Excess is Dangerous
30x40 Acrylic on stretched canvas
I got it done in the nick of time for WomanMade Gallery's Anthropomorphism show. (juried by Laurie Hogin, whos work I saw at Art Chicago!) I submitted this piece and Wallflower. Keep your fingers crossed!
Here's an excerpt from my artist statement:
"The 'Essentiality Series' features representational symbolism of fundamental personality characteristics, sometimes disguised, but found within us all.
Grackles, like ants, overwhelm through sheer force of numbers and this figure represents our inability to recognize that even when driven by perfect rigor, as symbolized by the surrounding lantana, the saffron flower reminds us, excess is dangerous."
Thom and I went to Art Chicago last week and had an amazing time. For those who haven't been, its a huge event held (this year) at Merchandise Mart in Chicago and houses about 104 galleries and dealers. Its a fantastic way to get an explosion of contemporary art, and I always come away pumped and ready to move on my own work. We spent 6 hours walking through the maze of artwork and it was worth every second!
I brought my camera the last time I went and was hounded by several gallery staffers, so this year I didn't include it in the trip. I saw SO many people snapping photos this year though, that I'm determined to pack it next time!
In lieu of my own photos, here are some the favorites I saw:
Another book page for Jennybean! I had so much fun making this one. Its inspired but an arial photograph I saw, with all this gorgeous green land. The bumpy parts are actually raised with molding compound and it gives the piece some nice dimension.
I have been a huge fan of Kim Richardson for a long time now. I'm entranced by her use of symbolism and the intimate nature of her work. She zeros in on an spiritual level that I'm always striving for with my own work.
What are your main inspirations in art?
I'm inspired by living, people, animals, nature, interaction, interconnectedness, solitary, spirit. Life. I take it all in, filter it through my being and imagery emerges. I've always been deeply moved by gut level art. Ceremonial masks and shamanistic pieces hold me closely. The Surrealist fascination with the unconscious has always held great appeal for me. I'm a soul diver, for sure. I've been compared to Chagall, Kahlo, both who's work I adore-- even De Chirico at one point which I found bizarre-- but it's funny because we're all Cancerian. I didn't know about the women Surrealists when I was younger. I find Leonora Carrington and Leonor Fini especially inspiring. I'm currently reading The Genres and Genders of Surrealism. I fantasize about lunch and conversation with Carrington before she dies.
What is your art background? (education, experience, etc)
I went to a visual and performing arts high school in St. Louis where I majored in visual art and minored in dance. It wasn't the best academically, but I learned how to draw. It was basically long, tedious exercises in learning how to see. The school was poorly funded and painting wasn't offered. Mostly drawing with some collage and linocut projects. I absolutely loved collage and focused much of my time outside of school on collage and writing. I checked out any book at the school library about the surrealists who I felt an affinity with. I found Carl Jung. I argued with a friend about her guru. I had crippling anxiety attacks for about a year. I had a healing vision of light that tamed the anxiety and awakened something in me. These were the seeds.
After high school, I took a couple of figure drawing classes at a local community college. I grew bored quickly there and strayed from the instructor's teaching. I focused less on the body as a whole and more on segments... the feet, for instance, or the belly or ass. Encouraged by my instructor, I left St. Louis for the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Discouraged by my unbridled insecurity, I left the art institute after the first semester.
I hung out with poets mostly in Chicago at that point, which I feel was the beginning of my real education. I became pregnant with my first child and started to paint for the first time. I had some old oil paint someone gave to me. We lived near a furniture store that had cardboard boxes in the alley. I tore the boxes apart and obsessively painted cocoon-headed woman after cocoon-headed woman.
My housemate had a girlfriend who painted with beeswax. He gifted me with a chunk of it and taught me how to use the wax with paint. I stuck with this method for the next seven years.
In the late 90's I fell in love with a painter in St. Louis, worked as an art framer and was taking an opiate painkiller for some dental work. I hadn't been focusing much on painting at the time. In the sort of opiate and new love induced euphoria, I found some old garden fences, picked up a brush and left out the wax. I quit my framing job and started painting on a regular basis. I'm absolutely enthusiastic about what I do now. An old piece of wood laying in some alley is heaven to me. Tomorrow? Who knows? I perpetually crave new experience. I think of living as a great work of art. Life experience has truly been the greatest teacher.
(my first painting on fence)
What is the single most important thing you want to communicate with your work?
That's a tough question because I don't directly think about what I'm painting. Mood, feeling, the unknown.
What are your career goals?
To live comfortably and make art.
What one object has been the most instrumental in helping you achieve
what you have so far?
The internet. I've encountered many incredible people and opportunities and have learned so much through it. It's been a tool of huge growth for me.
Tell me three random things about you.
1. I secretly want to be a cabaret performer.
2. Listening to the birds in the wee hours makes me happy.
3. I'm not comfortable using the words "I" and "me" and "my" so much. :)
Long overdue update with just a little progress. I was overtaken by life, but I'm hoping to edge back into the swing of things again. I won't be able to make it into the studio until May, so I'll be working on other projects at home until then. There are some exciting projects brewing in the back of my mind, and I look forward to sharing them once they come to fruition.
This is the first installment of my Inspiration of the Month series and Billy Blob is the only person I could have begun with. His artwork has motivated me for years, and I follow his wonderfully entertaining Buzz update section with glee.
It's his artwork that really thrills me, however. I first discovered Billy Blob on Ebay when he auctioned off this painting. I'm still kicking myself for not having bought it then!
I'm intrigued by his use of bold color and what I call the "smooshy" brush technique. I am entirely attracted to the freeness in his paintings, something almost foreign in my own work. His figures all seem to have a whimsical veneer that covers for a cynical and sometimes disturbing subtext.
He's expressed that communicating through his art can be a struggle. When Billy sets out with a clear message in mind, he often finds the process to be forced and the end result too preachy. The work that seems to grow organically of its own volition and with its own voice are those he favors most.
Billy says that the internet has been the one tool most instrumental in bringing his career to this point and longs to be able to support himself full time with his art and cartoons. I certainly relate to that!
3 random things about Bily:
He puts Sun In in his hair to make it lighter.
He can't read out loud in front of people.
He and his wife have two dogs and a bird.
I'm just going nuts with these little birds! :) This is a teeny little canvas that I've put on Etsy. I think I'm going to do a whole series of these little guys this week until I'm just sick of them. ;)
I added two new sections to my livejournal sidebar - what art book I'm currently reading and my Inspiration of the Month. I'll be writing tomorrow about Billy Blob, who I've been a fan of for years!
I'm almost finished reading "I Bought Andy Warhol" and I'm really enjoying it. I promised myself that, this year, I was going to really educate myself on my larger art community. I just have a difficult time reading art "textbooks" and was hoping to learn about the current scene as well as art history in a more friendly format.
This book has been just the ticket! It has a conversational tone and is rife with that sense of slipping behind the scenes to learn the real nature of art dealing in the 80s and 90s. It's funny, insightful, and I've enjoyed it a lot more than I had expected to.
I expect to finish reading this in the next week and I have "The Art of the Steal: Inside the Sotheby's-Christie's Auction House Scandal" by Christopher Mason next on my reading list.
My good friend, Jennybean, is a talented bookbinder who sells a lot at art fairs. Shes often complimented on her books, but people complain that they aren't writers and wouldn't know what to do with them. Shes asked a number of us to put our talents to her pages, to be bound in a couple of different books to use as examples for her potential customers. I'm so glad to be a part of this project.
I have two signatures, consisting of 8 pages and these are my first two. I wish you could see the first page in person! I used Interference Violet over the top, and the page just shimmers with purple. Thom thinks I should to a square with a bird sketch on the above bird page, like I did in my journal - Im starting to agree. What do you think?
I also made another Etsy sale!! Tomorrow, my hand collage is going to its new home! I'm just thrilled!
I had a lot of fun with this little collage, and played with it again on Jennybean's art fair book. (I'll post those images tomorrow)
I started a new painting in my series entitled Surviving Hope, that began with my nest self portrait. I'm very excited with the direction this series is taking!! I hope to have the basics of the imagery down soon so that I can post WIPs.
I downloaded the trial version of Working Artist to follow my work and the sales. Its not very pretty, but I'm hoping that it will be intuitive and robust enough to handle the detail I want to keep track of. I'll let you know what I think of it as I put it to use.
This is another half of a two-page spread. (I love how they look in the book) I carved the bird stamp myself, and really enjoyed it. I've had the carving block and the tools for a while, and just haven't gotten around to trying them. I'm definitely going to have to incorporate them into my artwork more often!
I made it to the studio today!! I'm much happier with today's progress than I was the last time, but there are still some problems with it. It's odd working on your own face, its you and yet not you - and sometimes its hard to judge the details that you always gloss over when you look in the mirror.