I am an artist, not a writer. My Intent is not to educate, enlighten or inspire but rather to clarify my motivations to myself. I find that when I write down the thoughts and reasons that I take certain paths, it helps me to avoid repeating the same mistakes over and over again. Let's face it, authentic work evolves through a series of mistakes, lessons learned and options eliminated.
I like to relate developing an appreciation of art and beauty to that of developing the taste for fine wine. Complexity is the key. At first you like a sweet wine, probably fruit flavored, maybe served over ice in a fruit jar. The equivalent of a black velvet Elvis in the art world. As your taste develops, and becomes more sophisticated, you opt for something with more character. That's not to say that there are no excellent sweet wines, there are, but when talking about art, I correlate beauty with sweetness. A painting of a field of bluebonnets with a farm house in the background and a jersey cow chewing it's cud, can be drop dead gorgeous and appealing, but runs the risk of being devoid of complexity and thus saccharine in it's sweetness. Art, as well as wine, are both manmade and therefor need to be allowed to reveal the personality and complexity that went into their creation. A rose by any definition is beautiful, but it owes it's beauty to the divinity of it's creation and purpose of it's design. If the only purpose of a painting is to photographically mimic the perfection of a rose, it becomes an exercise of futility devoid of creativity. What's the point?. Don't get me wrong there are plenty paintings of roses that are beautiful while still maintaining character and depth necessary for a good work of art. It is not about subject matter, it is about the matter of the subject. I am an abstract painter but I greatly admire many traditional artists. A Musician who performs an existing composition, interjecting his own style and creativity can be just as much of an artist as the person who originally wrote and performed it. Good art transcends, it may be disturbing, It can even be repugnant, but authentic art has grit and character of depth that gives insight into it's nature and origin. It tells a not so obvious story that has to be savored and contemplated to be appreciated. It is OK not to like a work of art but it is naive not to acknowledge it. So yes, good art can be beautiful and often times is but it is not necessary and definitely not a prerequisite.
To produce these limited edition prints, I digitize high resolution photos of my original cement art. Then I combine, manipulate and digitally paint the surface creating new images. Giclee prints are made in editions of 100 each on heavy acid free satin finished stock, using permanent archival inks. I need feedback. Do you feel these are a valid extension of my cement art? Good idea or bad?
I have never really been able to force myself to do a series. I always get bored or hit a dead end, but I feel like now is the time to give it a shot. This is what I consider to be a small piece, so I wagered very little in terms of materials and time. A major part of my job as an artists is to experiment. That unanswered question "what if", supplies me with the proverbial high I get when all is risked with no guaranties. This piece appeals to my sensibilities to the point that I want to make it a jumping off point and take the risk of working larger. Scale has always been important to me. It is easy for me to zero in on a small portion of one of my works and find something exciting. It is difficult to reproduce that segment larger and keep the excitement. Scale is the reason. The marks made on the smaller piece have to be scaled up. Meaning larger brushes and drawing implements. I don't mean to try and reproduce an actual small segment or piece I've already done. That would be boring and pointless. What I mean to do, is try to accomplish it's simplicity on a larger scale. So after I have had time to thoroughly digest this piece, I plan on doing a series of similar works but larger.
"Riyada" 30"x 36" polished cement & dry pigment on panel
It was interesting that I had a client in the studio to watched as I pried this piece off the glass (the reveal). I never know what I am gong to see. It could be an embarrassing moment. Thankfully it turned out well.
I filmed the process of this piece from start to finish. It is interesting to contemplate how starting and stopping, fiddling with the camera or playing with the angle of the shot, effected the final outcome of the work. Anyway, I plan on posting the video as soon as it is edited.
I added more image to the left side of this piece because it just felt like it needed it. Check out 2 posts ago to see it before. One of the advantages of this medium is I can ad to it without having to make it a diptych.
“Haute couture” 36”x 30” polished cement & pigment on panel
I visited the Dallas Museum of Art and saw the Jean Paul Gaultier fashion exhibition. It was incredible! The lines were to! I visited the museum during the last day of the show. At the end of the day it was at least a 2 hour wait to get into the show but it was worth it. I was inspired to produce the image above, my tribute to Jean Paul.
I have found that is difficult to just let the chips fall where they may. That is sort of what it feels like as I'm doing in my work. But I do believe that many years of experience fosters an unconscious knowing that guides my hand. I find that too much dependence on conscious effort can lead to a trite outcome devoid of surprise and opportunities to learn and grow. I continually ask myself, "what If". If I already know the answer, it's time to move on. My art is about discovering new problems, not solving them.
If the point is to make something that's simply "okay", better. You have to be willing to take a chance. This piece was "okay" (see previous post) but it did not excite me. So, I decided to break it, literally! The anticipation of the uncertain result was exhilarating but the fear of killing the "bird in the hand", was palpable. I mustered all my courage and forged ahead. I know what my feelings are with the results but I would like to get your honest feedback.
“Respite” 30”x 36” polished cement & dry pigment on panel
Hope everyone had a great holiday. I took some much needed time off from my art but now it is time to return to my passion. Every time I remove myself from my work for a period of time, it seems that doubts about it's validity creep into my mind. This always enables a state of debilitating depression. The only cure seems to be to push on through and do the work. I am tentative at first but hope that confidence will return as new pieces emerge.