What defines failure?
I could say that my Etsy shop has been a failure. And that would be true. It's been almost a year and I've only had a few sales here and there. But it would only be true if I stopped working on it.
The only thing that makes failure a period on the end of a sentence is that nothing follows it. But if I were to keep going, then it's just a dip in the road and who knows where that line is headed next. If I keep making work, it is natural that it'll improve. Failure doesn't have to stick.
So then, what about success? You could argue that success is easy to measure. You could count clients, gigs, measure how prolific you were year by year, or look back and see how much the work has improved. But what about when you're not selling well, or are stuck in a rut and don't know what to make next? What if you don't care to sell at all? Or what if no one ever saw anything you made...would you still make it?
Maybe success is just about the process. It's a somewhat wobbly continuous road of curiosity, creation, and problem solving. It's not the end of a goal but a commitment to keep moving. Because once you get to the end of a project or reach a goal a new one is just around the corner.
This week I've been super into watching the Winter Olympics. Shaun White threw down an epic gold medal winning run in the snowboard halfpipe final. Now there are rumors he might compete in skateboarding for the 2022 Olympics (yes please). With a four year gap until the next Olympics there has to be a love found in the process despite the difficult days.
Maybe failure and success are not at opposite sides of the spectrum, but rather right next to each other. And if you keep flipping failure over it turns into success.
MLB season is over. But I'm gonna talk about it anyway, because baseball withdrawals are real.
I always look forward to October.
It is the month of fall (kinda, I live in LA) but more importantly the month of postseason baseball.
We all know what happened this year. And by the colors above you can probably guess what team I follow.
I really thought the boys in blue could bring it all the way home. Close, but no cigar. But I'm super proud of them for finally getting to the World Series, and for all their hard work this year. They really killed it. 2017 was a fun season.
This print was finished right before game 6 of the WS. Prior to this, I hadn't done a linocut since high school. So, it was pretty fun to experiment and carve away. It didn't go quite as planned. I had some weird transfers the first few tries. Here's the breakdown of what I did.
Process of Linocut:
- sketch baseball
- transfer drawing to linoleum
- carve away what you don't want printed
- paint blue watercolor swooshes - test diff papers: hot press watercolor paper (the best transfer), cold press (ok), etching paper (failed)
- ink lino cut with white paint - tried speedball block ink (better transfer) & screen printing ink (ok transfer)
- press paper on linoleum to transfer image
I wasn't too happy with the way the stitches transferred so I did some cut outs on them for more definition. The cool thing about printmaking is you can make duplicates easily, try different materials, and find what works best.
So here's to more tries.
We'll get em next year.
I started painting this after watching the documentary Chasing Coral a few months ago.
Before watching the film I had no clue what the term "coral bleaching" meant. Or that it could have such a catastrophic impact on the oceans ecosystem and humanity in the long run.
Zach Rago, camera technician and a self proclaimed coral nerd, was one of the divers daily photographing the bleaching phenomena happening in the Great Barrier Reef. Coral turn white due to the stress of the ocean's rising temperature, because of climate change, and eventually die off with continued stress.
"A coral is a fundamental part of a huge ecosystem. It is, in a way, just like the trees in a forrest. If coral reefs are lost, we're affecting the life of a quarter of the ocean. If the little fish disappear, the big fish disappear, and then you can look at humans as one of the big fish," explained Dr. Justin Marshall.
It was a surprisingly emotionally journey watching not only the death of the reefs, but also watching Zach witness the disappearance of the reefs he loves and spent everyday with documenting. It made me want to go diving and see the beauty of the coral that still remain.
Chasing Coral was first brought to my attention by an artist I follow, Sha'an d'Anthes, who did an illustration for the movie.
You can see her piece here: http://www.furrylittlepeach.com/netflix-chasing-coral/
This doc is definitely worth watching. If you haven't seen it yet, go check it out on Netflix.
Illustration in process:
french ultramine blue,
granulates like sand,
pour on salt,
to taste the sea
A 13 word poem for a color I've been using a lot lately.
NY Times 13 word stories were brought to my attention by my talented friend:
Go check out her story.
This year I was honored to be a part of the All Media 2017 Show at the Irvine Fine Arts Center. It's always exciting to be part of a show, but especially when it was as diverse as this one was. You can see for yourself in a few pictures i snapped below at opening night. It featured everything from ceramic sculpture to installation art, painting, and photography. The painting with the hand over the girls face and the last image with the dots were a couple of my favorites. And both won prizes that night!
My contribution to the show was this canvas sculpture:
I had been working on it, on and off, for the past three years. But let me explain where the idea first began.
At the end of college I became interested in the canvas as an object, a sculpture in itself, rather than just a surface to paint on. Looking back, I think my curiosity was sparked when a professor asked the class who painted on the edges of their canvases, which essentially wraps the painting around the frame. There were only a few people who raised their hands. And I was one of them. After that I wanted to see how I could push this idea further.
I first experimented by cutting into and sewing the canvas. The idea was to create inside of the painting rather than to have something protrude from it. Almost like it is unveiling what is inside of it. I made these three mini canvas sculptures during my senior year:
Cut to my last semester of painting class. I had an oil painting that flopped in critique. It didn't come across the way I meant it too. My prof called it kitsch, which was not at all what I was going for. After I graduated and moved back home I eventually cut that painting up. I wanted to experiment on a large scale what I had done with the mini canvas series.
I never thought it would take me so long to actually finish this piece. Most of the time it sat with just the middle piece sewn into it, like in image 2 below. Turns out sewing into a 2 x 3 ' canvas is kind of hard with short arms. I also accidentally stabbed myself too many times to count, haha. I eventually got a thimble.
About 8 months ago I looked over at the half-sewn canvas propped up behind my door. I knew that if I didn't start back on it then, I would never finish it. So i gave myself a deadline to finish it and submit it to an LA gallery show focused on textiles. I eventually finished it in time, May 2017, but didn't get into the first show I applied too. Luckily, the Irvine Fine Arts All Media 2017 show came along, and I was accepted.
Some of the stages:
When there are so many projects going at once that it can be overwhelming just looking at everything that isn't finished yet. There's always a moment you have to choose to work or leave it looming. I hope that this would encourage you to finish something you once found exciting or curious. Sometimes its worth it to see something through. You never know what ideas it could spark next.
Music listened to while working:
Joni Mitchell: Blue, Clouds
Ben Howard: I Forget Where We Were
The Avett Brothers: I and Love and You, Magpie And The Dandelion
Laura Marling: A Creature I Don't Know, I Speak Because I Can
"What you can always do is open the door and set the table for art to come in. You can't always guarantee it will come in but you can invite it and show up." Neil Gaiman
People love to romanticize an artists life. But I have found that so much of art is about showing up and putting in the effort, when you do feel like it and when you don't. I'm four years out of school and still trying to get better about the latter.
When I was at UC Berkeley I took a screenprinting class. We had a print sale at the end of the semester and I remember a print my teacher had made that said "This Is Not A Hobby" in bright red ink printed on thick brown paper. I wish I had got one. That statement summarizes it all. This art practice is not a hobby. It is a life. A way of life. And in order to keep going, you have to keep showing up. You have to set the table. This is my attempt at documenting that process.