Wednesday, October 29, 2008

any colour like you...

All artists essentially borrow from artists of the past in much the same sense that authors or fashion designers do. Pablo Picasso, for example, borrowed from pictures by Cranach and Titian, Poussin and Ribera, Chardin and Zurbarán, El Greco and Courbet, Degas and le Douanier Rousseau. The list goes on and on. The real trick of any artist is to consume massive amounts of information, images, words, poem...anything and anything...the real sorts of things to be socially conscious of the state of affairs in the world.

In my studio I have a pile of magazines (the economist, time, art news, etc.) and three months worth of the new york times, in addition to bookcases full of books pertaining to various subjects (history, poetry, art, sociology, etc.). As every creation is limited only by one's particular store of knowledge, my challenge is not to read everything, to know everything but to know just enough to accomplish the painting or project at and tomorrow. 

"Painting is just another way of keeping a diary"

~Pablo Picasso

Monday, October 27, 2008


Hit up the Metropolitan Museum to check out the Morandi exhibit very much limited himself to painting similar scenes over and over – still life paintings of bottles and boxes, the view from his window. However, the objects Morandi selected for his still life paintings transcend time – they have no labels, or any details to indicate the time of painting. Similarly, there is little in the paintings of the view from his window to reveal anything of the time at which the paintings were made. 

There are no figures, and buildings are almost exlusively represented by blocks of a single colour. While this is unquestionably an impressive collection of Giorgio Morandi's work, it is ultimately makes quite a dull exhibition, in my opinion. Unfortunately Morandi's lack of variation in subject matter render the exhibition depressingly monotonous...though my like our  actual existence. 

"A half dozen pictures would just about be enough for the life of an artist, for my life"

~Giorgio Morandi

Sunday, October 19, 2008

trámite: hsiao...

Recently checked out a gallery closing of Trámite: Hsiao (a creative interpretation of the Chinese classic scroll "Hsing-Ching", The Classic of Filial Piety, an exhibit by Miguel Trelles at The Gabarron Foundation. Trelles reproduces the practice of painting from reproductions, creating a body of work that proceeds as a consequence of an individual’s respectful engagement with copies of works of art that do exist, and that form the very foundation of a culture in a perfected form. Trelles’ paintings do not aim to be copies in the spirit of the originals, much like the copies by Chinese artists themselves. In this exhibit the scrolls are re-interpreted in the style of mayan codexes.

This 'Chino Latino' styles points to quintessential Postmodernist ideas of the decenteredness of meaning, the valorization of autonomy, the regained importance of the local and the particular, the recombination of values, and towards the infinite possibilities of the human existence. But quite frankly all post-modern art is a juxtaposition of disparate elements and tends to refer to a cultural, intellectual, or artistic state lacking a clear central hierarchy or organizing principle and embodying extreme complexity, contradiction, ambiguity, diversity, interconnectedness or interreferentiality, in a way that is often indistinguishable from a parody of itself. It has given rise to charges of fraudulence. Who the hell knows nowadays? Creativity is hard enough, much respect to anyone who is so fortunate as to be touched by such inspiration...

"Creativity requires the courage to let go of certainties"

~Eric Fromm

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

above the clouds...

The US government throwing $250 bn at a consortium of banks and the fact that this has not "persuaded" these institutions to loosen up their credit lines reminds me of a woman who is wined and dined and never satisfied. Always asking for more and never quite satisfied with that they possess, this sort of individual will more often than not bite the hand that feeds it and offer their provider no respect. Nothing, no entity or individual, should be indispensable to humanity on either a national or an international scale. 

People should not be held hostage to some centralist entity nor should all hell break loose as if the globe is some giant honey comb and the queen bee has died. As the maxim goes, often attributed to Charles de Gaulle, "the graveyards are filled with indispensable men" ("Les cimetières sont remplis des hommes indispensable"). 

"In Bolivia we nationalized [gas] for the people to have money, while the United States nationalizes the crises of the wealthy"
~Evo Morales

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

paper airplanes...

As artists and creative individuals in general we are ambassadors of our ideas and thoughts and are, in large part, solely responsible for the particular paths we embarking upon in our professional journeys. Only you can make yourself relevant in this world. Little in this game, or in any facet of life is solely predicated on talent but rather ambition and drive, networking and politicking.

Whether am painting or not I am still analyzing people, studying the appearance of things, not their objective correctness. I do most of my paintings when I am not painting, in my subconscious. The images dance around in my head and lay dormant for hours, days or sometimes even years until the are manifested on a canvas, and even then they often have a life of their own that is separate from my original vision...

"The true work of art is but a shadow of the divine"

the inhumanity of money...

When 3 trillion dollars in wealth suddenly disappears in the course of a week from the New York Stock market (not to mention global markets), one starts to question the whole concept of value and worth. It is stunning to see just how much of the value of the global market is determined by "confidence". 

All of the solutions to this global financial crisis has been to infuse the markets, banks, companies etc. with additional capital, to bailout out companies (i.e. socialize them) with public funds but not to re-evaluate the need for, and our dependence upon this system. What holds real value? People with the means have reportedly been purchasing actual gold bouillon and storing it but in the end what is gold but just another commodity? Another finite resource? How is tangible value created, traded, and stored? Why is onus given to sustainability of corporate entities but not the individuals that comprise them? What value does creativity, art, or ideas have in this context? 

"Art is always and everywhere the secret confession, and at the same time the immortal movement of its time"
~Karl Marx

Saturday, October 11, 2008

comfortably numb...

People tend to take social networking websites such as Facebook and Myspace a little too seriously nowadays. Not every cyber marriage proposal or online 'i love you', qualifies as the real thing. The very nature of the Internet makes communication highly impersonal and gives people the freedom to make statements that they can later deny accountability for...

...Information technologies, besides their benefits, have served to complicate modern life in infinite ways. One should not receive a frantic text message asking them to explain what another individual typed on their wall. Who cares? Little of what occurs in life is of any substance. Rare are the truly remarkable moments and even fewer are experienced in the realm of cyberspace.

"But they are useless. They can only give answers"

~Pablo Picasso, about computers

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

abstract original...

Recently, after painting 28 paintings in 36 days, i took a step back, and a day off, to reflect on the whole creative process and how these physical manifestations of one's self become internalized and recontextualized by different individuals. At a recent exhibit opening, i had several people come up to me and ask me why this and why that? Why these color or images versus another one, etc. 

Quite frankly, it does not matter the meaning i choose for a particular piece. one sets about with one idea but slowly and gradually it transfixes and transforms me in the process and the final product is independent from its initial intended purpose. In many regards, it is like a child, whom a parent rears and attempts to guide down a certain path only to realize that that child chooses its own path and own destiny though it may pattern its behavior off of their parent...

...let inspiration guide you and do not confine it simply to your own limited frames of reference...

"All true artists, whether they know it or not, create from a place of no-mind, from inner stillness"
~Ernst Ludwig Kirchner

Friday, October 03, 2008

the flyest...

Life is as much about substance as it is image and portraying a uniqueness that sets individuals apart from the masses. The Art world in many regards bears out these fundamental maxim more so than other aspects of life. Dali, Picasso, Basquiat, all cultivated an image that was distinct and left a lasting impression that paired their unique talents with their equally unique personalities.

Where does one draw the line between "show" and being one's "self". I argue that all parts can make up the whole and that one does not compromise the other in order to achieve the means to a certain end. What people lack is the the ability to be a sort of "chameleon" in different social settings and adapt to their surroundings in order to best take advantage of them. And if I so choose to compromise then fuck it, am trying to be in the Met and MALBA someday...haha!

"always be yourself, express yourself, have faith in yourself, do not go out and look for a successful personality and duplicate it"
~Bruce Lee

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

ten feet to the left of dumpling man...

running around downtown by astor place the other day trying to maintain some distance from my little studio that has, of late, become a miniature prison as i have been preparing for an upcoming art exhibit.

ran into james delavega's studio to catch up and absorb some inspiration from a long time friend and mentor and maybe even bum a cigar or two off of him as we politicked on art and life. What's unique about his work from the time he was in el barrio is his ability to constantly reinvent his style and address important social issues of the time in various mediums such as acrylic, oil and spraypaint. But perhaps even more than that, hanging out for a couple of hours on this area of 8th street allows you to observe a crossroads of new york as people constantly walk in and out of the store and pass by on the streets. plus its next to dumpling man, which is like culinary  kryptonite to my soul...

"poor is the pupil who does not surpass his master".
~Leonardo da Vinci