Tuesday, January 27, 2015

"Collage is the twentieth century's greatest innovation." - Robert Motherwell

Thank you Mr. Motherwell!  Collage may be the twentieth century's greatest innovation, but in the twentieth first century it sometimes gets a bad rep. I can't tell you how many times someone has come up to me and said, " collage is so easy" or " it just cutting out paper, you can do hundreds in an afternoon!" Really, because I've tried and they look like crap! No matter how much or many you do It takes lots of work to make anything look effortless, just look at any of Matisse's works. Even as a painter he did numerous amount of collages called "gouaches decoupes". He was great, look at all that paper at his feet!  When Matisse became sick with cancer later in his career, he found away to still do what he could no longer do with a brush. It was away of reaching for something new! Checkout last weeks episode of Sunday Morning, and be inspired! 

Artists are trying to figure out how best to get their message to the world. Matisse is a great example, he used collage not as a way out, but as a tool to stay in. We live in best artistic period, where access to all sorts of media and material is at the tips of our fingers. In my practice I have always tried to add an assortment of materials like printmaking, painting, drawing and found fabrics to my works to get the most distance with them.  People may view collage as simple or easy ... I really don't give a shit. What I do care about is answering the bigger questions in my practice. How best to formulate my message so that it doesn't get lost in all the other constructs in the world.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Deborah Roberts: Studio visits... Love them?

Deborah Roberts: Studio visits... Love them?: So, I had a studio visit yesterday and was feeling pumped afterwards! Scott Sherer director of the UTSA Art Gallery and I talked about the...

Deborah Roberts: Studio visits... Love them?

Deborah Roberts: Studio visits... Love them?: So, I had a studio visit yesterday and was feeling pumped afterwards! Scott Sherer director of the UTSA Art Gallery and I talked about the...

Studio visits... Love them?

So, I had a studio visit yesterday and was feeling pumped afterwards! Scott Sherer director of the UTSA Art Gallery and I talked about the work, my practice and how best to create new pathways to push the work into multiple directions without getting lost in old troupes. We talked for hours as a second year Grad student looked on.
I felt pretty goods afterwards, but this isn't always the case. As we all know, some studio visits can have a polarizing effect on ones "fragile" psyche. I mean just getting ready for a visit can cause anxiety for me.  I know what's happening in my work but..but do they see it? If not, do i really care? or should i care?
In an Huffington post article last week, a young artist asked, "Do i really need other people looking at my work?"http://www.huffingtonpost.com/clara-lieu/ask-the-art-professor-how_14_b_6435828.html
 The author posits, "No artist can rely exclusively on themselves to critique their artwork; bringing in an outside eye is essential". This is so true, sometimes having other eyes on the work can be highly beneficial.

In my own visit with Scott, he liked works i had cast aside for one reason or another. His take on them gave me pause. Will i take a second look? maybe, who knows. Studio visits can be hard, in Grad school i would hear some students just be torn apart, is this really helpful? I don't know, I've found it useful to absorb everything and then place it where it best benefits you! Sometimes that may be the garbage and sometimes it maybe inspiration for a new body of work. Regardless of the consequences its vital that you receive a broad range of suggestions and thoughts on your work so that you can improve and move forward. So, come on invite someone in!

Monday, January 19, 2015

The role of the Negro artist. (1926) by Langston Hughes.

"Certainly there is, for the American Negro artist who can escape the restrictions the more advanced among his own group would put upon him, a great field of unused material ready for his art. Without going outside his race, and even among the better classes with their "white" culture and conscious American manners, but still Negro enough to be different, there is sufficient matter to furnish a black artist with a lifetime of creative work. And when he chooses to touch on the relations between Negroes and whites in this country, with their innumerable overtones and undertones surely, and especially for literature and the drama, there is an inexhaustible supply of themes at hand. To these the Negro artist can give his racial individuality, his heritage of rhythm and warmth, and his incongruous humor that so often, as in the Blues, becomes ironic laughter mixed with tears. But let us look again at the mountain. The road for the serious black artist, then, who would produce a racial art is most certainly rocky and the mountain is "high". Langston Hughes

 I thought this was the perfect statement as i try working through what is it like to be viewed as human.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

What good are drawing books and should I keep them, forever?

Suddenly, I find myself besieged by old drawing books, did I ever throw any of them away? I guess not. Today I went around my apartment and counted how many drawing books do I have and was surprised that I had thirty five! Yes, thirty five, now don't get me wrong there's a broad range of books here. Some I haven't look at in years, just waiting for a glance when that inspirational well has dipped to its lowest point and I needed an artistic a hand up.  Drawing books have held my dreams, fears and my voice for a very long time and by the looks of them my heart.  
I have drawing books ranging from around 1993 to 2015. Some from my time in France, San Francisco, Syracuse, lots from the time I lived at my parents home (whew) those are at the bottom, and my gallery and so on. Then there are those who just fueled my love of pen and ink, watercolor and line, they're my refuge ... my armor. Why have continually ignored them? they hold a rich history, my history as an artist, my failures and my victories. And unfortunately, lots of notes and phone numbers ... geez couldn't I've looked for a piece of scrap paper. I ruined lots of nice drawing by writing in the picture, what a waste. 

 When I decided to do some small drawings to kick start my practice after leaving grad school I choose to pick up a drawing book. I am starting over, new fresh exciting clean white pages, this is exactly what I needed.  I made it threw thirteen collages before I was getting lost in trying to make "super"good shit! In frustration I saw my old drawing books I'd shelved, I thumbed through them for ideas or past ideas that hadn't panned out. And like before they gave back, so what good are drawing book? They're priceless! So keep them safe.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

What inspires you? ARTFORUM, ARTnews or Modern Painter?

Lately, I have been asking myself, which of these art journals should I invest my money in a monthly  script? I find that when I read ARTFORUM I am excited to see that artists all over the world are invested in their practice in ways i have yet to realize in mine. Damn, do I need to see that when I am working on my stuff?! When I look at Modern Painters and I'm proud.. it's just a matter of time before others (I mean collectors, museum directors, galleries, and curators) will see my work and see that I am in dialogue with what peers are doing.  It's all about the language, bro and I am singing in my practice. Honestly, these periodicals inspire me it different ways so, maybe I should empty out my penny jar and get all three because we have to invest in our practice.

Monday, January 5, 2015

My Progress report!

My progress report concerning my effort to create new works "post" grad school. What's the next step or steps? I have always champion the notion, that if things were getting a little confusing in your studio practice and you can't figure a way forward always go small. I mean really small and do a lot of them, maybe 25 or 30 little drawing or paintings. For me this creates energy, a spark that fuels my creative juices. I have a couple of shows coming up and i need a kick!
So, I went out and purchased a new drawing book (sigh) like I need another one and started doing these small collages of this little girl. I think there are 25 pages in the book... I'll use the month of January to fill it up. Here are my first 4, later I will figure out what I need these to say, but for now I am just working blindly,  not questioning or controlling the narrative.
Art is hard.

Friday, January 2, 2015

James Baldwin

To be a Negro in this country and to be relatively conscious is to be in a rage almost all the time.

New Year, big dreams!

Time to get going! look for me in Chicago and NYC this year