I recently painted a part of this epic mural project called 100 Block. Organized by The Exhibition District, this is a mural created by 100 different artists each painting a 3′ x 3′ square. Now that it’s complete, it’s being submitted for a Guinness World Record for “largest collaborative mural” (as in: most number of artists working together on a mural).
The call went out last May during which I made a small (12″ x 12″) painted concept. This is based on a photo I found in the Library of Congress of Mrs. Norris with homegrown cabbage (photographer: Russell Lee), a photo I’d found a little while ago while browsing the LoC archives. It reminds me a lot of the coastside and CA central coast, though finding out it was a photo of a victory garden was a neat little discovery too. Unfortunately the original mural location fell through, so I had no idea when (or if) this might happen.
It came back to life at the end of January once a new location was secured, and we started the elaborate process of alternating artist times so we could all do our parts. They provided everything including the scaffolding, tape, paint, and brushes thanks to many excellent sponsors. I was a little nervous about both the texture of the wall (very bumpy) and getting the right color mixes since they weren’t my paints. So: I ended up blocking out the main shapes very quickly, and each area probably went through 2-3 rounds to get the colors right. The lighting also shifted a lot during the day from dark clouds to bright sun, so I’m glad it came out as balanced as it did.
The timing ended up being extra complex due to the weather. More than half of the original artist days to paint were rained out, so we had a lot of reschedules. It was completed in time for the First Friday artwalk, though, and it looks great!
A few mentions in local news:
• Artists Collaborate to Create Possible Guinness World Record Mural In Downtown San José (NBC Bay Area, Feb. 27, 2019)
• Massive Mural Project Underway In Downtown San José (San José Mercury News, Feb. 20, 2019)
This was a quick piece done for an exhibit at Works/San José show, Unity In Diversity. This theme relates to a graphic design project by San Jose State BFA student Javier Yep in 2017 that included a “unity in diversity” flag. This particular call asked for self-portraits and biographical work.
While I’ve used myself in a model in some works, that’s not usually my first choice. I don’t find self-portraits an especially effective path for introspection for me; I am comfortable enough in my own head and processing the visual layer is extra noise. I’m white, and see enough people that look like me in art. And I’m a white woman, and white women in particular are overrepresented as art subjects. Yet they are also underrepresented as artists themselves – so I’ll do self-portraits mostly for the sake of participation in shows when that’s the focus.
I thought about a show of portraits and figured a little variety would help (doesn’t need to be a sea of heads), so I used a part of me I see all the time: my hand. I’ve painted a lot of hands this last year so it feels very familiar now. I picked my non-dominant hand for ease of sketching. I used a limited, saturated palette to emphasize the colloquial description of “white”, and also to emphasize my alarmingly aqua veins. That also led to some spiffy two-gel-light looking edge detail that gives it a nice ’80’s vibe too.
The squares behind it are a pixelly/patchwork representation of the range of tones of my “whiteness”, which on reflection, became a study of body weirdness. I think of pink because I burn easily and have a little rosacea. I think of brown because I get a touch of melasma from sun now. I think of a light blueish on my palm at the base of my thumb. I think of a disturbingly cream color when my toes go numb when it’s cold. It ends up being a survey of details to contrast with the reductiveness of the style of the hand. That, or it simply looks pleasant; really, it’s both.
For 50 days through June and July, I painted a series of gesture paintings. I enlisted 24 models (plus me, for one of these) for variety…and also to involve friends, family, and co-workers along the way,
Here are all fifty gestures. They’re each 6″ x 6″, and will be available at Sanchez Art Center on a first-come first-serve basis during the show. Go check it out!
Here’s a triptych of paintings I created based on the theme of the 2018 Works/San José member show: Infinite Memes. When I saw the theme I immediately thought of rickrolling and wanted to create something based on that.
I re-watched the video and couldn’t decide which look I wanted to show, so I picked three. I figured that had the highest likelihood of someone recognizing what they are in case they mostly remember one (for me it’s the black mock turtleneck and tan trenchcoat). These also gave the feel of the little back-and-forth dance he’s doing during the video.
I’ve done a number of paintings from less-than-ideal and low-res photos, and I like the challenge of extracting something painterly and interesting from them. These were screenshots from YouTube. While I wanted to preserve the look of each setting, I chose a limited color palette to unify them. I liked how the dark slate gray looked on it’s own so I left it flat, in contrast to the detail on the rest of the painting.
I created this sketch for a self-portrait show at the Art NXT Level / 33 Contemporary Gallery space in Chicago. This opportunity popped up in the middle of my 50|50 efforts and I was feeling a bit overloaded with painting – hence the ink.
This is the first time I’ve drawn on mat board, which is usually used for framing. As a drawing surface it’s much “thirstier” than I expected. It absorbs ink pretty quickly and can get saturated easily so it starts degrading the paper itself. The texture also catches the ink in ways that can be unexpected. Tricky!
I started this during Caltrain commutes to the city to force myself to keep it loose and not get too precious about the lines. The art in the bottom is a pointillism rendering of one of my paintings, Untapped (which itself references the Mona Lisa).
Since May I’ve dived headlong into a few projects: showing at ZeroONE (an art fair/street market), prepping for (and now waiting on) the 100 Block mural project, and ramping up for the 10th Annual 50|50 show at Sanchez Art Center. Here’s a few work-in-progress pics of my theme, gestures. 50|50 is a little different as a show because it’s a benefit and is cash-and-carry – which means all works are available for purchase and can be taken home immediately.
There will only be one chance to see them all together: the opening night of August 31st, 2018. The first two hours are a preview fundraiser benefit for Sanchez Art Center (tickets for sale on Eventbrite – they often sell out!) and then it’s open to the public for the rest of the evening. I’ve been posting them in batches of 5 on the various social networks, and will post the full set in early August or so.
Here’s a throwback of a painting I’d felt was not quite done at the time and finished years later. I recently brought it out for a show so here’s a little backstory about it.
I started this one in college as an figure painting exploration with a particular focus on hands and feet. At the time it only had the frontmost two feet in it which ended up looking strange. It seemed like there was one giant thing? creature? looming above it.
At some point after moving I’d left it out on my drafting table. Something about leaving it off to the side to just see on occasion helped me realize one day that I just needed more in the background. I filled in a bunch of additional feet and it finally felt balanced. It was a little odd to work on something after so long, but why not? I was much happier with the result.
I ended up carrying through parts of this style to other work without really thinking about it. The mix of detailed backgrounds with drawn elements came up in the Chinese folktales re-paints of scroll calendars. It’s been easier to spot these things in hindsight than to explicitly plan for them.
A few months ago I had a little extra time in the evening and ended up at Corridor with a glass of wine and my laptop. While I was there, I was struck by the lighting and the rhythm of the layout. Two other people were there, quietly enjoying a dinner, so I surreptitiously snagged a photo that I decided to make into a painting.As with all paintings with photo references, I start with a sketch. It’s nearly impossible to correct weird angles or proportions after the fact so I always do this when it’s from a photo. The lighting in this is a bit darker than I’ve done before – a good test of me slowly attempting to improve the balance of dark tones in my paintings. Part of the challenge is that I get them looking right in person and then the photo is just…off. When I take a photo or scan them I always need to adjust them to match what I see. The dark tones are built up from a mix of burnt umber and ultramarine blue.
I listened to the High Resolution Design podcast while painting this one. I think it helped keep me in an industrial design headspace while I was painting all of these lights.
During the Cinequest Film & VR Festival, I’m one of three “live painting” artists for Phantom Galleries along with Brandon Anderton and Fernando Amaro Jr. (Force129). We each started a painting that we’ll complete over the course of the Cinequest Festival, to be completed on the final day at the closing party.
When I thought of the theme, “Elevate”, I thought about how people express themselves with gestures. I picked a movie for each of the 13 days of Cinequest to be represented here by gestures from one of their characters. I’ll update this daily with the current progress as well as information about which movies are represented. By March 12th, this will contain them all. Enjoy!
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I made a few more three-panel illustrations with the phrase “Peace, Love, and Understanding” spelled out across tattoos. Not too much story on these; I mostly picked it as an excuse to draw different people and to think through the meaning of tattoos. “Peace” and “Love” are pretty easy to incorporate into tattoos…but “Understanding”? Much more difficult. The best I could do on that one was either including it in a longer phrase, or taking the education angle. It was getting quite challenging to not repeat tattoo locations too.