Archive | March, 2010

Interview : Ian Johnson

31 Mar

I took a couple pics as Ian was setting up for Of The Living Sky, his show at Park Life this Friday. The show looks amazing and will run April 2 – May 1.
Tell me about Of The Living Sky. And what was playing in the background as you were working on the show?

Of The Living Sky is a collection of pieces I have made in the last year or so. The title was taken from a Sun Ra song called portrait of the living sky. Usually I title things from songs I listen to or that make sense to me. I took out the portrait part because it seemed kind of redundant given the work. The title eludes to the idea of sound vibrating, all kinds of frequencies, radiation, thoughts and wind all moving through what at times I perceive as a static blue or gray or black backdrop. It’s actually completely alive with all kinds of things and without the sky and air being able to vibrate, there would be no sounds and no music. I try and listen to who I am painting at the time so it was mostly, Sun
Ra, Eric Dolphy, Billie Holiday, Anthony Braxton, Miles Davis, Art Ensemble of Chicago, Charles Mingus, Chet Baker, Ornette Coleman, Ellington, kind of all over the jazz spectrum really. I listen to other music though as well.

Does your work differ off the clock? Or may you even dip into crafts now and again for a change of pace?

I’m not sure what this means exactly. like if i just make art for myself? I don’t really have time to do stuff totally for myself, if I’m working there are a lot of things I should be doing. But I try to make things that I like so it’s kind of a gray area. I make music sometimes that’s pretty much just for the sake of doing it, aka its not very good.

sculptural aspect in the works

Favorite books or comics way back when or even now?

I was never into comics really. Book wise I like Murakami, Bukowski, Fante, Hamsun, Kafka, Celine… I haven’t been reading too much lately though unfortunately. So many books…

Do you have any inspirations that may be unexpected to those familiar with your work?

Probably not, it’s pretty straight forward. Though what the background means and how it relates to the person I’m drawing or their music or the time in which it takes place, they may not be aware of. I don’t think it’s that important to know those things though. Things come from everywhere I don’t think we are ever totally aware of the scope of what drives us in certain directions, or makes us respond to things in certain ways. That’s kind of whats nice about it.

okay be candid !

How has your process or perspective evolved in the past five years?

I am still learning how to paint, draw and compose elements which is kind of always a perpetual process I guess. Perspective wise, I am pretty much the same.

You’ve been art director for Western Edition Skateboards for about a decade. Have there been any major challenges?

As for Western Edition, challenges are really just getting everything made and sold in a timely fashion. Keeping the whole business running in general, which I don’t really handle. On the art side its not too difficult, its pretty much things I would want to see on a skateboard so it just takes some time once you decide what you want to make.

Whats is your ratio of skateboarding : art : sleep ?

It varies but lately something like that, I haven’t skated much lately.

Being a San Francisco resident for some time, what is something you can find here and nowhere else?

Obviously there are lots of things, vistas, hills, restaurants, streets and neighborhoods that are unique to sf so its hard to pick one thing. Its kind of corny but I would just say friends, that is what I would miss the most if I moved.


SOEX Monster Drawing Rally 2010

31 Mar

Finally got this up…first time with a video camera/using Final Cut be warned of its awesomeness !

Studio Visit : MICKE TONG

30 Mar

I stopped by Micke’s place to check out how he’s faring in preparation for Ground Control, his show coming up this Saturday at Public Salon in SF.

How do space and time portals tie into your show?
Places on Earth hold certain powers, anomalies that many are drawn to and are perfectly mysterious, like the Bermuda Triangle for instance or the Dragon’s Triangle located in the Philippine Sea off China’s eastern coast is also known for vanishing ships and seamen.

And what personal experiences do you look to for inspiration?
I’ve always been intrigued with Sociology and how humans relate to one another.  For this show my personal experiences range from my admiration of science fiction particularly Philip K. Dick and Gene Roddenberry, my introduction to God as a “born again Christian” as a youth which has led me to see the social connections to the celestial world.  Also, over the years I’ve been surrounded by brilliant and loving people of Muslim faith as well.  Their unique character and dedication to their religion has caused me to take a look at one of the most powerful and misunderstood places on Earth, Mecca. It’s these things, faith, power and the things unexplainable by natural law that has inspired Ground Control.

Where do you get your colors?!! — what drew me to your micro Habitat show @ Belljar
I get them from R&E paint supply.  Lots of the more colorful paint I use are automotive, inspired by low riders that I used to see growing up in east San Jose.

Are you leaving your digital arts strain as you develop through different series of work or do you see yourself coming back to that?
There is no leaving or coming back.  It’s all a part of my arsenal of mediums.  The more knowledge I obtain with materials and how to apply those materials to my artwork, in my opinion, makes my art more interesting.  Learning new processes makes art enjoyable for me.  I have traditional foundations of drawing and painting that I learned at the Academy of Art SF, but at times I feel the need to express myself beyond the pen and brush.

Can you tell me exactly what your process is with the architectural aspect and how that permeated into your most recent work?
It all seems to be a natural progression.  I’ve always been drawn to architecture and design. Around 2006 I started creating urban landscapes with digital illustration.  Much of the wood sculptures I make today were conceived from those drawings. All the buildings are sourced from imagination since there are no rules to creating art.  As long as the buildings are in fairly similar scale I’m happy. All the buildings are usually created from left over scraps of wood in my studio.  Most are reformed using balsa and others are carved with my rotary tool.

How did you get into the LA art scene and why did you leave? I love the art scene in Los Angeles.  It’s thriving, people buy art and are just genuinely cool.  I was introduced to LA by art enthusiast Michael Siegel a few years ago who saw my “Open Studio” at Arspace and asked me to show.  My hearts still in tinsel town, but it became very difficult to ship and travel back and forth over time.  Plus, I wanted to represent my favorite city, San Francisco.

chicken head

Performance aspect coming soon? I’ve read but have yet to see.
Nothing on the horizon really, but reading about Marina Abramović at the MOMA really inspired me.  Her concepts are above and beyond.

Wall of power reference?  Lightning is just cool? Lightening is always cool.  The “Wall of Power” is more a kin to wealth and people that have it.  It has no real bounds as long an exchange of money exists.  Wall street, corporations, their capability to have a stronghold on our daily lives are a concern that we all have.

Rosco has an affinity for being under my feet

Debra Baxter

25 Mar

Birthday Wish List (August 28th)

Item 1:

Crystal Brass Knuckle (I am going to realign your chakras motherf*****)
Quartz crystals, sterling silver
7 x 6 x 2.5 in

Death’s Boutique @ Yerba Buena

23 Mar

A death centric mindset drew friends Kara Tanaka and Marco Rios into collaboration for Yerba Buena Center for the Arts. The resulting exhibit Death’s Boutique gave rise to a broader evaluation of alternative burial techniques and premeditated ends. The duo traveled to Sweden in exploration of an environmentally friendly method of human decomposition and continued on to Lithuania to fathom it’s impetuous standing for highest suicide rate.

The full article can be read here

I dont know why I never posted this! Pee-wee Review

9 Mar

I saw The Pee-wee Herman Show in LA in February and it was

Pleasantly Twisted

(pic from Pee-wee’s fb… lol)

This particular Saturday night, in downtown Los Angeles, was sponsored by Bud Light and started off with The Pledge of Allegiance – a precursor indicative of the tone for the next hour and a half of The Pee-Wee Herman Show. The stage at Club Nokia was a fantasy of colors, over and undersized talking furniture, novelty gizmos and cartoony sound effects. Pee-wee, a pale and skinny, disproportionately dressed man of childish exaggerations roused the crowd with his chipper demeanor and deep rolling laughs that can better be described as a vibrating gurgle. A few empty seats scattered the venue, but good vibes were more than ample. This was the closing night of a month-long production directed by Alex Timbers, founder of New York’s Les Freres Corbusier (a theater company).

To be biologically expected, Pee-wee looked a bit older and even a bit creepier (Paul Reuben, now 57). A slightly disturbing thought followed when Pee-wee chucked his abstinence ring. Moving on. Back in the day, Pee-wee’s innocence trumped any subtle attempts to look up Ms. Yvonne’s skirt, whereas now the script had given way to blatant sexual innuendos. This flagrant approach marks an increasingly desensitized generation and, most certainly, an increasingly open-minded generation. He did indeed get laughs at every ploy, most were well deserved.

Playful infomercial references ran rampant. ShamWow made both a pre and posthumous appearance due to his accidental placement in the deep fat fryer. A possible hint at our nation’s tendencies for overindulging in fast fat-laden fare was made when Pee-wee stated he would starve without his fast food fryer. Josh Meyer’s character, Firefighter, suggested Pee-wee lay off the commodity after almost burning down the playhouse. Good advice.

The updated script also acknowledged the crowd’s vocabulary of pop culture. Resistance was futile. The curious nature of late Michael Jackson’s ever-lightening skin pigment was referenced for Jackson has been a classic butt of many-a-joke. ShamWow listed amongst its numerous household-helpful capabilities that it was completely bleachable. Pee-wee retorted, “Aren’t we all.”  Such an obvious cry for a laugh was met by mixed response. Some half-hearted chuckles were met with booms of laughter and clapping from a plainly generous or possibly more devout group of fans.

Every once in a while, the glitter encrusted video screen would drop down and play old school cartoons or lessons for good little children to mind their manners. This was a welcome throwback to “Pee-wee’s Playhouse” where each episode had a wholesome lesson to be learned. Apparently generosity wasn’t on the list.

Pee-wee was uncontrollably distraught for he sacrificed his one wish so Miss Yvonne, the most beautiful woman in Puppet Land, could be happy in her desire for Cowboy Curtis to like her, reeeally like her. The man of childish exaggerations demanded a second wish from Jambi. The genie’s bejeweled doors snapped shut, leaving the tantrum induced Pee-wee to lament out loud. Cowboy Curtis announced he already liked Ms. Yvonne, reeeally liked her. By default, Pee-wee got his wish to fly, a satisfying conclusion for a theater chalk full with gleeful Pee-wee lovers.

Rife with adult humor, pop culture and a devout crowd, the updated Pee-wee Herman Show was pleasantly twisted.

Club Nokia in downtown Los Angeles held the final night of The Pee-wee Herman Show February 7, 2010.

John Lee Hooker

9 Mar

I’ve been listening to him for two weeks straight and I don’t see an end in sight.