Saturday, March 29, 2014

Hunting, Hunting

Okay folks, I'm back to animals.  Hunting, Hunting is now complete.  I began it at the Prairie Center residency back in November.  Below are the other three works that make up The Hunting Series.  I feel pretty solid that I'm done with this particular series.  

I also feel pretty solid that I'm drowning in paintings .  Earlier this week I was putting together a slide show of work for an artist talk I have to give during my upcoming residency next month in Connecticut which is an odd experience within itself - me talking to strangers about what I make in my oddest moments alone in the studio.  I envision an unconcious audience that looks a lot like they have just endured a 1972 Grand Canyon slide show (in black & white) given by a distant relative of a former neighbor's boss a.k.a. Snoozefest.  

So basically I attempted to edit the last seven years of work in a semi-cohesive, chronological order explaining the journey of my exploration of man vs. nature.  I ended up with 25 or so of what I feel are the most successful images and when flipping from the first slide through to the last one I thought, "Hey, that's a pretty sturdy group of paintings you have there Layla."  

It's nice to be able to see the evolution of an idea but at the same time I feel it's a farce.  The audience is seeing less than probably 5% of all the work that was made during that time period.  They don't see the crap work (experiments as I call them)  that fill three closets nor do they need to (they would be sawing logs before we got out of 2009).  I just find it interesting how much work goes into your last painting.  It's not the 30+ hours you stand in front of that particular canvas but how much time you spent in front of every other canvas combined.

Hunting, Hunting, oil, 5'x5', 2014

 St. Francis and the Addax, oil, 5'x5', 2013

 Casey the Elephant, oil, 5'x5', 2014

The Moon Bear Story, oil, 5'x5', 2013


Saturday, March 22, 2014

Acid City

I did acid for the first time when I was 16 or 17 and it took 3 days for my feet to touch earth again.  The only way I can explain it is that the experience opened new doors in my mind-spaces to explore and spaces that I didn't know existed.  And maybe they hadn't existed, maybe they were grown like crystals in a petri dish the moment I ate the acid-soaked tab.  

And it was a bad trip as was every one after that.  But I kept trying to conquer the drug experience, fighting it but it never improved.  It's like if you're stuck in quicksand, I'm told you should remain still, that fighting will only pull you deeper.  Well, deeper I went.

So I spent a good few years building rooms in my mind; building corridors, doorways, and entire buildings that made no sense in respect to one another.  Moving from one space to the next was impossible or at the very least constituted a convoluted and exhausting hike.  The experiences accomplished nothing more than filling my teenage years with an arsenal of weird shit-weird people, weird places, weird situations.  For good or bad the needle on this record left a permanent groove because twenty plus years later the rooms still remain.

 Banana

 Blueberry

 Bubblegum

 Orange

 Sour Apple

 Grape

 95 Flavored Houses

105 Blue-flavored Houses

Random Studio Haps

I haven't had a solo show in almost two years, I've put some older work in a couple of group shows but basically I've been making work just to make work.  The freedom is great, it has allowed me to experiment which produces things that I might not make with an audience in mind.  

But creating a body of work for a specific exhibition on a specific date for a specific venue sets solid perimeters and boundaries which I do well with.  It's a focus, a purpose.  I've felt a bit scattered without such guidelines but wouldn't trade the weird shit that has put itself on canvas (and wood and jars and cardboard, etc.).

A shift in that way of working is on the horizon I feel.  Next month I leave for a two-week artist residency at Weir Farm Art Center in Wilton, CT.  Residencies have provided directions and stirred interest in things, places, people, and ideas that I could have never come up with on my own.  I can only hope that Weir Farm will be no different.  And this upcoming fall I will begin grad school at TCU as a MFA in Painting student.

Having said all of that, I put together a solo show of weird shit for my dog, Kona.  As you can tell, she couldn't care less.

 Museo de Kona

I find it interesting how ideas spring back up again and again.  In this case - little houses.  New Zealand (2011):  While suffering from homesickness and at the same time exploring what the hell home really meant, I made a shit ton of small house sculptures using materials around my living quarters.  Fort Worth, TX (2014):  I found home.  Not just a location but the home in your heart and all the other true and trite descriptions of that feeling of safety and comfort.  Again, I made a shit ton of small houses.

New Zealand Houses (left)  Fort Worth Houses (right)

My friend's girlfriend told him a story of a little field mouse when they first began dating.  He asked me to illustrate that story which he turned into a book.  He then proposed to her with said book.  She said yes.  Sweetest.  Story. Ever.  I am so honored to have played a part in something so wonderful.

 Panels 1-3
 Panels 4-6
Panels 7-9

And here is a stop motion film about footsteps.

video

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Flavored Buildings

Buildings.  More of them.  In flavors.  
Orange, grape, sour apple, bubblegum, blueberry, and of course banana.

When you cut out flavored buildings, then stack the silhouettes on top of one another, you get this.

 I've found that if you make flavored buildings, then you must make flavored houses.

And if you make a variety of flavored houses, then you have to select one flavor (in this case blueberry) and then make 100 houses out of that flavor.  And put them in a teacup.  Because who doesn't want to know what 100 tiny blueberry houses look like in a teacup?

Logically your mind will then want to know what a suburb of bubblegum-flavored houses would look like at night.  Turns out they look like grape-flavored houses under the cover of darkness.

You then obviously need to make a stop motion film about it.


Monday, March 3, 2014

The city is growing.

This city shit isn't stoppin' anytime soon.  All aboard, let's go on a tour...

 The two above feel a little suburban-ish to me, maybe encroaching on a more posh-downtown-outskirts kinda thing.

 This one is an inner-city housing project.

And these two are orange and grape flavored.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

City: Night & Day

Looks like I'm carrying on with the weird city theme.  It's one of those things that isn't planned, it just comes through so I'm riding it out to see what happens…

 I'm pretty sure Kona, my co-pilot, is telepathically transmitting her city dreams onto my drawing paper.

 It's a fact - every city needs a daytime and a nighttime backdrop.

Boom.  There ya have it…a weird city in the day and in the night.