Thursday, August 23, 2012

Hola Indio Cross Border Collaboration

Recently I was invited to participate in a promotional event from Vice Magazine and Heineken to promote Indio beer in the United States. The whole project is pretty amazing and consisted of 8 artists from all over the US linked up with 8 artists from Mexico to create a collaborative painting. (There were also collaborations with American and Mexican musicians creating a collaborative song. These musicians then performed at an event in 5 major cities while our work was displayed in the venue.)

The blank, unstretched canvas was first shipped to the artist in Mexico and, when completed, it was shipped to an artist in the US. I was partnered with Luis Enriquez, aka Smithe. My partner and I exchanged a few emails in order to discuss what we wanted to do. Other than that, I had never met this artist nor had I previously seen his work. It was an interesting process working remotely with someone on a collaboration. I wasn't sure if the painting would work out since we didn't have much contact AND our two styles were so different. I am pretty happy with the result.

In addition to making a collaborative piece, Vice also shot artist profile videos of each artist. I was interviewed in my studio and talked about my work and how I handled the collaboration. We were then filmed at the venue stretching and hanging our artwork. These videos will appear on Indio's Facebook page soon.

What an experience!

The final piece.
"El Abrazo" by Jhina Alvarado and Smithe
I think it worked out well considering our very different styles.

This is what was shipped to me.

Mine and Smithe's painting displayed next to the collaboration piece from SF artist
 Ben Needham and Mexican artist Seher One.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Big Head Update

The underpainting is complete! I may not be able to finish this until next week since I have to start the Vice Magazine/ Heineken collaboration painting with Smithe, from Mexico. I basically have five days once I receive it (which I am hoping will be tomorrow) to complete it, then ship. I will be a VERY busy person in the next few days...oh, and did I mention I am moving this weekend too? YIKES! Too many things all at once! Welcome to my life...

Monday, August 6, 2012

Inspiration is for Amateurs

I am almost done with reading the Chuck Close biography. I have been limiting myself to one chapter a night since I tend to go through books very quickly otherwise (I read 6 books in the two weeks we were in Italy on vacation). It has been an inspiring read with many insights into the artist's process. One thing that stuck out and really resonated with me was a quote in chapter 25.

"Inspiration is for amateurs. The rest of us go to the studio and just get on with it."

You can't wait for inspiration if you want to make art a career. You just have to go in and create.

Before I decided that I wanted to make art a career (around 2009), I only went in to my studio to paint when I felt "up to" painting. Most of the times I went in at least a couple of times a week. Sometimes I wouldn't go in for weeks. I would tell myself that I just wasn't inspired to paint. I had no motivation. Painting wasn't a priority at the time. I had the occasional show, sold a few pieces, but if I wanted a career in art, this would not do. Painting like this wasn't going to get me anywhere. I needed to be disciplined and have regular "office hours", much like Chuck Close did. 

I started coming in five days a week for at least three hours a day. I wanted to be in the studio at least 15 hours a week, even if it meant just prepping panels. Often times this would lead to painting and the next thing I knew, five hours had passed. Once I started having regular studio hours, it was much easier to get a body of work done. My skills improved. I had a routine. I started to look at painting as if it was my job, with specific hours and time that I needed to put in. I really think it's this discipline that has helped me propel my career. After all, you can't have an art career with having art and you can't have art, especially good quality art, without putting in some serious time in the studio.

The act of putting paint brush to panel/ canvas OFTEN is what will get a career going, NOT waiting for inspiration to hit or for the "right time" to happen. I have often observed the "activity" in the building where I paint. I am in a studio space with about 50 artists around me. Of these 50, I only see three at the studio on a regular basis. THREE OUT OF FIFTY! Granted, this is usually in the afternoon, when most people work, but at night, there are still only a handful of regulars. Many of the artists come in once a week, maybe once a month, some not at all, and yet some of these same artists want to want to show in galleries and sell their work regularly. It's really hard to do that when you are not honing your skills and creating work on a regular basis. 

So what is the lesson here? Sometimes you just need to be a Nike ad and "just do it." Now go paint something!

Here is the latest painting I am working on. It's another head shot on a large panel.
The start of my second "big head" on a 36"x36" panel.

I can tell it's going to be painful to cover these eyes later. I'm sure I'll also get
some "hate" emails/ FB comments about covering the eyes too. They are pretty
nice if I say so myself.  :-)

The shadow on her lips and under her nose look a bit odd without
the rest of the face. It looks like she has a mustache!

Looking less like she has a mustache...

The head takes up most of this panel.