten times the followers or who spends half their day online working their sites, it oddly becomes theirs. Unless you have taken the proper precautions.
I have gotten really into my collage and every time I do one i have learned a bit more. I feel with life in general, one must every now and then have an inner dialogue, even about established things that they know, as further articulation can provide more depth and layers to the thing(s). This week marks a year that I have been doing collages. (not my sole output as there has been a novel, short story collection, essays, paintings and countless drawings). While I still like my early ones, I recognize that they have gotten better and better.
One of the reasons this occurred is that I was constantly refining my methodology and philosophy while honing my skill. It may not be necessary for every artist but I came up with a description & mission statement for my collages. I created a word Cinefield® which is now a legally registered trademark.
Cinefield® “Flat, two-dimensional visual works of art on paper which create the feeling of movie like narratives through a composition of image rich and story like printed pictures”
I did this to show my seriousness in the medium but also the great affection which I have for it too. This is my second piece under this newly minted label. As usual, there is no digital magic. I used my trusty scissors on photos which I personally took, applying adhesive with a brush. The piece is 11×14.
What feels like another lifetime ago, I made a CD. I felt very self conscious and looking back, judge my performances to be widely uneven. The parts that I can still bare to listen to, at the time I thought of nothing but what I was doing (talk/singing). The parts which are not as great, i was self conscious of the faces I couldn’t help but make while performing. A sort of seizure- scrunched up- ecstasy morphing into drawn- down horsey longness.
Way after the fact I felt what I had already intellectually known, no one listening to CD would think “Wow, I bet he had on weird faces while doing this.” And, that aside I now know it is highly subjective anyways. If one is a fan of a band, then in concert when singer looks like he perhaps could use an un-sharpened pencil put in their mouth, you think “Wow, he is really getting into it, this is intense.” Someone not into the band seeing same performance may snicker.
My In the Eights series is capturing looks we give but would largely prefer others not see. They are slurred to surrealistic proportions as I wanted to make it beautiful and off putting. It is not so much that for each of us our “eights” are there just below the surface, they come out, making appearances when we laugh, cry, are drunk, climax or for some of us, feel anger. It’s the terrible beauty.
The genesis of this series. My regular collages are very time consuming and slowly take over my studio with sheets of paper upon which rest tiny paper snowflakes. I alternate between doing a painting and collage. I worked hard to gain my collage chops and found as i worked on painting I missed it. I absolutely could not do both at once. When I am on the road, I am still creating but with the way my collage work is, that is all I would be doing. I came up with the idea to do drastically smaller ones which I would be able to do on the road and also while working on painting. Since I had the road in mind i knew I would not be able to use 100% my own images as I usually do. I also realized I may not be able to achieve my preferred density. The answer was to do portraits. My first few 8’s were found pictures. Reluctantly, I showed them. People really liked them an encouraged me to do more. I was able to get people to model for me which had been my one initial qualm about showing them initially.
They are small, all being roughly index card sized. I work no digital magic, utilizing old school technique of scissors and adhesive applied with a brush. As it is an ongoing series, I am always looking for new models, email me for details.
During the pandemic I have made constructive use of my time about 90% of the time. Of course now and then I need a break from working & thinking. I’ve tried watching some of the genre shows people talk about. The shows which take place post-apocalyptic, the writing at best is “I wonder what is going to happen next?” Missing from all of these type shows is a largely untouched upon important component.
Of course in middle of a zombie outbreak first consideration is escape, safety. Shelter, food and ability to defend oneself are the primary concerns understandably. Some of these shows have been on for years and they do not really show the toll which would be taken on humanity collectively with the loss of culture. Making things (of beauty) just for the sake of doing so or if one does not have those skills, then viewing them. Life without culture as non-stop collecting or searching for the basic essentials would see a profound rewiring of mankind’s way of acting and thinking. After “X” amount of time, would it even be worth sticking around?
This mental fast food made me reflect on our current situation. I do not think it the duty of artists to put specific messages, rhetoric or agenda in their works. I do however think that, especially in in trying times, it is every artists’ duty to do their thing, create something beautiful.
It serves as a reminder of the better part of humanity awaiting us all when the trouble is over. It unites us all in reminding us there are things which are not unpleasant that link us all all together. One can not avoid bad times, we are all trapped by history. As artists we can put beauty out there, a page saver for when our thoughts and actions can once again look past merely surviving.
Offered up beauty. As usual all the images are from photos I personally took. No digital magic was used, just scissors and adhesive applied with brush.