I have finally completed a piece that I am somewhat satisfied with. This was also one of the most transformative ways I have ever worked which included many stages in the process. The result has been very rewarding and I think I am beginning to fine tune my voice as an artist. It started as my usual random sketch which I selected from an instagram post awhile back and then turned into a loose digital mock up which finally became the schematics for a mixed media frenzy that you see here. I guess you can say it went from software to hardware. I think the reason why I am content with this one is because it mixes all of the things I love most in visual art such as graphic design, portraiture, sketching, digital references, 3D architect modeling, patterns, and graffiti marks. I especially loved working with less with paint and more with the hardware. One thing that stood out about the process was its similarity to cooking in that I needed to prepare the "ingredients" ahead of time which were the cuts and shapes that would later be applied to the final. I call this piece "Notes" inspired by the different tones in music and mood. This will be the first of many to come. Enjoy and feel free to comment!
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The following are some step by step photos of my process in creating a recent piece for my upcoming show at Cukui.
For the most part, I try to avoid painting portraits of celebrities because I feel the work may lack a sense of wonder, and mystery. I also worry if people won't see passed their mental image of who the iconic figure is. Most times I prefer anonymous faces to begin paintings with because I use them as a starting point. I usually try to keep just enough to highlight a certain expression. This sensibility is probably from my experience through graffiti where you basically tweak and reinterpret legible typography based on your feelings and movement.
Well for my current show, I am going against my usual thoughts on portraiture. For a while now i have been wanting to paint a series based on various musicians through my own artist lens because music has provided so much inspiration and therapy for me. Due to my own prejudices on this type of portraiture I have avoided it. But damn it, sometimes you just gotta let it out! I hope to go past what a photograph can capture by absorbing a feeling and releasing it through the work.
Who is The Notorious B.I.G.? Certainly I don't know. Is he a Coogi pattern with shades, and a crown? I started with these elements, which are so very graphic as visual identifiers, and decided to abstract them and find new forms and compositions. I'm not sure what you get from it as I cannot dictate your feelings but I definitely stumbled onto some unexpected results and stopped the painting at a place that I feel is new and interesting. Enjoy!
It's been a pretty busy fall and end of summer. Luckily though I have been able to manage between family and work really well thanks to the new studio space. I still have yet to do a full post about the recent installation over at Oakland Museum of CA because I need to get proper photos.
The good news is I have had to jump right into new projects. The first is a show I'm working on for December of this year at Cukui. The pieces will be what I call a visual playlist. Basically it's a series of portraits dedicated to international and local musicians. Public Meridian, a San Francisco based brand that makes custom bracelets will be creating pieces that coincide with each painting. It should be interesting to see how they translate the music and my art into bracelets. I am most inspired by music when it comes to art, and various types at that. Of course it's really challenging to distill so many great musicians into a small handful to be painted so we voted on some of our favorites based on their international, and local impact, while being conscious of Cukui brand and their following. Since this series can be expanded on, we will most likely continue afterwards.
Meanwhile, I am also working on releasing more prints with 1xrun as our first release was a success. I am also going to be doing a Japanese pop series with Yamamoto Industries that will be produced as iphone cases and limited edition prints.
Lastly, when this is all said and done, my goal is to begin a new series of pieces. They will still involve bits of typography, hybrid identity, and topography but rather than painting the dissection as I have done in the past I would like to actually cut through the surface using power tools and other building materials. I think this will open up many more possibilities on how to think about the topic.
Here are some in progress pics.
This weekend I had the pleasure of taking a road trip down to Visalia California (Central California). I was invited by my long time friend and fellow artist Eric Gonzalez who heads an organization named Urbanist Collective. They contributed to a citywide event in Visalia that traditionally involves agricultural food tasting.
For this event Urbanist Collective was brought on to bring some new flavor to an old school show. So they curated a live outdoor mural jam involving local artists and others from all over California, including the Bay Area and L.A. My impression after making connections with some locals, fellow Yay Areans and Los Angelinos is that this event could become an annual midpoint destination for Californian creatives to jumpstart the works of the future. Here's a pic of my contribution, and a few of the many good folks I befriended during the process.
Thank you Eric and familia, Urbanist Collective, and the City of Visalia.
I recently completed this painting based on a sketch style that I've been wanting to develop. The portrait is still based on my original intent of experimentation using the face as a platform to combine different visual cues in identity. For me this piece was a breakthrough because I have finally come full circle in my artistic process since I included my experience acquired both in graffiti and at the academy. This was done through the use of material such as spray paint, streaks, markers, and abstract lettering which I incorporated through the face and head piece. For me, the fusion shown in this portrait is less about ethnicity, or culture but more about a combination of artistic time periods, expressions and techniques. The process itself involved so many different ingredients. I think I've finally found something that shows a true sync between my hand and mind.