Conventional wisdom says that, to be considered a “serious” artist- you need to put yourself out there and enter your work into some juried shows. So, despite its impracticality of costs and effort, I went ahead and submitted my work to the CCSF annual show.
Well, I got in! Today was the opening reception, even though the pieces have been up for a week or two now. I guess they had to choose the most convenient time for unemployed artists and teachers’ lunch breaks, but the most inopportune time for anyone else— ever. So I took some pictures of some of the pieces for my lovely friends and family who have been SO incredibly supportive and awesome through my transformation to “serious” Artisthood.
Upon entering, there were three really impressive pieces. One that was called “Urban Dating” which featured a pig’s head on a woman’s body, holding a guinea pig. Not sure what the commentary was, but it was strikingly askew and well-framed.
In the entrance was John Wehrle’s Bio and his method in curating the show. Apparently, there had been close to 100 submissions and about 30 were chosen. He mentioned that he leaned toward paintings and two-dimensional work, and a solid grasp on technique as well as a unique concept. Must have been a tough process, there were some great pieces there.
There were a good number of people milling about, I’d say about 30-40 people at any given time. Pretty impressive, for a Monday afternoon opening reception.
John Wehrle is the tall gentleman in the hat, with paint drippings all over his white shoes. 🙂 (Love that!)
I was blown away by this watercolor by Evelyne Picard. She was there, and gave me her card and told me to “like” her page on Facebook. It took me aback somewhat, but I appreciate that artists are understanding the power of social media these days. Which reminds me, I need to get some cards made…
http://www.evelynepicard.blogspot.com is her website! Why not promote the fellow artists?
My piece was in the corner upon entering from the main area. Looked nice over there!
Impressive photo-realist oil piece of an intersection at Excelsior.
It was a tiny gallery, probably about 15 x 15 sq ft of space. There were about 30 pieces total:
This one’s for the books! (And my Mom!) Thanks Adam Turner for coming by and taking this shot. And thank you, thank you for all of your support, friends. It’s really amazing to feel so much doubt and fear for pursuing something unknown, and at the same time, so much love and gratitude for everyone around me.
From the sketchbook. Watercolor on Crappy Paper
I still hate plein air painting, but this one’s colors turned out great.
Watercolor Studies, Mixed Media
5- Minutes: Pen and Ink. Raw Sienna, Yellow Ochre, Sap Green
10- Minutes: Brush and Ink. Indian Red, Yellow Ochre, Ultramarine Blue, Cobalt Blue, White Gouache
15- Minutes: Pen and Ink. White Gouache, Yellow Ochre, Indian Red, Burnt Umber, and Conte on Coffee and Ink stained paper
Since becoming more active in the art “industry,” I’ve noticed that it’s easier to feel threatened or be jealous of other artist’s work rather than be inspired by it. I’m guilty of it too. We all know being an Artist these days is hard, but I truly think that if we can all help each other out, we can bring about some real change to how we (and our art) is perceived.
At figure drawing last night?
Watercolor and Ink on Bristol Board
As we approach rainy season in San Francisco, art openings begin. April brings a fresh, ripe set of shows that finally caught my eye. On Saturday, faced with the unsurmountable choice (hint: sarcasm) between tailgating at Oakland A’s exciting opening day and about a dozen art reception openings, I chose to attend receptions for two galleries on Market Street: Varnish Gallery around 1st and Market, and the Luggage Store Gallery at around 6th and Market. I’ve heard of both before, in fact, I think I went to a swanky New Year’s Eve party that a bunch of tech people threw at Varnish for a few years back- and I heard about Luggage Store Gallery being a great gallery featuring up and coming SF artists back when I was in LA. Anyway, I guess my point is that I went to these galleries because I had some connection to them, not because I felt particularly adventurous. I assume most people go to art shows because they have *some* connection to them.
First show at Varnish was called, “The Have and Have Not Group Show,” curated by artist Lee Ballard. This show opened on Saturday, but will be up until April 28th, 2012. This one received a lot of fanfare, most notably from Hi-Fructose Magazine, featuring a nice collection of images of pieces in the show. The gallery is a cozy space tucked away in a small alleyway near Yank Sing and Golden Gate University, but it was jam packed with impeccably dressed, rockstar artist types with PBR (ah yes, SF hipsters) and a glass of wine in hand.
Coming from the back door, the first thing that caught my eye were Brad Isdrab’s robot looking dudes:
Definitely enjoyed their prominent display near the back of the room, guarding the pieces on the wall. They reminded me of those wooden proportion models I have in my studio, the kind you use to study anatomy, except these were whimsically primitive and fun.
Next, I saw Scott Campbell’s pieces, which were toward the side wall. These caught my eye because I actually own a piece by Scott Campbell I bought years ago at Nucleus Gallery in LA, I was happy to see that his work was at a reputable gallery years later.
Next, I checked out Jon Wayshak’s pieces along the back. I was blown away at each of his elaborate illustrations. It had a decided comic book style, but his technique was more artistic and his compositions were exquisite. The pieces were both comical and horrific, the style both organic and polished. These blew me away.
My favorite piece of the show was by Rick Berry, who I scrambled to look up after the show. His use of color, lines, and movement capture a mood and aesthetic I can only hope to achieve one day.
All in all, great looking show with impressively high caliber pieces. No crazy adventurous, avant-garde installations- but I appreciated that. Sometimes there’s value just seeing great mixed media work without all the conceptual weirdness. There were a lot of pieces here where a serious collector would say, “Yes, that looks like it has tons of value and I would buy that,” which is more than what I could say about some other galleries. I also appreciated the fact that the show’s theme was apt, relevant to our current society, and the show highlighted the immense talent in contemporary mixed media artists today.
Next show was at the Luggage Store Gallery, called “Me and My ____.” This one was in a markedly different space, upstairs overlooking the shadier side of Market Street. I’ve been to this gallery before, but they seemed to have done some renovations to it that looks great:
Most of the work were installations, and the space was great for it. I’ll save the critique and go straight to pictures:
This room was transformed into a crazy surreal experience of rapper saints and milagro-inspired decor.
This show had a decidedly different clientele, mainly grungy looking art students and musicians (possibly). I really quite enjoyed the passion the pieces conveyed, and the courageous compositions and subject matter. The space was great for cutting edge installations, and walking into each space transformed your surroundings and perspective.
Overall, very cool space, tons of great installations that made you chuckle and reflect- but seemed a bit esoteric and insular to the conceptual art aesthetic. I imagine that to most people, this gallery would be cool to check out but the work is not particularly accessible to most.
I forgot to mention in my Zoolander-like pensiveness on my earlier post, that my work is currently up in a group show in Building B at Fort Mason in San Francisco.
Also, I just received news that I’ll have a solo exhibit at the gallery on 33 Gough in October this year. Here are some other exhibits happening at this 33 Gough now.
Probably won’t have details until later, but happy to share the news!
Lately, I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about the value of Art in our society. Nothing ground-breaking or particularly new, and one I plan on never answering during the course of my career. I read someone’s comment on Facebook recently, regarding Damien Hirst’s controversial diamond encrusted skull, “For The Love of God.” Ha, I think I lost half my readership, just mentioning this random tidbit- but I’ll press on. Here’s one comment in a long string of responses:
G.E. Stinson hirst is a hack. he’s never done anything worth a shit. 95% of contemporary museum/gallery art is totally up it’s own ass. it has zero to do with the real world. a bunch of rich dickheads buying each other’s insipid pointless drivel.
Criticism is important, and Stinson’s comment resonated with me, not because it’s resentful, but because I felt it simply was important to think about. Since Industrialization, and possibly even before that, people have tried to commoditize Art. Advertising magnate Charles Saatchi (from Saatchi & Saatchi), to name one example, bought up entire shows and collaborated with artists (including Hirst) to artificially, or not- bolstering and driving up prices. A diamond-encrusted skull, which probably doesn’t take a creative genius to come up with, shouldn’t have fetched £50 million and go down in history as the “highest price ever paid for a single work by a living artist.” But, that fact alone sure is important to understanding how society views the Art world.
Ah yes, the age old question of “the value of Art.” *yawn* I feel like I’ve had many a discussion about this with artists. But here’s the kicker: Artists are the only ones who seem to care about this at all. Everyone else is busy doing more relevant shit, save some of my cerebral friends who mainly want to demonstrate their pretention on the pretentiousness of it all. Again, easy to criticize, much harder to understand.
That said, what value does Art bring our society right this minute? I mean Art in the gallery/museum sort of way, not like- “Oh, I saw this poster for the Occupy SF movement that was pretty cool.” How does Art relate/comment/criticize/explore this crazy world of googling, facebooking, twittering, etc? How do most people feel about the work they see in galleries/museums? Personally, I have to confess that I even have a hard time getting myself out to the reputable galleries and exhibits in SF- not because I don’t think its important, but because there are more events relevant for me to attend (like going fishing, for example). I find this to be a huge personal obstacle to overcome, as well as an important challenge to galleries. How are they staying relevant in today’s insanely schizophrenic world?
Time to think about this some more while I lie in bed and attempt to go back to sleep. My mind has now decided that it doesn’t need more than 5 hours of sleep per night. I’m convinced that sleep deprivation is at least 90% of the reason artists become bat-shit crazy. Thanks for listening.