Tuesday, September 20, 2011

New Studio

showspace4 showspace3 So I moved; a year ago. It's the Hummer SUV of my last apartment. Bigger, bulkier, with 1/2 the gas mileage. Anyway, after not writing on this thing for almost two years, I thought I should check out the last post to see where should pick up again. To see how I write things down(pretty badly I see), but oddly enough the post was about rebuilding the studio to accommodate a particular project. To recapitulate, I was taking 90' roll of canvas in a particular setup(shown below) to explore marks and material effects on the vertical/horizontal, the floor/table that would goes though series of events as it sort of finished itself. If it sounds flimsy, it's because it never really happened, I got 7' into after a month of solid work, then the program changed...over and over again. This 'little' project kept going for about 18 months off and on. What I find humerous, but defeating, was that after all that time, I did the one thing which the parameters laid out sought to avoid. I turned it into a figure, I cropped it, then I stretched it... but at least I sold it. Here was the result, minus the blocks. IMG_6188

Sunday, November 29, 2009

New Studio:

For the past week I have been rebuilding my studio,

Two weeks before that I was on a plane to Nashville, I was sitting there looking out the window at the scape below and thought about what I was doing in New York. I thought I had to get out of there, move to the country, work on a bigger scale, a landscape scale, away from people, using natural materials, get a quarry or something, move some rocks around like did in college or something, yeah thats the ticket. Then that night I cracked open this Richter book I'd found in my hall for first time in months, and the first line I read, "Contact with like-minded painters - nothing comes from Isolation. We have worked out our ideas largely by talking them through. Shutting myself away in the country, for instance, would do nothing for me. One depends on one's surroundings."

So I thought I would rethink my evacuation. Then this one conversation stuck out in my mind, my 'like-minded painter' friend said something a couple months ago, he said something like, 'I see your work, your working the canvas to its limits, really going at it, going with it, it's unstretched and your whole process is revolved around this specific layout, but it the end, after you consider it finished, you stretch it and then try to sell it." It did seem somewhat antithetical to me as well.

So in rebuilding the studio, the effort is going to gear toward me being true to the work, the work being true to the space, and me using the space to articulate the art of working. The new studio will allow for a 100 foot roll of canvas to be worked on the table, on the ground, hanging vertically, with no defined limits except for the six foot width of the roll itself. I realized that I didn't have to live in the middle of nowhere to work at the scale I wanted to and am intrigued/anxious to see what this new space allows.

Pictures coming soon

and in the words of Sasha Grey: "why do you think great artists of our time have always said youth is wasted on the young? I don’t want to be an old a person in regret and think I should have done this but I was off being lazy. There are enough mistakes we make as human beings anyway, so let the mistakes be real mistakes not chosen mistakes." and thats coming from a 21 year-old. I love it.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Gesture: Part 1, Touch


Gesture: the Thumbprint,

I think about 90% of the music I own, or at least the artists in general, I've had with me for say, half a decade. Perhaps this sounds a bit strict, but within these select hours of material, I find a certain resonance in my own work with what these handful of artists did or are trying to do. To break it down in the most basic sense, a song is composed of two elements, words and instruments, as with a painting, there is material and body. And in each relation, at the end, one creates sound, the other image. So in keeping with the analogy, what really takes me there in music is when an artist is able to blur these lines, when the words function as gesture over here, but then material over there, and of course the instruments vice versa. Certainly in this over simplification I've lost alot, but the point becomes about affect. When the words associate more than their pure definition, when the body uses the words, and its not about voice, or what the translation; but, somewhere between those two fixed points(voice and word) comes affect. For example, take Whitney Houston, all she is about is voice, and I don't mean to diss poor Whitney, hell I had the Bodyguard soundtrack back in the day, but face it. Her words are purely a platform to exercise her great pre-crack voice. Perhaps even Celine Dion, hello Vegas. One could make the argument that words without voice could be Bob Dylan, but them are fightin' words. Ah, perhaps Patti Smith (thanks D). Anyway, this being my agenda, my music collection has become a little dramatic. Earlier this year before my Nashville art opening I was trying to create a playlist for the show, I put every upbeat song into one playlist, and out of twelve days of music (thanks itunes), I got a three hour streak of non-dramatic stricken songs.


Monday, August 17, 2009

27 steps: by Brad Boyd

Steps for successful pieces

1. Keep up with the latest trends, especially what's going on in the slightly underground clubs. 2. Use images that are in the collective unconscious 3. Don't use more than three images. 4. The piece must have a social component or make a comment on the current social atmosphere. 5. When making comments do it vaguely 6. Rely on the common perception of words and images. 6. At least two of the images must be in juxtaposition
7. Don't create original narratives. If you have a narrative, use one that is already in existence. In other words, reference some known event or story. 8. If humor is used, it should be dry. Something John Malcovich would laugh at. 9. It is preferable that one of the images has a chart, diagram, or graph. Something found in an instruction book. 10. Although there is a focus on familiarity of imagery, the overall effect of the images together should be unfamiliar. One should look at the familiar images in a new way. 11. Be aware of perception of the source material, but don't try to predict any one's exact response to the combination of images 12. Be defiant 13. Love yourself 14. Be one with the universe 15. Watch TMZ 16. Play that clip of Chrisitan Bale freaking out until it's not funny anymore 16. Colors have meaning, be aware of that 17. Don't look at other people's art work because you'll get jealous 18. Don't walk outside because you'll get jealous 18. Pretend that your a great artist 19. Pretend you have something to say 20. Pretend your a successful, confident man who's had 20 girlfriends. And you broke up with them. No matter what their friends say 21. Understand that you can come off a little creepy. 22. Don't always trust your first thought because seriously you're a little creepy 23. Don't become jealous of your pets, because that's just pathetic 24. Don't destroy your artwork 25. Make friends with somebody who has impressive dinner conversations 26. Learn from your mistakes 27. Don't think too much, it gets you in trouble

Material, Part 2: Adjacencies


napkin parti

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Material, Part 1: Assemblage

Scape 6


I have begun to question paint, as a material it seems so antiquated, too loaded a surface, too much precedent. Even the idea of a painting seems old fashioned, although i completely believe it is possible to make something contemporary/fresh with this material, there are very few example I am aware of. It's discouraging to say the least, defeat before the piece has even begun. I feel like the record companies in the late 90's trying to sew half the american youth over illegal downloading when their cd sales are down, living in the glory days of art.

I overheard someone yesterday say that sensual is the new edge in architecture. Humorous since I dropped architecture because the hand is no longer present. Don't know if I'm one step ahead, or a hundred steps behind but not quite retro.

Anyway, this shift has influenced my perspective on how I use paint, more so in the vein of an assemblage of scraps of paint than the application of it. I think one has to be very careful in choosing ones material, aware of associations. I started painting on raw canvas to make a link between the texture, grain, color of the canvas itself, and the skin of the body. However, this leaves the problem, what is the paint? I means of accentuating the canvas, a matt surface to make the texture more apparent? perhaps this is somewhat optimistic. A friend said, once you remove everything that is kitsch from a piece, what remains is what you are truly looking for. I worry this means I have to remove paint, but in order to skirt this issue for the time being I am simply looking at the material paint as an added obstacle to play with, not to be painted, but smeared, glued, blown, and scraped. As it goes, artists find materials that respond to them, reveal the process, allow transparency. These pieces try (perhaps unsuccessfully) to remove that which is seductive, allow the paint to be paint, canvas to be canvas, and the hand to move between these properties leaving its trace along the way.



Monday, June 29, 2009

Surface Part 3

Scape 1

Surface Part 3: ???!!!!

You know writing is probably one of the most stubborn things you can get yourself into, I'm not going to..... well, yeah i guess i am... I'm a painter sort of, you got ink, acrylic, graphite, three materials... see what they can do, no problem. words, how many damn words are there, I've been think all day about which word correctly explains the link between what canvas and paper have in common in reference to their ability guide marks. Simple right, canvas has a grain which guides marks going with it, and resists marks going against it. Paper has a supple quality that allows for marks to be embossed which in the end acts like the grain of the canvas. But what damn word explains this occurrence? Seriously let me know if you got it.... The best thing I could come up with is Tactility, but then I spent 3 hours writing about tactility, trying to bring it all back around to what I initially wanted to write about, and still never got there, so here I am writing about what I was trying to write about, and you know, I think even this is going way better. It even took me on this tangent about Deleuze and Francis Bacon, and how terrible the Bacon retrospective is at the Met because it is completely devoid of emotion or "tactility"(see the connection). How a space can surgically extract the ...intensity from the work of Francis Bacon? I think can only be accomplished in a dead space like the Met, that should have the been the title of the show come to think about it, "how to kill sensation." It was kind of amazing, I was so bummed because I felt absolutely nothing, I thought something was seriously wrong with me till I thought about it a couple days. I had seen the same exact pieces in different spaces and felt an unexplainable, emotional response. But here, nothing... I know he's dead, but still...

Ok I'm chill, going to try to bring it all back, again. So I don't know what the right word is, but it leads me to think context is absolutely crucial. The way in which the work is made needs to have some connection to the way it is presented. Even Showing the work here (above and below) on the internet reduces them to a level of flatness, in turn only the image is legible. Like cramming 15 huge Francis Bacon paintings into a small room with 11 foot ceilings, all you see is 'oh this figure here is exploding' and 'that one there is chilling out on the toilet', cool.

So finally, this is why I started talking about the books in the first place, there is a forced connection that the reader experiences with the material, the reader feels the material just as I did, follows their finger as the canvas unravels. Opens and closes to flip to the following page reflecting the same gesture that caused the marks in the first place. Because, it is simply amazing how much variation and how much beauty can be derived with letting the surface dictate what comes next, and how transparent that intimacy becomes.

well I just realized I never actually got there, mercy.


Wednesday, June 17, 2009


Surface Part 2: Porosity

Right, right, ok... I realize it has been a bit of time since the last post, I'll work on being more on it, but in the past few my course of action has been focused on being a little more direct with getting the work out. From participating in BOS (Bushwick Open Studios) to trying to sell work on the street, I have been struck by the types of varied information that comes across from the presented work to the viewer/ reader. Even the nature of a blog in self addresses the topic I wish to explore today, Porosity. The opposite of density, porosity explains the nature of an object to absorb or let pass through, perforation even.

When I came to New York and started to work on Canvas, as opposed to the paper pieces above and below, I was immediately struck by susceptibility of the surface, the reason in fact that I started painting figures was solely because of material connection I made between the pores of the skin and the pores of the canvas, trying to painting everything but the figure itself to make that tactile connection. It seems to me that if the raw canvas is indeed embodying the figure as a whole only to be articulated, one could assume the mark to the canvas is in turn the action being done to the body. The rest became a realm exiting between the extremes of romanticization and violence.

So if I'm going to sit here and talk about figure paintings, why show these two eh, right right I got lost myself. Ok, the point is, that one can't expect to approach a blank surface, even priming a surface which negates it's inherent properties is an action not to be disregarded, in fact I think an action more violent than cutting and stitching the canvas which engenders what the canvas is made for. Therefore, these two pieces (above and below) begin to approach how a seemingly homogenous surface, that of paper absorbs and allows materials to permeate its surface under certain condition. Ink bleeds through, gesso sinks into transparency, the graphite pencil embosses, and acrylic just sits, all of which are specific in aesthetic to only this paper. Every sketchbook I have is comprised of different paper that expresses itself uniquely. The fun is finding it.

So in conclusion, the last couple of weeks I have been observing, what properties of the the work is permeable (or interesting) to other people... what is dense/opaque, and what is legible/transparent. When presented in these forms (via street or studio visits), the casualness of these encounters reveals where the eye goes, and what the hand wants to hesitantly touch when your not looking. Anyway, look forward to hearing any thoughts on these topics, hence the nature of the blog...

all the best,


Monday, June 1, 2009

Intro: and Surface: Part 1, Structure


Essence: Surface, Material, Body

I know it's been a long time since my last post. Since my show in Nashville on April 24th, I've spent some time regrouping and reevaluating my work. For the past few weeks I have been working on small canvasses comprised of simple marks and techniques, a way of addressing the canvas similar to when i moved to New York 2.5 years ago. It is interesting to me how a place, or more a space, has such a profound influence on the work that is produced and I have found it extremely helpful to go back to earlier work, not relevant to this place and time. The books, made between 2003 and late 2005, have provided the essence, the language, from which to draw lines of connection from the past to the current. Surface, from paper into canvas, to material, expanding control of paint and color, to body, gestures that engage finger, wrist, arm... all of these have been moves that push the work forward. However, what I wish to discuss in the next couple weeks are strategies and conditions that remain constant in order to find a essence, that which is relevant to any scenario past or present, since intuition is a property extremely difficult to curb. In short, I'm getting in touch with my inner luddite, the way I engage surface through material. Though the work in the books are old, (and being kept on life support by other "artists"), I will use their imagery to explore these properties, from surface to material to gesture (body), and the connections (often non-linear) between these three points. I would love any addition insight others have to add on these subjects as they go.

Surface: Part 1, Structure

Whether canvas or book, each surface has in implied nature in which to address it. When beginning the books I found that just the process of flipping the pages, using the book, created marks that transferred to create reflections. I don't want to make this a step by step process of how to make this kind of work, that isn't interesting for anyone, but as an example I see that canvas has a similar nature. It wants to be pleated, bunched, draped, unravelled, stretched (as in the case of most paintings), and all these contortions provide a variety of traces to be revealed. Whether using bricks that want to be stacked (dimension / weight), my first thought is how let the structure of the material combine with the intuition of the body, perchance, creating an experience where the viewers eye can act to re-enact the making. The result cannot be classified as purely abstract if the mark is a clear representation of action. In both these cases (above and below) the 'reader' reenacts the process by opening. In close, what does the surface want to happen and how can that be manipulated to become more or less apparent.

see whole book at:


Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Cast Gesture

Cast Gesture 6

This is a selected bunch of casts I have recently been working on using my body a mold. Photographed by Matthew Chavez, these works are negative spaces cast while holding a gesture/position during curing. These photos are the product of the video I posted earlier. I am most interested in these photo Matt made because when shown through photography the works become somewhat scaleless. The ambiguity of the size of the sculptures, in the context of tactility, allows the texture created from skin to shift the works into other types of materiality. Whether fossils, bones, or other artifacts, the multiple reading from the pieces is interesting in relation to process of making. Like I was trying to get at in the previous post, the process relies on not moving, holding a position no matter how strained or tenuous and peeling away the body.

Cast Gesture 1

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Lead (stacked) #6

Lead (stacked) #6p>

check out the whole series on my flickr page:

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

In Studio with Brutus

Studio and Brutus

Messing around in the studio.
photographed by Sam, check his other work at:

Monday, March 30, 2009

Tryptic: combined

So I finally figured out how to combine the two videos to make it easier to watch... hope this reads more fluidly.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Negative Gestures

This one cast shows a portion of a new series of sculpture made from the body. The gesture acts as a mold which creates unsymmetrical, seemingly random forms from the overlapping symmetry of the body. The negatives (the casts) are surprisingly detailed and after a little photo shoot in the Matthew Chaves studio, I will be posting them as well. I have always been interested in the gestures of the body, and how speed, pressure, etc have such an effect on the marks that are made. But in this series, the gesture is held still and instead, the most apparent quality is not the trace of an action, but the tactility left by the skin which resembles a topography or a weathered find, which within the photos becomes scaleless.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Canvas / Stretching

Finishing Touch: The stretching of the piece is always the most interesting with these particular works. Often for the entire duration of the making I have an imagined orientation for the drawing, even from the beginning when I start pleating and folding the canvas. Its unavoidable, the canvas a series of folds creates lines which forms a composition in itself, but stretching the canvas out often hides the dominance of the folds and combines the drawn patterns as the predominant form. Every time I finish stretching, I stand only to rotate the canvas or flip it and find its the perfect position, like seeing a completely fresh/different drawing. I think filming the stretching process reveals what I always wanted to see, which is the shift in progress. Hope you enjoy. Best,

Friday, March 13, 2009

Play these two simultaneously....

Part 1 reveals the beginning of a series of three paintings. They each share two of the three prints made from gestural marks, divided down the middle. Up till this point, the gestural marks that defined the contours of the bodies existed on the same surface. So I wanted to show the printing process rather than a folding and pleating process. When watching this video, I thought it would be interesting to play simultaneously with Tryptic: part 2 to get the bookends of my painting process.

Part 2 retraces the same approximate shots of Tryptic: part 1, but after the works are in their finishing stages. With some added Cash

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Quarry: Weight and Repetition. Perspective on a Vertical Plane

A self-filmed, site specific video based on the body's interaction with the materials of the quarry, part 2. Through the perspective of the camera, the objects are placed in a line along the edge of the cliff, but filmed within the distortion of the camera's lens to reveal the true position of the camera. Through the body's engagement and suspension of the stone can the point of perspective be revealed due to the weight / gravity.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Lead (stacked). Lines and Topography

Topography: I was struck earlier, mainly between what seemed to fit for the title of this little video. I was stuck between typography and topography. On one hand topography seemed obvious due to the angle of the camera and way each areas of drawn lines between the will be sewn pleats read as an undulating ground of some map, or the worn tears in dark stockings over skin. However, typography seemed more relevant to me, because each area of drawn lines has its own type. On the top left exists an arrangement of lines following the logic of lightly carefully drawn lines spaced as closely as possible, but on the middle right the lines are drawn fast and darker. The language is the same, but the articulation of the gestures evokes something different for each quadrant. Therefore, do I go with topography that relates to image, or typography which implies process and gesture? Luckily, for the youtube-blog combo I can squeeze out of this jam...do both, and have something to write about.

I'll post the finished image of this drawing on:

Friday, March 6, 2009

Quarry: Weight and Repetition. A Perspective on a Horizontal Plane

A self-filmed, site specific video based on the body's interaction with the materials in a quarry outside of Providence. Through the perspective of the camera, the objects must be placed in a non-rectilinear geometry in order to complete the square within the distortion of the camera's lens. Only through the body's struggle or easy taken with the stones, which where extracted from the site, can weight and depth be perceived.