Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Not mine, but something that needs saying once and awhile.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Glimpse and Gimps

I realize I have spent some time talking about one of my current projects, at length even, but have not been addressing other things I have been working on. Perhaps I relish in my occasional mystery and grand reveal, but I can say this: other than learning ink techniques and scribbling furiously in sketchbooks, I have been gathering materials for a new endeavor. Costumery and raw material.

I have taken a liking to printing photographs on metal, so with that in mind, here are some teasing glimpses.

Perhaps a familiar face to some.

But perhaps less so now. The model referred to it one night as an "effigy of agony" and the name sort of stuck. Disregard the fez, my sketches are not so sacred that they are spared a few spontaneous strokes. Or maybe I am just saying that to mislead you. Perhaps it is more amusing to speculate.

Oh wait this is not a teasing reveal of things to come involving plague doctor masks and bondage gear! This is a large burly man with no clothes on! How did this get in here!? I simply will have to have a word with my production and promotional staff.

A Degree of Mother Fucking Art

It is said that the best way to learn is to teach, and I've never been one to disagree. It's something I enjoy very much, though the chances I've had to do so have been fewer than I'd like. Some summer classes, helping friends and colleagues, that sort of thing.

For some time I had been considering continuing my education, and had certainly gotten encouragement from a number of people to do so, but remained on the fence - getting a Masters is costly, work intensive, and would be hard to juggle with, well, my life. But I love learning. I would stay in school forever if someone gave me the opportunity to. It weighed on my thoughts.

There are few straight up benefits to a Fine Arts Masters, some might consider it a vanity, but it is the route to a career in academia at the college level. As in, teaching.

Last night I spent hours in a Denny's, sketchbook laid out, helping someone in the principles of drawing. He had been drawing for all of his 24 years, and wanted some pointers. At the end of the night, looking over his work he said, "these are the best drawings I have ever made in my entire life." He'd spent years studying anatomy, certain skills, but had never had the structures to put it all together, the tricks I take for granted, the framework. He kept flipping back through the pages, a look of happiness on his face that I'd seldom seen on him. It was amazing to make such a difference in such a small but significant way.

Over time, I've gotten distracted and spun out like a length of thread. I maintained that getting a Masters and becoming a professor were a good way to deal with my life and the trials brought on by my body's insufferable medical condition, but I'd forgotten something important.

I really want to teach.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Anamnesis Closing Reception

Assorted photos taken at the closing reception of my Anamnesis show.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Taken at Busch Gardens, Jan. 19th. She had just finished feeding the meerkats.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

The Greatest Stage

I've been thinking a lot about tourism lately, namely around here in the good ole' sunshine state, my home since as long as I can recall. But honestly I am not sure why.

I've never had any fascination with tourism, or even kitsch, though I have certain soft spots for it. Florida simply oozes both of these things, with it's amusement parks, resorts, and seaside boutiques, but I've never paid it too much mind, it was always simply a "thing that is".

Yet lately I HAVE been considering it. It started with a trip to Busch Gardens. I live nearby, and my beau and I bought each other passes for Christmas. We were waiting in an exceptionally long line - a new ride had opened. So I had a lot of time to sit, stare, and - our favorite - people watch. Between comments on the girl in the leopard spandex pants and the lady with hair liberally daubed with glitter, I noticed some slats in the wall, through which I could see large mechanical structures, grey and boring, like air conditioning vents. I wonder, I said then, why they did not cover it up. My companion declared that he liked it, and so it was.

Later we caroused about in the middle of the night on one of the local beaches. Staring through the closed shop windows we encountered an especially buxom mannequin garbed in a bikini. Oh what a delight! I had been to the store before, when it was open and knew it to be also home to a giant stuffed gator and endless amounts of shot glasses that bore the name of anyone at all. It was all awful, cheap, basically junk. But there it was, taking up prime real estate. So strange.

The seeds, I think, were planted then. I recalled some time later an article I'd read about a man who photographs postcards - a Florida icon that is slowly dying in favor of emails and digital photos. One bit in particular led me to look it up again:

"He taught me - and it was a good lesson - that a postcard photographer has to pretend he is standing in the tourist's shoes when he makes that photo."

A postcard has to be a cliche, he learned, though a well-composed one. The sunset has to be golden. There should be a big fish at the end of that line instead of a boot. A postcard has to be an ideal, but it has to look as if the tourist might have taken the picture had he owned the right equipment. (The full article)

And so there it is. We crave this kitsch because that is the way it should be. It is what we want and expect and in some ways need.

We are all playing pretend.

This great big group of people playing make believe with Mickey Mouse and endless sunshine. That is why those grey boxes struck me, they were a tiny chink in this giant carefully staged facade. And that was interesting to me, more so than the display itself which I am at this point immune to.

In fact, when I took pictures yesterday on a grey, rainy "winter" day, I was interested in the strange emptiness, the forlorn landscapes. I was fascinated by the tourists themselves - I was, perhaps, being a tourist of tourists. This strange balance of viewership, voyeurism, expectation, and staging is beginning to wrap itself into constructs in my mind.

I want to explore it more.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012


Please take time out to contact your representatives today about SOPA/PIPA and support a free internet.

Find out more about your specific representative and their views here.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Link Parade

Ah yes, a new year has begun and spring is in the air. My break is over and its time to get back to work. Anyone excited about new up and coming pieces? Of course you are. I can see it in your eyes.

However, you shall have to wait. For now, you can look at some other snippets, new and old, and sate your hunger for art.

To start I give you Riusuke Fukahori. If you only look at one link in this blog, let it be this one. Riusuke uses a technique that involves alternating applications of paint and resin, building up 3-D impressions of fish and their environs. Just incredible. Watch the video.

I am really really digging the work of Drew Young.

A mysterious unknown artist is leaving elaborate sculptures made of books in libraries across Scotland. Simply fantastic.

Jólan van der Wiel uses metal fillings and melted plastic to create furniture by pulling up the legs with heavy magnets. You can see a nice video about them here.

Zander Olsen created a work I absolutely adore called Tree Line. I can't for the life of me, however, find evidence of anything else he has done.

Tyree Callahan made a type writer that, well, types paintings. They read as sort of abstract, misty landscapes. Be sure to check out the rest of West Collects while you are there.

WebUrbanist has a great post about art in abandoned places. I especially like the work of Marjan Teeuwen, but her site is fairly indecipherable.

Is digital art accepted yet? No? Ok. Anyway, Michal Lisowski.

Speaking of digital, where is that line that divides commercial art and illustration with fine art. I know of many artists who freely walk back and forth, while students are often frowned at in some crowds when their work looks too like something you would see in a mall or billboard. A point to discuss.

I have never much cared for furniture, but I really enjoy Vivian Chiu.

A work by German street artist, Tasso

Irina Werning does some masterful replication of old photos and family snapshots.

Kate Kretz is a multi-media artist who works with a lot of "traditional" media for women - embroidery and sewing - as well as painting. Don't let this throw you off though, her work is top notch, and I am guiltily digging the vagina dentata purse.

Gavin Worth creates some really elegant wire sculptures, as well as other constructs and designs.

Every two years in Bregenz, Austria, they construct a stage for performances that floats in the lake next to the city. They are always amazing. Check some out here.

I've always enjoyed the work of Kehinde Wiley, just as I always forget his name when I wish to bring him up in conversation.

I was going to talk about Bob Verschueren, but his website is absolutely intolerable. I'm serious, I'm not linking it.

I know that set building and miniatures is sort of en vogue right now, but I really enjoy the work of Frank Kunert. It's realistic enough that people often mistake his set photographs as real places.

Ola Harström

So. A 6-foot long camera that uses x-ray film for the image. That's pretty cool I guess.

Regine Ramsier used a special treatment to freeze dandelion bulbs in place to create this stunning installation.

The winners of the 2011 National Geographic Photo Contest.

This artist uses high speed photography to capture water droplets, nothing too unusual nowadays, but his flickr set also contains photos of the setups he uses to make the images. Certainly worth a look.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012


Sorry I have not been on the ball with posting recently, and in fact I had been so busy that it slipped my mind to mention something really exciting!

I currently have a show up at the Centre Gallery, a student run facility on the USF campus.

You can find out more at the Facebook event page here.

From the event page:

"The Centre Gallery Presents “Anamnesis”
A self-exploration of identity and disability through multi-media
Tampa, FL (January 5, 2012) – From January 9 through 20, the Centre Gallery at the University of South Florida will host Anamnesis. Visitors to the gallery will be exposed to the artists’ representation of self and are encouraged to take an inward look at themselves and their own ideas of self as part of the experience. The exhibit will include various multi-media pieces including hand toned paper, charcoals, ink, paint, and other materials. There is also a photographic series that consists of digital compositions created through multiple steps of process, including self portraiture and vellum assemblages. Other works include sculptural materials such as clay, wax, plastic sheeting, and wood.

“With work like this it would be too easy to say something like “the inner workings of my mind, self expression” or so on. But that's not really true. They are really just getting the imprints of some process that is going on in my head, a symptom or evidence of a greater whole.”

Shannon Buchanan, 24, is currently a Senior set to graduate next fall with a BFA in Art studio.

The Anamnesis reception will be held from 7 to 9 p.m. on Friday, January 20th, in the Centre Gallery at the Marshall Student Center in room 2700, 4202 E. Fowler Ave., Tampa, Fla. It is free and open to the public. Gallery hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.
For more information, please contact the Centre Gallery at 813-974-5464.
About the Centre Gallery Centre Gallery is an innovative, student-run art exhibition space at the University of South Florida. Located in the Marshall Student Center room 2700, Centre Gallery (www.centregallery.usf.edu) is free and open to the public. The gallery hours are Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m."

The show features some all new work, and I really hope I will see a nice turn out during it's run and for the reception. I know the readership of this blog is limited to "people who probably already know this is happening", but it's never bad to have the information out there and available.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

My Website

I suppose I should mention that my website has launched - actually it did awhile ago, but I in all my amazingness forgot to add a link from this blog, and not just from the site to here.

Anyway, here it is:


I hope it was worth the wait.