Saturday, November 26, 2011

Headlands Fall Open Studios 2011

Here I am with another belated post.  I took pictures of my trip up to Headlands Center for the Arts in Sausalito during their Fall Open Studios day a couple months ago.  Given that the studios are only open to the public two or three times a year, maybe my post is still worth perusing.  Headlands is one of the only big ticket attractions the Bay Area has to boast about to international artists.  As a residency center, some of their studios are devoted to local artists and some by invitation and competition to artists from around the world.
As a semi-local (I spent a lot of my childhood in and around the Bay Area), as well as having studied art in San Francisco for the past eight years or so, I have come to think of Headlands, if not as part of my backyard, but maybe as a dream for the future.  Oh, if I had a residency at Headlands, I surely would spend hours walking around the beach and eucalyptus lined trails nearby, getting inspired to make art in a supportive community of like-minded artists.  I have posted about Headlands Open Studios in the past here so you could compare notes if you wanted to.

Headlands is made up of a few buildings along the waterfront of the bay within walking distance of each other.  
Pretty nice views, eh?
I think this is Andy Vogt's studio.  Look at the size of it, with all that light and hardwood floors!
Sometimes I like this stuff better than the art- the actual stuff in the works which gives a better sense of the artist at work.
Another Andy Vogt- this piece really reminds me of Jonathan Runcio's work.  In art there is always the question, who did it first?  Maybe it doesn't matter.
Maybe Ho-Tzu Ni from Taiwan?  I am constructing this from  a small amount of notes.  Anyway, I like drawings.
I went to Headlands with my good friend, Libby.  I don't know who made this, but it is a pretty good sign, don't you think?
We caught up with Neil LeDoux, (far right), who graduated with me from CCA this spring.  Neil was the big winner of the annual grad prize, the Tournesol Award, which includes a free studio, free meals, and a large cash prize.  Neil makes drawings of cats and weird vaginal paintings, but in his studio he seemed to be moving in a new Eastern culture direction.
A paper boat and a female part-ish mandala.  I'm not really a fan of the paintings.
We also said Hi to Bean Gilsdorf, the winner of the CCA fellowship at Headlands.  Bean was making a large wagon with a video element in the back inside her small studio.
I liked this guy, Evan Despelder, the SFAI fellow next door to Bean.  Here he has taken a well-known Gerhard Richter painting, stretched it out through the computer, and re-painted it.  It's a simple concept, but he was the only one I saw making beautiful paintings, which is what I want to see when I go out.
I think this is Angie Wilson, from SF State, who was making textile pieces out of men's shirts.
I'm pretty sure this is Marya Krogstad.  Playing with shiny things is always seductive, but I don't know, it was a weird cross between too hippy (the sand underneath is like meditation sand) and too simple.
We chatted with SF local, Tucker Nichols, for a while, who has kept a studio here for some time (you can rent some of them out instead of being awarded a residency).  I like his simple gouache drawings.  I know I just used that word above, but it just goes to show how hard it is to pin down what is good art and what isn't.
Tucker's storage system is almost more visually interesting than his art.
Eww!  I hate it!  Get it away!  Get it away!  It was so awful I had to include it.  Weird puddle-pustule boobs hovering over a bad, painted shaped cloth.  I don't know who did it, but it's probably better that way.
As I have been including lately, I kind of like the natural beauty of the area better than any of the art inside.  Love these purple thistles.
I like this rusty orange-colored moss.

A pretty nice place to spend your days.  

The conclusion of attending these Open Studios at the Headlands is always pretty anti-climactic.  One assumes that since most of the studios awarded are based on a rigorous selection process, that it would say something new about the contemporary world of art.  Like, this is what's happening and isn't it amazing?  Congrats to the people I graduated with who received studios.  I'm sure it's an amazing experience, and Bean and Neil deserve their awards.  But it's always difficult to be an artist who goes to these events in the subjective climate of a juried application process.  Really, the boob girl?

Sunday, November 20, 2011

California the Beautiful

I am a third generation California native, which means that this incredibly luscious and diverse state has always been somewhat taken for granted by me, and the family I was raised with.  Camping, who wants to go camping?  Yuck.  Let's watch a movie instead.  But, as I have been paying more and more attention to the beauty of color arrangements, shapes, and form in nature to inform my own paintings, I have come to love my amazing state more and more.  I can change scenery drastically from hour to hour in the car, giving me amazing variety.  Also, now that I live in a city, there is only so much nature I can appreciate in people's yards, and it takes a field trip to really open my eyes to all the sublime stuff that surrounded me for my entire childhood in the foothills.  Not that I'm going to go all Back-to-the-Land on you, as I was forced to do from ages 9-14 by living off the grid, but when I go on vacation, I tend to take more reference material from the backyards I am in.  Here are some pics which might not be the greatest photographs in and of themselves, but I can use them for the color, form, and the perfect imperfections of nature for my artwork.

South Lake Tahoe
My family has a condo on the lake in Tahoe, which I spent many a family vacation visiting.  It wasn't until my dad took over the schedule from my grandparents that I was able to rent it out with my friends and really have fun exploring instead of playing cards with my cousins or something equally banal.

The first time I have ever been in a canoe!

We did a lot of lounging, too, (Julie, Mark, and Michelle).

Checking out tree textures
I love the color of this moss
We got some pedal boats and rode around on a breezy day

Julie, the forrest queen 
Hamming it up on my rock pedestal

Nevada City
On another mini-adventure, I went to visit my mom up in Nevada City, CA, where I spent my late teens and early 20's.  Here especially, I lived for years without ever exploring the lake up the road, and rarely visiting the magnificent Yuba River because I hated hiking up and down to the water and back.  I always thought all rivers looked like that, with giant boulders that look like the remnants of an alien planet.  I also thought that all air was that sweet, and the noise of crickets at night and the sights of millions of stars in the sky were, well, everywhere in the world.  Boy was I wrong.  Living in Oakland can make a girl crazy for winding trails, lost highways, and looking up into the night.

My mom's all-wood craftsman house.  I stayed in the room with the circular window and made my zines and dreamed of a city life.
I took one of the dogs on a trail.  It was the same trail we used to go down from the park to drink beer when we were all underage.  It sure looks different in the daytime!

More cool moss on big granite rocks
I love the texture of this fuzzy caterpillar with the shiny river rocks

Sundown at the lake by my mom's house

A man-made lake.  It looks like it's from another world.

A trail above the Yuba River, shot by my mom
I like this weird fungus on the trees
Look at the beautiful color of this acorn!  A dark blue-purple and a warm earthy yellow.  It's exactly this kind of natural dynamic color relationships I keep trying to drill into my watercolor classes.

The South Fork of the Yuba
My little bro, Greg, and his moppet dog, Willis walked on the trail with us
Some giant mushrooms and lush foliage
Lots of wooden bridges and the beginning of Fall colors
Down at the aqua-colored river
The beautiful shapes of the boulders, carved by glaciers so many years and years ago
I'll be back for Thanksgiving!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Smile For the Camera

Maybe it's because I grew up with a mom who was always taking pictures, but I have gotten used to the requisite smile-and-pose in front of my artwork for friends or family.  What's interesting when I look through old images of me and my work is the evolution of both myself and my artwork.  And maybe I am a glutton for punishment, or I like embarrassing myself on the worldwide internet, but I thought it might be fun to put them all in a post.

Recently I have given a few artist lectures and I always include these silly images of my fashion designs from my childhood.  They really do seem relevant to my current work, and it's nice to look back and think that my childhood self probably would like the art I make as an adult. 
Here I am, working away at my desk, probably 1987.

I don't know what I was making, but I think it's cute that I always, always made art.  This is in 1993, I think.

Oh my god, this pastel self portrait is so bad but I was so proud of it at the time!  Sacramento City College, 2002.

I'm a CCA newbie, in my class where we painted self portraits for an entire semester, 2004. 
A weird collage of me as an art saint by Reece Baxter.  Here, in my senior studio, drawing the pice of Natasha Lyonne below!  2005

My first big show, where I dragged my family to downtown Oakland for the juried show, Bay Area Currents, at the Oakland Art Gallery, 2006.
There's my proud dad again, at my college graduation, 2006.
My first two-person show shot by Jannine from the Coveted, at Bucheon Gallery in 2007.
A group show at a regrettable gallery in San Francisco, but the first time I put my work in fancy frames!  2007
Tracy Timmins and I at Southern Exposure's Monster Drawing Rally in 2008.

Tracy and I next to each other one year later at the Monster Drawing Rally in 2009.

My two-person show with Tahiti Pehrson at 111 Minna, shot by Art Business.  It was my Molly Ringwald moment where all my old friends were there, I felt good about my work, and everything coalesced into a perfect evening, 2008.

My solo exhibition, "I Wanna Be Adored", at Triple Base Gallery.  It was during my first semester of grad school, and I practically lost my shit and had a nervous breakdown.  2009
Giving my Artist Talk of the Triple Base Dinner Lecture Series.  The meal was designed to go with my work by Abner Nolan, so it included individually wrapped fish like special gifts and the "Kate Moss course", which was just a shot of vodka.  2009
Headdress project, messing around in the grad courtyard, 2010.
Another headdress, shot by Emanuel Hapsis as part of my KQED interview, 2011.

There's my proud dad again in a ridiculous beret he called the "Drive-By-Shooting", at my CCA Grad Open Studios, 2011.
Here's the cap on all the rest: my graduate thesis exhibition at CCA., 2011.  Sort of feels like that's the end of an era, but maybe it's the beginning of a new art life.

Maybe this reads as really self-absorbed to put so many images of myself up here, but like I said, I had a mom who took photos of me constantly so it doesn't seem weird to me.  It's just a record of the time spent and lessons learned.