Friday, March 27, 2009

Pinups, Dodecahedrons, and Truncated Portraits

This is a section of what I'm working on now. I work on about 10(ish) things at once. I have to float in order to keep the lively touch I like. Some might call it halting or even ham-fisted and knowingly clumsy. I like that. I also like to work on that many things to get a broader sense of what the group is doing at the moment. Right now I'm looking a lot at one of my favorite Canadian painters, Joanne Tod. I'm fascinated by her work, her relationship to image-making. Well, back to the drawing board. Have a good Friday.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Greenbelt Studio

This is a photo of a studio I had in Greenbelt, Maryland. I was working on some murals for the Student Financial Assistance branch of the Department of Education in Washington D.C. I made three big multi-panel murals that summer, I think two of which are still extant. I know for a fact one hangs in Homeland Security, which I find very amusing. I was painting happy students, as Student Financial Assistance is the branch of Education that grants student loans (yes, they put out the FAFSA). The murals were intended to show the consumer of the SFA's product (the happy and educated student), and I think they turned out so well that the building kept them even after the SFA moved. The building where the murals are housed is a former tank warehouse, kind of dank, long hallways. This studio was delightful as it was in a converted school building in an unusual WPA-built town. I recall Greenbelt had housing that looked like coop-style apartments, all whitewashed, intriguing stone-relief murals, and great public spaces. I was absolutely CHARMED by Greenbelt and hope to go back there someday.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

From an Arcade Card

Great 30's era hairstyle (bob?) from an arcade card. Groovy gaze too, kind of faraway and out of frame. Not really sure what all these pencil sketches will amount to right now. They are just a nice sideline to the paintings. A good way to keep the hands going when I can't spend a full day at the studio. The portraits keep re-appearing in the paintings, so I'm sure I'll find ways to recycle the work... but they are interesting as a daily practice of drawing and image-making too. Why am I taking cheap antique photographs and ephemera and repeating them in pencil? Why do I change details? Alter beauties and sour faces to a kind of baseline? What does it mean to use arcade cards? Cards given as "rewards" or giveaways that are starlets' images or pinups.. alluring handouts for busy hands... I'm asking something of the portrait, of the photo-object, of ephemera, of beauty, but I'm not always sure what. I kind of enjoy not having a defined relationship to the image, to my project. If I explained it all it might become something I didn't want to do any more.

Monday, March 02, 2009

Sketchbook 2003-4: Monsters

I was organizing my home office and found my old sketchbooks from grad school and earlier. I thought I'd keep them around and look at them. Its helpful to look at them. Geez has it already been four years since I graduated? This image was made just after I started Jerry Mischak's Wintersession class at RISD on Monsters. We watched Monster flicks like the Blob and Invasion of the Body Snatchers and talked about camp and kitsch! It was fantastic. The work in that course ranged from highly conceptual to creature-feature models that were so good the kids could have trotted over to a studio and gone to work on the next feature film. I just made weird drawings and sculpture and learned about the Wolf Man's walk (very haggard and limpy).