Browsing Posts in Paintings

I was planning to post a few short blurbs about each of the paintings from my last show. Alas, I didn’t get my act suitably geared up despite great intentions. I need to continue working on verbing my ideas more effectively.
I would like to thank everyone who came out on the 21st, or on any of the following days, to see my show. It means a lot that you gave me a little time from your respective schedules to stop in and see my work. After all the hours I spent in my room, alone, it was wonderful to see so many of you. I truly can’t thank you enough.
Without Further ado, here are the ten plus one paintings that made up “Refugees from the Golden-age”.

Animal Eye ChartOne of the nice things about being an artist in the digital age is that people from other countries have my paintings on their walls and my shirts on their backs. They find my stuff on the internet and contact me through my web page.

One of the bad things about the Internet is that people can find art online, copy it, and then sell it themselves. Recently someone contacted me to say they liked my Animal Eye Chart best out of all the designs they found. I often check on Google for my own name, and the name of my tees; don’t tell me you’ve never Googled yourself.  This time I found two new Animal Eye Chart shirts on the WWW. When I last checked there were none.

Here are the two I found

http://www.amazon.com/Loyal-Army-Juniors-Animal-T-Shirt/dp/B002W5UE3Y/ref=sr_1_18?ie=UTF8&s=apparel&qlEnable=1&qid=1274814452&sr=1-18″First duplicate

http://www.cafepress.ca/cascadilla.408447538″Second duplicate

I made this shirt in 2005, so I’ve had it around for quite some time. It’s one of my best sellers; continuing to sell it helps me to afford experimenting with new designs. Did they copy my design? In my heart I think they did. I doubt it’s because I don’t, in general, trust people (I’ve been known to leave my car door open but that’s another story). The reason is because anyone into tees spends a lot of time looking right where aim my shirts on the web: Etsy and Google. Yet who knows, they might have come up with the design on their own. 

So I’m left wondering whether I should ignore the similar designs, or shoot these people/business an email. After a little more searching, number one on the list seems to be a large chain, yikes.

We are so affluent that people from around the world come to Western cities to cook their food for us. When I was young I turned up my nose at a lot. I hatted the usual brussel sprouts, brocolli, frozen fish and stew. All of the things I hated were too normal to be exciting. Both my brother and I remember the smell of my mom’s most heinous creation, the dreaded white fish fresh from the freezer. It was the dread of our young existence that we still tease our mom about today. It’s a different world now, there are great restaurants everywhere with food from all the postal codes of the world. Only now it’s my parents who are turning their noses  at the beautiful foods of the world. Where I scoffed at the horrible routine of freezer fish my parents and their friends scoff at differences discovered by exploring food. It’s just another example of a battle between the Survivors of the Golden Age.

Hey, I’m hopping to have about ten new paintings done for the 21st. If you’re in Ottawa stop by for some beer, hummus and art. I appreciate your effort in coming out to say hi. After sacrificing my social life, for hours spent alone in my room, it means a lot to me seeing friends, family and stranger alike.Refugees From The Golden-age

In the coming weeks I want to share a few words about some of my new images, but before I do I need to explain a few things.

I am often guilty of an annoying artistic offence when I answer visitors’ questions about my paintings. The default answer I have given, often, goes something like this: “I don’t want to impose my interpretation on you, I want you to be free to interpret the image without my explanation colouring your view”. Now I know, even as I stammer out the above answer, that it is a cop-out. Why? Because everyone knows art is open to interpretation, so telling people that they can interpret my work is like saying frozen yogurt is for eating, while calling into question my sincerity as an artist. Since I’m selling my paintings this default answer actually screams out my intention not to offend. I think it’s human nature to avoid contradicting a customers’ opinion on their potential purchase, so, as long as we are in a venue accessorised with price lists, it’s difficult for me to say what I mean with the sincerity I’d like to convey. Basically, I’m worried that if the message you saw in my canvass is different from the meaning I had in mind as I created it that you might be less likely to buy the piece than if I reinforce how you saw the canvas. And the only way to do that is to downplay my ideas, and the themes I’m trying to bring up.

I have been trying to stop using the default answer when someone asks about the meaning behind creating a painting but it’s a difficult habit to break. My desire to discuss ideas with people when they visit me is quite strong. While I do like a good sale, an interesting discussion about one of the works, or ideas that the pieces present, stay with me long after I’ve spilt spaghetti sauce all over new jeans that said sale might buy. I’m trying to learn how to share my insights into why I created a certain piece without dampening the validity and importance that you, the viewer, have into the work.

My long drawn out explanation comes down to this; I think it will be easier to share some insights into the ideas behind my pieces in this format rather that verbally. My nerves are less likely to get frazzled by the possibility of a new pair of jeans, and you can go into the show with an idea of what I meant by completing this work. That way you are truly free to come up with your own ideas from the pieces, and then, hopefully, we can have a nice chat about things that the canvasses bring to mind.

Hopefully I’ll see you on the 21st.

Process

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A lot of people ask me about how I start a painting.  Most people figure I do the people last, not so. I start with people and build the canvass around them. Here is an example of a big canvas I did for my show last year. I knew that I wanted the painting to be build around the theme of public affection. When I’m walking around I love seeing people kissing and making out, but I think I’m in the minority. The whole prude thing is boring.  I’m not going to talk anymore about the theme of the painting, I’d like to show you the steps behind this big canvass. All told I spent between 100 and 150 hours on this big 48 in x 48 in piece. It was the main image for my show at LPM in 2009.

Finished painting

Finished painting

You can see the finished painting first. Next come a few progress pictures.

Japan

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My mom called at 3:10, it’s rather early to start triping to Japan. I’m not normally one to catch the worm, actually the early bird is normally the enemy of my daysleep. Anywho, this is it, I’m off to 日本。
楽しみ!