Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Here are some shots of Oarie and Ollie getting primed for paint. After much sanding and smoothing on filler, everything gets a couple coats of this white with more sanding in between coats.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Stroking My Wood

The last few days have been non-stop sanding little wood parts. Here are some of them midway through the process. After I get them all sanded and assembled they will get two coats of primer and be painted.
Today I am spending the first half of the day making a huge roast that will feed me most of the week, and editing a video of all the sanding I have been doing.
Not getting up and rushing to the studio first thing in the morning feels a little like skipping school but What the hell, it's Sunday.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Oarie and Ollie

Parts, Parts, Parts.

I have been working like a madman on drawing new parts for yet another sculpture that will be in the show in Vermont. The show is called The Fat and The Lean. It will be at the Firehouse Gallery in Burlington Vermont. I drive up on April 12(Easter) to begin installation and the opening reception is the 17th.
Here is a link.

The Gallery is two large spaces. In one space I will make a huge, low hanging sculpture called Isa.
In the second space I will install The Creation of Adam, The Black Widow and the two smaller stable pieces that I finished drawing the parts for yesterday. I still have two and a half weeks to get the parts cut, sanded, primed, painted, and packed up for the show. With the help of August Barber and now Mike Falco who have been interning I'm sure it will all get done.

The proposal for The New Children's Museum took up most of my weekend but turned out well. I will publish parts of it after I hear back from them.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

week end edition

It's was business as usual in the studio this weekend. While I worked on my proposal for the project at the New Children's Museum in San Diego, August filled and sanded some of the parts for the new stable.

I spent this Monday morning running some errands. We needed more primer, and paint for the new sculptures. My plan is to have them all finished by the end of next week so all that will be left is making boxes and packing.

Here is a pic of last summer's Forked Tongue all packed up, and a link to the video of the process.


Thursday, March 19, 2009

TCoA Goes Green

On the heels of St. Paddy's Day, The Creation of Adam started getting green.
It was great to get back in the studio after my trip to San Diego. After re-priming and smoothing all of the parts, I set up the airbrush and got busy spraying the green yesterday.
Right now it looks a little like something one might see at a children's book store but once I add the center mobile parts I expect a more ironic dichotomy between whimsical innocence and subversively sexual.

Here is my artist statement for The Black Widow, a previous wood mobile.

The Black Widow" is a continuation of my work to date that illustrates the essence of the human experience.
Our collective reality is rooted in a universal truth that manifests itself in a series of parallel concepts that can be understood by examining binary code, an endless series of 10101010101s that represent paths electrons flow through to reach electronic logic gates, which forms the foundation of all computer operations.
Perhaps everything in the universe can be broken down into a similar binary code: positive/negative, matter/antimatter, absence/presence, and male/female.
As humans, our most visceral understanding of this universal truth is evident in our pursuit of and belief in soul mates, or inseparable pairs, which has long been the inspiration of my work.
My balloon sculpture reflects the aspiration for coalescence of masculine and feminine attributes, and our undying desire for them to live as one, flawlessly intertwined. The fluid and elemental nature of the work often leads viewers to perceive sea creatures, plant life, or magnified representations of microscopic organisms.
"The Black Widow," is a mobile sculpture in wood, representing the evolution of my balloon-based work. Long, spindly limbs and womb-shaped oval rings again exemplify the imagined union of male and female attributes. However, in this case, the menacing placement of one spider-like sculpture over another and the overt reference to a species widely associated with sexual cannibalism portrays our unyielding desire to unite with a mate that completes us, regardless of the consequences.

Monday, March 16, 2009

It's great to be back in NYC. Here is a little video I made from the clips I shot at the Birch Aquarium on Friday.
I will be in the studio the rest of this week finishing up TCoA and beginning the new piece which I posted drawings of last week. The title for it hasn't come to me yet but I can feel it getting closer.

Some of the tasks happening will be tracing down the new parts to wood, cutting the parts out of the wood with jig-saws, vectorizing the parts with the belt sander, smoothing the parts with the palm sander and by hand, priming the parts with white paint, smoothing the primer, painting the parts of TCoA and the new piece.
It may not all get done this week but I plan to finish this as well as building the boxes for them to ship in the next three weeks.
If anyone out there would like to come by the studio to pitch in, give me a shout.

Friday, March 13, 2009

The New Childrens Museum visit.

Yesterday I woke up in my hotel room with a view of sailboats on the water across the Pacific Highway in downtown San Diego.

After a terribly unhealthy breakfast served here at the hotel, I walked with my coffee 16 blocks to The New Children's Museum where I was given a grand tour by a few gracious staff members.

Once the tour was complete I met with the executive director and the other directors about what I might make for the show that will open in October. We decided I should visit the museum four times, making a new work each time. That will be great. It will also be about 88 hours of travel. Yikes.
When I mentioned that I wanted to visit the Aquarium some time this weekend while here in San Diego, Rachel, the executive director suggested that one of the directors take me there as they needed to take a look at a carpeted bleacher seat thing they have there. So after a nice lunch we went to the Birch Aquarium. It is relatively small compared to Shed's in Chicago but it was fantastic non the less. It sits on a bluff with an amazing view overlooking the Pacific.

The crew from the museum took me out for dinner and drinks last night at a nice place called the Starlight. http://www.starlitesandiego.com/

It's a bit cloudy today so no beach time, but I will go to the contemporary museum just a few blocks away from my hotel. I love my life.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

A new stable.

Today was a long and productive day. It started at ten this morning in the studio. August continued smoothing the primer on the parts of TCoA while I finished the drawings for the next sculpture to be in the Vermont show. These are some of the drawings. This one on the bottom is the large part. If you notice the notches in the bottom, that's where the legs will go. The legs are the top drawing. On Monday these parts will all get traced down to plywood by August, while I give the TCoA a second coat of primer. My goal is to be painting it green by Monday night.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Mixing the green

Yesterday I traipsed all over town picking up paint, rigging equipment, and looking everywhere for a particular type of fishing weight. Running errands has never been one of my favorite activities and after yesterday I was so happy to be getting back to work in the studio today.

I started drawing some new parts for some small stable floor pieces while August began sanding the the primed parts of TCoA.

After a nearly inedible lunch from Court Square Diner, I started mixing the green paint that will be the final color.
My studio neighbor Jen across the hall is lending me one of her airbrushes so I had to thin and strain the paint that it wouldn't clog or clot in the airbrush.
I had hoped the parts would have been sanded by the end of today but it may take half the day tomorrow too.
I can hardly wait to get it re-assembled and sprayed with the green.

On Thursday I leave for San Diego where I will visit the New Children's Museum. They have invited me to participate in a show that will open in October and want me to see the museum before I begin working on my concept for the show. I love that.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

The city seems filthy today. It’s warm and beautiful outside and this sudden change in temperature has caused condensation on the streets, sidewalks, and tile floors in the subway stations. After all the soot and snow melting chemicals get wet like this it makes the ground feel greasy. It’s a small price to pay for the nice weather, especially on the art fairs week-end.
I should probably be making the rounds at Pulse, Scope, and Armory show’s but I have so much work to do I’m doubtful I will go.
It’s another studio day after picking up more sand paper and white paint to primer The Creation of Adam. I’m glad the open studio thing was only happening yesterday and not today too. I’m feeling a little low on energy and don’t think I want to deal with all tourists asking me silly questions as they poke around in my studio. One guy came in yesterday and asked, “Can I ask you a stupid question?” I said, “If you must.” He didn’t ask another. I guess that was his question.
Here is a pic of some people who came in.
The drawings are concepts for a sculpture at Art Chicago that will happen the first week of May. I am still working out the color scheme but I think it will be pink or blush. I love pink.
Sometimes it can be tough to get motivated in the studio. I’m sitting here in my chair listening to Ella Fitzgerald that Chris down the hall is blasting. It’s nice. I don’t feel much like working. I’m thinking though, so that will have to count for something today.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Signs of Life

It's up and moving! Here are some pics of The Creation of Adam being assembled.
The guy in the flannel is August Barber. He's been helping out in the studio the last couple of weeks.
The scary looking dude is me.

I couldn't be happier with the way all the parts fit together. Aside from a little tweaking, it is just as I had designed in my drawings.

The next few days will be spent working out the ballast and priming for paint.

Today is an open studio day at Five Points. Open studio days are weird.
It's kind of like being a an attraction at the zoo. All sorts of people come poking around, not sure if they should come in or quite what to do. They look at me and give an odd smile then walk off. I have big double doors on my studio and I like to keep them open when I'm here but on open studio day's I'm inclined to close.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Rings, Freud, and the Universe.

The parts are all cut out! Yay!!
Now it's just a matter of filling in the rough spots with wood filler and sanding them smooth.
These are the ring parts and the work bench where they get sanded. Below is the spine part with the two balancing parts that hang from the spine inside the rings. It must be hard to imagine now but soon it will be clear. What is important is that the two hanging parts almost touch. As a reference to the famous Michaelangelo painting. The flowing lines are also a reference to renaissance painting. Consider the flow of the robes and gowns depicted in so many religious paintings. These curves not only speak to that but I feel they come from a place so deeply rooted in our relationship to the earth and the original code of creation.
Did someone mention Freud?

Monday, March 2, 2009

Rings and things

Today was another happy day in the studio. I finished cutting out the ring parts for TCofA and was visited by first a class from the UK. They were on a tour with their teacher who is friends with Betsy and Zoran, neighbors in my studio building. I gave all the kids a postcard and they were on their way. Later one of the kids brought me a slice of pizza from the lunch they had delivered to Zoran and Betsy's studio. How nice is that?!

Here is a link to the RFT's review of my October show at Webster University in St. Louis.


Sunday, March 1, 2009

Saturday, Sunday, and Eric Lewis

Saturday in the studio is always a good time.
My studio is at Five Points. The graffiti building across Jackson Avenue from PS1 in Long Island City. On the weekends there are always a bunch of graffiti guys painting up the walls and hip hop artists making videos, you name it.
This week my neighbor Martin was finishing up his painting of Johnny Cash for a tribute show that was last night at South Paw. It turned out great.
I spent the day tracing the last of the parts of The Creation of Adam to plywood and continued cutting them out. Here are some more pics.
The work is going well and I hope to have this one assembled and have begun the painting process by the 11th of March.
I go to San Diego for three days on the 12th to see The New Children's Museum that has invited me to participate in a show in October. I can't really afford the time out of the studio this month but I think it will be worth it.

Tonight Eric Lewis will be playing at Joe's Pub. Some friends from TED will be there but the show is sold out. I am hoping to get a ticket last minute. If you haven't heard him play you MUST check him out! Click the link below or search him on Youtube.

I first saw him play via live simulcast at TED last month and was blown away. I have never heard a more powerful pianist in my life. He started out with some chaotic, dis-harmonic plinking and banging, growing louder as he played until it sounded like some kind of eruption of madness. His facial expressions were absolutely compelling. As the music boomed from what seemed like every direction the crazy chaos melted into brief moments of the most sublime melody and just when you begin to get comfortable he would blast back into the chaotic yet tremendously calculated discord. As the song seemed to be falling apart and coming back together at the command of his fingertips I was moved to tears. For me it was the best thing I saw at TED. In fact, I'm a little misty thinking about it now. Wow, what a genius. I hope I get to go.