Wednesday, October 31, 2012

LOLA Magazine: I'm an Illustrator!

I just received my copy of LOLA Magazine, a Brazilian fashion magazine, in the mail today! I knew they were going to use my art to illustrate one of their articles, but I had only seen the mock up for one page and assumed they were going to use only one painting. I was pleasantly surprised to see that they actually used THREE paintings!

The issue that my work is in.

BTW they did ask if it was okay to add some color to the pieces. I didn't see any problem with it.

In other news....Painting has been going slow for me at the moment. I am having a hard time motivating myself lately. I have at least twelve pieces due this month so I am hoping this will make me get back into the swing of things. I have just been so tired lately though....grrr.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Other People's Opinions

Often times on Facebook people will post quotes by famous artists about art. Often times it is inspiring, sometimes even funny. Here is a quote that I saw recently by Andy Warhol:

While I know that he is talking about not judging your own art and just making it, it also makes me think about how we shouldn't worry about what others think about our art too. Too many people are concerned with what others think. It's human nature. But when it comes to making art, you just need to do it and do it without worry about what others may say or think about it. You can't let other's opinions dictate what you do with your art, and you especially can't let them keep you from making art.

In a society where opinion seems to matter even more, it's hard to not let it affect you. Facebook alone allows people to "like" your comments, status updates, and pictures you post. How is it NOT hard to let that get to you?I know that when I post a work in progress or a just completed painting, I am constantly checking to see how many likes there are as if that is an indicator of whether or not the work is good (and if you ask me about this in person I will totally deny it!), and I am pretty confident about the quality of my work. I can't even imagine what it would be like for someone less confident or just begining to cultivate their skill and talent. BUT IT IS JUST AN OPINION. It shouldn't stop you from making art.

I know a woman who wanted to be an artist but was having a hard time getting started with even the first painting because she was worried about it not being a good piece. She was worried about what people would think of her work. She worried so much that she never painted. Now she could have been a great painter or a mediocre painter, but how would we ever know since SHE NEVER PAINTS. The fear of a negative opinion is keeping her from doing something she really wants to do and that is just ridiculous. Now, this is an extreme example, but I am sure most of us have had this experience to some degree in our lives at some point.

So what do we do? We keep our head down and keep working while realizing that we can't please everyone, and we shouldn't have to. It's hard not to worry what others may think about your art. I still get pretty upset when I hear something negative about my work, but then I realize that while some people may not like what I do, plenty of people do...and more importantly, I like what I do. Making art makes ME happy so really, the only opinion that should matter is my own.

Speaking of's what I have been working on lately:
This still needs a bit of work. It is for a friend who will be taking some new studio shots of me soon.
The painting is 10"x10".

This painting is 36"x36" and will be shown at JoAnne Artman Gallery in Laguna Beach.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

But is it Porn?

My supposed pornographic painting.
Recently I posted an image of my current work in progress on Facebook, as I often do. I usually get a few likes and sometimes even a comment or two. This recent image definitely got it's share of comments and likes, but one in particular caught my attention. A friend, and fellow artist, commented that I was getting into porn because of the way the women were positioned and there was cleavage shown. While I am sure he is probably kidding, it made me think about art and when is it considered porn.

Women are often portrayed naked in art, and yet, who would consider that porn? The general public probably wouldn't. So if it is not a state of nakedness, then what makes an image pornographic (aside from the obvious depiction of people copulating)? The phrase "I know it when I see it" was famously used by US Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart to describe his test for obsenity and is often used when someone attempts to categorize an observable fact when it lacks clearly defined parameters. Surely we can tell when an image of a naked woman is art and when it is porn because we know porn when we see it, right? But apparently we all don't agree on what we see or how we see things otherwise there would be no debate, and I have seen this debated a lot recently on Facebook.

Close-up of the woman I worked on yesterday.
I think it starts with how the woman are positioned for starters. Granted, this is all subjective, but I think that's a big portion of it. Are the women in a seductive position while in a state of undress? Even that parameter is questionable since I have seen art where the women were naked and seductively posed and yet did not feel like it was pornographic. The artist who made the comment about my image on Facebook paints Asian women who I would say were quite pornographic. Often times these woman are not completely naked, yet between the position and the general "feel" of his paintings, they feel pornographic to me. I know a few people who think differently.

I guess it is all a matter of opinion and not something that I necessarily have the answers to. The Facebook comment, in addition to other posts I have seen where people have been outraged by some of the "art" posted because of it's perceived degradation of women, just got me thinking so I thought I'd process some of these thoughts on my blog.

On a side, yet relevant note, at my opening reception on Friday at ArtHaus, a woman commented that when she was a teen, pornographic magazines used to put a black bar over the eyes of the models. My art reminded her of it and gave my pieces a bit of an edge because of what the bars have been used for in the past. She got a little "thrill" when she saw my work because of this. It's pretty funny that two people in less than a week made a porn reference about my work. Maybe there is something to that comment about my getting into porn with my work.... nah!

Monday, October 8, 2012

Procrastination or Laziness

Up until four years ago I had a home studio. It was a spacious spare bedroom in my apartment in the Mission district of San Francisco. It was a great space and the commute was even better since there was none. One would think that this would be an ideal situation, being able to paint whenever one felt like it. But having had the studio at home for a good 6 years I realized that I was easily distracted. There were so many other things to do in my apartment (like watching way too much television) that I hardly painted. I would make myself feel anxious and guilty for not painting daily. I would procrastinate going into my studio. It was bad. The only times that seemed to be a good time to paint was when I had a research paper or essay due. I would procrastinate getting those papers done by painting. Those were not very productive years. 

Here's a painting I started early this summer but for some reason, I kept
putting off getting it finished. I am not sure why. Perhaps because there was
just so much to do in this one. Who knows. It was probably just more
procrastination. Well, I am happy to say that I FINALLY finished it yesterday.
When I moved into a smaller apartment and was forced to get a studio space away from home, I found that I painted more. My logic was if I was going to drive all the way to the studio, I may as well stay a long time and make it count. It worked. The last three years were my most productive years of painting with me averaging 65 paintings a year. I would paint an average of five hours a day. 

Now that I am back to having a home studio, I find that the procrastination bug has bitten me again. I have a great home studio but along with the home studio comes way too many distractions of being at home, naps being the biggest distraction of all. I can already feel my production levels dropping and it's making me feel anxious. I am working part-time, getting off at 12:20 pm from my teaching job so that I can spend more time in the studio. You would think I would have a lot accomplished in the last two months, but it hasn't been the case. I can't tell if this is just procrastination or just sheer laziness. Once I am in the studio I am fine. I could paint for hours, but it's the getting there that I am having problems with. You'd think it wouldn't be so hard considering I only have to walk about 20 feet to get to my studio! Sheesh!

I'm thinking I may need to set up a strict schedule and start adhering to it, although the whole point of moving back into a home studio was so that I could paint whenever I felt like it. I am hoping it is just a phase and once I am used to the transition I will be back to my regular productive self. I don't deal well with too much change and in the past few months I have had a lot of it. Maybe I just need to get used to all of these changes. I hope so cause I have a lot of work that needs to be done and none of it has been started. 

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Feeling the Love

Last night was the opening for my solo show at ArtHaus. It was such a wonderful evening where I felt a lot of love from the people attending. My favorite moment was when I was talking to a group of six people who didn't know each other. They quickly realized that four out of six of them owned artwork by me. Someone mentioned that it was an informal meeting of the Jhina Alvarado fan club. It was very sweet and flattering.

Thank you to everyone that attended the opening and a special thanks to James and Annette for giving me the opportunity to show at such a great gallery! I am truly honored.

For those of you who missed the opening, the show is up until December 29th. Be sure to stop by and see the show!

411 Brannan St
San Francisco, CA

ArtHaus' Annette Schutz and James Bacchi celebrating the gallery's 16th anniversary.

Installation shot

"And the Winner Is..." has found a new home!

An installation of 12"x12" paintings titled "Up Close 1-16".