Thursday, November 1, 2007

Proliferating Nirvana

I'm finally done with my "secret" project. Proliferating Nirvana. I orginally drew this when I was a junior in high school and since then the meaning (as well as the overall image) has grown as I have. Since I started painting I've been wanting to do this piece but needed to be in a good place. Its one of the few pieces that turned out exactly as I imagined it. So, here it is and I hope you like it.

Proliferating Nirvana
24 x 36, acrylic on canvas

New One

So I've been slacking and haven't put up new stuff for a while. Well, here is a painting I did about a month ago. Its untitled for now, but its about the increasing difficulty in defending peace and also the almost lackluster concern among the majority. I got inspired after watching "Across the Universe" and this is what came out of it. Its 15 X 30 (second to the last one of these panels) acrylic and ink on canvas.

I also just finished another piece. I haven't gotten a good picture of it yet, but it will be up shortly. Im excited to show that one off cause it was my baby for the last 2 weeks (on and off whenever I could find time).

Friday, October 19, 2007

Inspired by life

Recently I've been embrassing our role as observers. When you really take time to observe something, the meaning of it changes, and so does your previous thoughts. And in a way, your understanding also starts to veer. As to not get too philosophical (because really what do I know, I haven't even taken the class yet) here is a glimpses of what I'm talking about. Ideas can come from everywhere and life is inspirational.

RED. One night I was making some salsa and I just stopped. With only the stove light on, everything that was in front of me had this mellow, calm, mood surrounded by red. Even the pepper I used was red . . too bad I didn't get a shot of that. Anyway, I ran upstairs, got my camera and documented.

Later (or before . . I forget) I was at a bar and I saw this candle. Again, same colors, same feeling, same impulse to take a picture of it. The weird part of all of this is that its not a project that I am focusing on. It's just pictures I've been taking in the last couple weeks and upon looking back I saw some themes.

This is the table at the bar.

BLUE. Later I saw this. Originally I took a picture of it as a study of something shinny. My art teacher two summers ago said that artists only paint shinny, metallic/glassy things as their focus to show off and prove that they are capable of doing it (because its such a difficult thing to do). Well, if I'm going to be an egotistical artist, I better get started! Nah, this would just be good practice and experience that will be nice to keep in my back pocket for later.

Looking up, I saw what was making this happen. "Black" light. I wonder why they didn't just call it violet . . that's what the wavelength is nicknamed. Anyway,I think it kind of looks like a moon. Lets call it a modern moon, cause really, now days people see more CFL that they do the moon.

GREEN. I took this as a study for my next painting. As much as I've been on this earth, I've only reproduced it a handful of times on paper. Even something as simple as grass needs studying. The main reason, which I've come to learn over this past year: Randomness is one of the hardest things to imitate. (maybe that's why there's only one of me? haha, just kidding kids)

Yes, I randomly stop eating to take pictures. These kiwis were so fricking delicious. I bought it last weekend at the farmers market and you can bet I'm going to buy 3 times as much this weekend. Ill probably make a meal out of it. Anyway, I couldn't resist the the bright (almost neon) green color these furry guys were emitting. From now on I will no longer used green, but kiwi for the specific color. IE, "with a tinge of kiwi" like "a hint of avocado." Sorry, inside joke.

That's the end of my color series. Here are a couple of fun shots I took of my friends at dinner (yes I randomly run upstairs, grab my camera, point it at my friends, make them uncomfortable, and take photos). I was at the bottom of my stemless wine glass and got inspired.

I shall call these, "ripping off Britt . . Cool idea, glad I could steal it!" Here's Casey [spitefully] drinking her wine while wearing my new hat with ears. My favorite part is her hand.

And Richmond being bashful. At least pictures of him come out good (most of the time) I always feel weird getting my pictures taken also, but mine come out awkward and lame. I like this one because it makes his head fit his ego. JUST KIDDING, don't kill me in my sleep.

So, the other night I was listening to the new Radiohead album. It is exceptional. Anyone who reads this should go to and download it. There is no reason not to since you can set your own price and even download it for free. Anyway, I was inspired by what my ears were hearing. I'm not sure if you're going to understand this, but it was like I was in an isolated place that only consisted of my desk and things that were in a 2ft radius of me.

This is what my night felt like. I was so inspired by the music I started taking notes about. Actually, I was doing research on Jeremy Fish (my last JOpinion on and my note taking continued into the music. I had a little snack of cherry tomatoes and squash as well.

One night I was driving home and saw this in the middle of the intersection. Someone just decided to draw a flower and write lovely in the middle of the road. Even better, someone decided to draw a flower and someone else saw it and wrote lovely in the middle of the road. Needless to say, I was inspired.

These past few weeks have been good for me. Apart from stressful workdays and not enough time for things, my outlook has somewhat changed and its cool to realize things like that.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

UpDated: The past few days

Its been a while since my last life update, so be warned that this one is long . . but mostly pictures.

A few Saturdays ago some friends and I woke up at 6 to go to the farmers market under the freeway. It was huge, at least compared to what were used to, and we bought way too much food.

Here's a picture of the bike ride back (slightly edited) This is one of my favorites. Later that night (maybe the next Saturday night . . it was a while ago) we went to a 21st birthday party for 3 . . Casey, John and Jordan.

We kicked off the night with some beer pong. Jenn (the one laughing) is one of the most light hearted people I know . . not to mention easily distracted. The game came down to one cup each, and yours truly closed the game with the sweetest shot in Beirut history. Not really. It took about 15 minutes to finally finish while these two irritating chicks kept whining. "Come on, finish the game!" I hope they puked that night.

Of course we got into a "lets take pictures mood" and here's one the better ones.

A couple Thursdays ago I went to San Francisco for a conference. It was pretty cool, but walking around the city was a bit better. I kept stopping to take pictures of street art . . .I'm sure my co-worker was happy about that.

Here's a cool and huge piece I saw. I swear I know that artist. Anyone know who it is?

The next day I went to see a little concert of Arcade Fire and LCD Soundsystem. I won't go into here as I am planning on writing a review of it on Jotiumitch, but I will say it was freakin awesome (that's right, no G)

Here's one of the better pictures of the night.

Now for current events aka Jon's time-hopping weekend. This past Saturday I went to San Francisco. I did a bit of shopping (mostly not for myself), saw some art and was pleasantly surprised by the festivities I walked in to. I got off the BART at Powell and was greeted with the loud roar of reggeaton.

When I got to the street I saw this. I couldn't stop staring at the hot "angel." There were several platforms with music blasting and people dancing. Everyone in the streets were dancing as well . . not to mention dressed (or nearly dressed) in bright colors. Later I found out the parade was headed to City Hall.

But, I didn't come to the city for LoveFest. On my way to the galleries I saw some street art. Here's a cool little wheatpaste I found. It was actually sideways, but I figured this was the best way to see it. Medusa?

I got to White Walls and got to see Richard Coleman's exhibit "The Ghost." I saw a picture of this sculpture but didn't realize it was so huge. This sucker must have been at least 7 ft tall. Plus, it was on a 2 foot platform, so it was towering.

Here is a great example of Mr. Coleman's work. Very detailed, very colorful, very though provoking with strange (but not-so-strange) images. Not sure if I could take pictures, but the dude wasn't paying attention, so I snuck it.

Across the way at the Shooting Gallery was Eric Joyner's exhibit. This "Robots and Donuts" show was pretty interesting and gave me pretty good insight on painting techniques. His work is playful and always has some type of robot, not just the boxing type.

More street art. I got really excited about this one because I've seen this guys work before. I just wish I could remember who the artist was. In any case, it was pretty cool seeing something in real life that you've seen a few times before online.

I walked down Larkin to the Civic Center BART station to get to a book store before heading home. As I mentioned before, I soon found out that the parade ended at City Hall. Since I had to go through it, I thought I might as well hang out for a bit. So, I spent some time mingling through the festivities.

Turned out to be pretty fun. Lovefest made me feel like I was in San Francisco in the 60s/70s. There were people being free, dancing, drinking, smoking, living. It was pretty amazing to be there.
I like this picture of one of the platforms in front of City Hall. The prestige of the dome with the liberal happenings in front.
This Go Go was on top of a bus, just dancing and wiggling.

Tutu man was on top of the bus as well . .trying to listen to the music.
And then there was naked man. This dude was awesome just because he was walking around, butt naked in the middle of the city with a pack of beer and slippers on. You have to have some gonads to do that.

After I got to my book store I got a Char Sui Bow aka Manapua aka BBQ pork bun, ate it while waiting for the BART and headed home. That was a pretty cool day full of visuals.

The next day I snuck into an orchard with Casey. Turned out to be a walnut orchard. We sat around, listening to music, doing some breathing exercises, drawing a bit and talking about life. We felt like we were in another decade.

View on my back.

View of me taking a view on my back taken by Casey.

Told you there were walnuts.

View on my front.

After some time we decided it was time to leave. We packed up and started walking out. We soon noticed that we were walking extremely close to farm property. Right around the time that thought entered our minds we heard a dog barking (or maybe it was the dog that made us think that . .?). Anyway, we started to run (for fun) and then realized the dog was chasing us. We got to the fence, slid underneath, and enjoyed the fact that we were no longer trespassing. That was some crazy fun.

When we got out, we noticed the beauty of our surroundings. There's something about the afternoon sun that makes everything look pensive and calm. That was a good weekend.

Oh, I painted Teahupoo. My very first landscape. It wasn't as boring as I though it was going to be. Anyway, here it is.

So, I finally found the artist of the street art I couldn't remember. His name is Shepard Fairey and his work is insane. Maybe a future JOpinion?

Friday, September 28, 2007

JOpinion: Conor Harrintgon

Conor Harrington is a sick painter hailing from Cork, Ireland. Currently living in London, Conor Harrington is getting big and showing work all over the world. His work is a mix of fine art and street life with vivid, crisp images balanced by blurred and smeared streaks of graffiti and urban culture. His use of light and negative space adds to his unique and developing style. Conor Harrington paints male figures to represent the masculinity of urban culture. Contrary to intuition, these aren't hoods or Gs that represent the streets, but rather the real man who doesn't need to prove or define himself exept by his own means. His figures are pensive individuals with stories showing strength, courage, struggle . . life.

At only 27, Conor Harrington has just scratched the surface of potential and I know he's going to be around for a long time. In my opinion he is one the best artists out there today. Here is some of his work.

I stared at this one for five minutes trying to figure out it was a photo or a painting. I was thinking "If this is a photo its cool, but if this is a painting its sick." Well, this one is SICK. For Conor Harrington, this one is more straightforward. Right off the bat this one displays his talent, and his play with whats in front and what is background is a nice touch. There is also a sense of movement in this, even though the figure is so stoic.

This is one of my favorites. This is where his cleverness shows. I really dig the way the face takes up a relatively small area of the space but yet it demands attention and focus. It is also so smart the way he makes the figure looks like a stencil. Ha, if only stencils like this existed.

I have no idea how he pulled this one off. Its just nuts. There's so much going on in this piece, but what gets me is how he got the splatter. It would maybe make sense if he were using acrylics (which would still be crazy), but knowing this was done in oil confuses me. Its like he directed the splatter and blur to do what he wanted. This one really shows good planning.

This one should probably be named awesome. The subtlety and calmness really gives this piece strength. There is almost a figure hiding in the blurred mass. I also like the way the man's back seems more hallow than transparent. It gives me a feeling of depth and ironically fullness.

This says "Conor Harrington is REdiculous!" I can't . . its just . . he is . aklewhlsd8*&#Uaska8'#oiejf . . . this one is money. The hint of a face is what really makes this picture (in my opinion). You can feel the sadness and somberness that fills this piece. The detached hand questions if its really his and makes me wonder what its offering. Is it a consoling hand or an offering hand or just his? This one rocks.

This one is RAD with two Ds. This light really carries this piece and gives its mad strength. Conor Harrington is so clever . . the way he makes the shadows transparent. Just great! Or how the shirt drips off. PLus, the color in this piece are just perfect.

This is another one that made me think "No way, this is definitely a photo." His ability to capture life so accurately is amazing. Just the pants alone would sell it, but the jacket and the face are just so good. Again he uses the shadows and makes them transparent. The mood of this piece is also great. Not just the expression of the man's faces, but the overall mood of this one really speaks and tells a story.

Ok, just seeing the floor alone speaks to Conor Harrington's ability to capture . . . whatever the hell Conor Harrington wants to capture. But the detail and feeling in this one speaks to the fact that art is more than just remaking life. I think in all of his pieces he displays and spells out what art really is.

Conor Harrington is obviously influenced by the streets. He started doing graffiti when he was 14, and now you can find some of his "fine art, street art love child" on the streets of New York, Ireland, London and random parts of northern Europe. How crazy would that be to just be walking under an overpass and see one of these? I know I'm going to keep my eyes open. In fact, you should too. There is a lot of really good street artists out there, creating with the mind set that art should be free and in public, not hung on some white wall in a pretentious gallery (not all of them suck). Anyway, Conor Harrington is definitely a cool kid. I mean, he has dreds!

On another note, my collaborative website is finally up (still being worked on, but up) so check it out from time to time. The JOpinion will be on it, so I might start writing other things here (in addition to the JOpinion)

Saturday, September 8, 2007

JOpinion: Kelsey Brooks

Kelsey Brooks, from what I can tell, has only been pursuing art professionally for 4 or 5 years, yet his work and style are well developed and distinguishable. Before this, the 29 year old living in San Diego was a biochemist working full time and on his way to becoming what he had always feared . . . the funny (but not so funny) guy at the water cooler. Now, Kelsey Brooks is traveling the world, selling art and living the dream in the middle of surf culture. His work is mix of sex, comedy, animals and quilt work, not to mention media. He uses acrylics, ink and spray paint to create his raw, decorative, colorful, Hindu inspired art. Here are a few old and new.

This is the first Kelsey Brook's piece I have ever seen and it made me an instant fan. From drips to splats to sketch and animal heads, this one rocks. Although it's not the defining style he is exactly known for, it still screams Kelsey Brooks (in more ways than one).

I tend to like art with attention to detail, and Kelsey Brooks sure brings that aspect. This just scratches the surface of the level of detail in his work.

Told ya about the detail (just look at it all for a sec!). I mean, just the head dress alone is madness. You can see where Hinduism comes into play in this one. Is there a hit of femininity in this one?

Oh elephants, they are cool. I think he does a super job in capturing the heaviness and power as well as the serenity of the elephant in this one. On the contrast, there is a decorative ski-masked woman riding and almost getting off on the top.

Ok, now for new stuff. The rest are from his recent shows in Switzerland and in San Francisco. Man I wish I could have gone to see it. These are all well thought out and work as fluid collection. I think Kelsey Brook's personality and style are spilt all over these.

I've always dug surfer chicks that wear their bottoms low, sitting just below the top of their hip bone, showing off and accentuating their curves. The caveat is that these chicks have a playful, easy going sense of humor. This piece wraps up that dream girl.

This ones a bit different from the rest, but I think its still appropriate. He is much more real in this one and achieves a more serious tone, even with the tiger head helmet and crude batman "uniform."

Damn: Detail! I can't even wrap my mind around how patient he must be. Not only that, but to have the imagination to the decorative work he does. What I like about this one is that it is in the figures perspective.

Definitely erotic and full frontal. I like it when he does double eyeballs. Somehow my brain tries to rationalize it and tell me it is out of focus . . trying to put the eyes back together. It makes me involuntarily confused . . thanks Kelsey.

Way cool. One thing that used to bug me a little was the disproportionally of the extra limbs. Maybe its because it disregards the meaning of the Vitruvian Man, but after second thought, I like it and it works. Its a cool modern take on Ganesh.

Well there you go, Kelsey Brooks is the shit. His mix of surf culture, Hindu deities, sex, humor, color, eroticism, animals and details makes him one to watch out for, as well as one of my favorites. He is inspiring in many aspects . . so hats off!