Beautiful Decay Magazine's website posted a trip to San Francisco and a visit to CCA. They showed my school garden so now I can brag that it's famous, but it's already getting full of itself. (photo by Amir)
It was a gorgeous day in San Francisco where I planned to meet my dear friend, Lucy, and some friends at the de Young Museum in Golden Gate Park for the Birth of Impressionism exhibition. Lucy, a Masters degree student at Columbia in social work, was leaving for NY to a more rough and tumbly world, (including long term research in the NY jail!), in just a few days. What a contrast however, to first stroll around this beautiful park and catch a little Parisian Museum culture on loan to San Francisco before studying the slammer.
The Botanical Garden
Entrance to the park with the Academy of Sciences straight ahead (that dome is their "living roof"), where the de Young sits right across the street. Inside the Contemporary Art room, I found Lucy and Kenya pondering skateboarder art.
Part of the Bay Area Figurative room; a David Park and an Elmer Bischoff.
You gotta love (or at least admire) the technical skill of painter Gottfried Helnwein.
Upstairs in the textile room, a sweet surprise; my favorite fashion duo, Rodarte, in a tie-dye exhibition.
I can never get enough of the headdresses and adornments of the Oceania section.
Dorking out with my favorite headdress. It's six feet tall and has a whole stuffed bird in the middle!
Inside the Birth of Impressionism exhibition; there were many lovely "Before" Impressionism works, i.e. realistic, beautiful, and decadent nudes and allegory paintings. This one was in the Bridging Impressionism section- getting a little loose around the edges.
This one's totally dark! I got in trouble after this shot with one of the many security guards for sneaking photos so I didn't get any shots of the Manets, Degas, Cezannes, or Whistlers. It was a great show, though, and I was surprised to find I loved a lot of the work I thought I might have found a little stuffy. Still, I could give or take Renoir. Yawn.
Culture Club: Lucy's sis Phoebe, Lucy, Kenya, and me.
Lucy and Darrol in matching Ray Bans. We're going to miss you Lucy!
An unsung hero, in my opinion, Agnolo Bronzino, the most goth of all Mannerists of the 17th Century, is my ultimate favorite portrait artist. While he is most often credited with paintings of Venus and Cupid, as well as religious imagery, I think his best works are his portrait sittings, where he combines surreal beauty with uncanny, darkly psychological expressions. What a master of the human condition.
Dina, my gallerist, is out in Southampton getting ready for my art opening at Alice + Olivia, which they have set for August 20th. I shipped the work and she bought the frames and then sent me an image of them all together in a row, like little kids on the first day of school.
I was recently featured in a strange street fashion/art mash-up post by Mr Price Blog/ In the Fashion Loop that I would have never expected but I kinda liked. It leads me to question how my work fits into the art world as well as the fashion world. While the paintings borrow imagery from fashion, I don't feel I should be regarded as an illustrator in any way, of which I often am labeled. My images are based on the work of many industry professionals: the photographer, the clothing designer, the lighting techs, the beauty people, and the models themselves, but get reinterpreted.
So what am I doing that is any different? I ask myself that all the time. I think the difference is removing the image from the glossy page of the magazine and asking you to look at it as a painting. I want to know what similarities come up from seeing it in the same context another portrait painting, like a Bronzino, or even a Kurt Kauper. What are the boundaries? What is stealing and what is inventive?
Fashion images fascinate me and I suppose it should come as no surprise that I get the most love from the fashion-inspired blogosphere, and for that I am grateful. I still can't help getting confused. I hope people don't think I created the whole image from scratch. I couldn't design a dress for my ladies one percent as amazing as Gaultier would and I don't want the false credit. I didn't even make up the hair styles in all cases- the one below is courtesy of i-D. Now Vlada riding around in her hair? That was me.
Six weeks of drawing, painting, detailing, along with a summertime cold and a vacation at my mom's, working six days a week and and the occasional crap-out, lazy day and I still got all my drawings done for my upcoming show at Alice + Olivia in the Hamptons! Finally I can relax! I am celebrating having shipped them out by sitting in my pajamas and watching guilty pleasure TV. What do you mean I have to figure out my thesis? I have to watch Hell's Kitchen!
I sometimes dream about getting out of the city and imposing myself at my mom's house in Nevada City as a sort of nature refuge/art residency program, but last week was the first time I really used my visit as an art-making excuse. I had a looming deadline for my show in Southampton and with four days off, what better timing to get out of the cloudy Bay Area and take my drawing supplies up into the sun of the Sierra Foothills.
Growing up there, I really never took advantage of any of the natural beauty of the mountains because I saw it every day and it just looked like a bunch of trees and dirt. But this time, as I took early morning walks with the dogs, I saw things I never noticed before. The trees were all shades of green and yellow, the bugs and animals were simply doing their things, and the symmetry of the plant life was inspiring. I felt like Emerson or Whitman, exploring the small, quiet mastery of the natural world around me. If I am getting off on a hippie tangent, it was only because I was quite in the moment, and it really was beautiful there.
A mighty companion.
Art + Nature= Nerd
I was thinking about picking blackberries all the way up there. I washed em right in the creek and ate them as I walked the dog.
We went to the lake nearby one day where my mom showed me a cove I'd never seen before.
Another walking buddy.
A wild raspberry! I ate it. I am fascinated by headdresses right now, so when I saw this ring of plants I immediately thought of a headdress on the ground. I tried to lay down and take a picture of it behind me but I couldn't quite get it in there and I was glad no one saw me trying to do this.
I was on my way to the opening of Triple Base's most recent exhibition, "Now it's About What You Can't See", (featuring my buddy Rachel Foster, with Mara Baldwin, a recent CCA grad, Chechu Alava, a French painter, and Eleanor Kent, a working artist whose artwork dates back to the Bay Area Figurative Movement of the 1960s), when I passed Tahiti Pehrson's project for the Art in Storefronts Project.
The Art in Storefronts Project is funded by the city of San Francisco and sponsors artists to set up work in uninhabited spaces of the city to brighten the place up a bit. I saw Tahiti's window installation on 24th street when it opened in December, and I was pleasantly surprised to see it was still up so I could get a few photos.
Tahiti's work consists of millions of cut-out paper pieces layered together to form really lovely patterns and narratives. A few years ago we had a two-person show at 111 Minna and I have admired his work ever since. When I asked him how his work was coming for an upcoming exhibition, he said his tendons were like rocks. Now that's dedication to a craft.
Then I walked down the street to Triple Base. Here is Mara Baldwin's wallpaper and watercolor collaged piece. Another artist with supreme attention to detail.
CCA ladies of the evening, Rachel Foster and Natasha Wheat. I think they were discussing the lengths they would go to further our careers upon graduating next year.
Rachel Foster's witty ghost-like white on white silkscreen on the walls.
Another Mara Baldwin drawing.
An early Eleanor Kent painting from the Bay Area Figurative days.
Someone checking out the tons of new flat file works in the back room.
The scene (that's Eleanor Kent in the foreground).