Wednesday, August 29, 2007

JOpinion: Ben Tour

I have been a long time Ben Tour fan. He is a really cool artists currently in Canada with a tight, unique style all his own. Using acrylics, ink, spray paint, graphite and lettering (and really what seems to be anything that will stick to paper/canvas) he creates melancholy portraits that just draw you in and make you think. Ben Tour has this kind of raw talent that I bet people try to copy but just cant fully grasp; I can say that at least from personal experience (don't tell). One thing to note is that his pieces are pretty large, and since his subjects usually takes up most of the space, that is something to consider. Here are some of works, past and present.

This composite piece works so well together. It invokes a silent sadness (although most of his pieces does) and thoughtfulness. I love this one and something you'll notice is his use of lettering. Im not sure if it some kind of cool secret code or for obvious aesthetic reason, but its pretty neat.

This one is huge in person; something like 50x50. I wish I could post a bigger picture to feel the massiveness (is that a word?) of this piece. One thing I've always wondered about this one is if he meant for the hair to be that huge, or if he just got carried away and went it. Either way, its bold and I like it.

Hello deer! Ok, bad pun. I think this one really shows how much control Ben Tour has. What I like about him is his use of color. Its almost like an afterthought, but this one is so nicely planned and composed theres no way. Again notice the smart usage of lettering.

I don't even know. Maybe its a place where only dogs and birds can survive, but our brave hero risking it all seems content. I really wish I knew what he used in this one because it seems like watercolors and acrylic and ink and graphite and lettering all on a single, thin layer of gesso.

This is one of my favorites from Ben Tour. I mean who told him it was ok to use all these colors? Just amazing. The value he gets is just great. Plus he makes it look raw and messy with the subtle splattering.

This made me realize I believe in love at first sight. I'm not a freak who falls in loves with 2-D things, but this one is beautiful. I wonder if hes like me and hates drawing hair . . it works though. I think his shadow work in this one is great and really gives the drawing strength.

Oh man, this shit just gets me so excited. Now this old man is just amazing . .something we don't hear too much in the ageist society that we live in (but I wont go there . .for now) Just look at it!

Ok, now for his new stuff. Im really excited about the direction he's going in. Its pretty obvious that his style is more streamlined and developed (actually I shouldn't say that because it would be mean to those of you to which it isn't obvious) Anyway, this new stuff is rockin.

Although I dig his black and white stuff, there just something about his color work. It almost seems monochromatic in a way, but he uses so many shades and colors. And its not just about using them, its the appropriateness in which he uses color.

There are so many versions of this: Girl in a ponderous trance looking slightly upwards with her lips subtly apart while her hair tosses in the breeze; Ben Tours take on it is capturing. If I could afford to hang this on my wall, it would be the only thing on the wall. Not only that, it would be the only thing within three feet of the wall.

There are subtle details in Ben Tour's work that makes it super cool. This one really shows where hes headed.

A mix of old and new. I really dig how he has varying dilation in the pupils. Maybe it means a certain consciousness or awareness or something deeper/shallower. In any case, the imperfection of it all adds to the uniqueness. I also like the length in this one.

Seriously Ben Tour, you are ReDicuLous. Not sure how big this one is, but I bets its pretty big and ready to be on my wall.

Again you can see the refinement in this one. It almost looks digital. His use of (what Im assuming to be) ink in various consistencies is really cool. I think he uses the ink like water colors and builds to get the right shades. Cool technique . . I might have to steal that one.

This one get the gears spinning. This seems like a defining moment in the girls life. Maybe a new start . . or maybe a forced end? Maybe I'm reading way into it.

Well, Ben Tour is the shit and I'm glad I could review his work. His work really deserves way exposure that it gets. He is a thinker and it really comes across in what he does. I draw a lot of inspiration and motivation from him. Hopefully he makes it down to the Bay Area soon so I can see this craziness in person. You can bet there will be another JOpinion on him when that happens.

This is my newest piece: a duo titled "Distortion." It is acrylic on 12 x 18 canvas (each) Sorry, I don't know how to make it pop out as a bigger picture when you click on it, but you can see a larger version of it on my deviantart site (theres a link on the right column up top)

PS. Send me some love and write a note. It makes it worthwhile.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

JOpinion: Mike Brodie aka Polaroid Kidd

Mike Brodie is non-trained photographer and anything but novice. I recently went to his exhibition in San Fancisco and was blown away by the colors he gets in his portraits and documentation of "train folk" life. I am so stoked that I was able to get to see his photos in person. Whats crazier is that he's only 21 and I'm sure he has seen way more than most in his life, which I can only assume resembles the photos he takes.

These are some of my favorites from his current exhibition "RIDIN' DIRTY FACE"

One thing Brodie does so well is depth. His images are so sharp and really gives you a focus.

Another thing he does well, whether planned or just because his work is amazing, is color. It might just be a product of his environment, but the colors he gets in his photos just sets the tone perfectly.

There is something about the way he captures people that is so rad. Maybe its a mix of them in their element which tells the story, or maybe its the fact that most people cant relate to their lives. In any case, his photos are deep (in that non-lame/tacky kind of way)

This is one of my favorites. Theres just so much going on in these two shots, and I bet that's Mr. Brodie's arm and leg in the left photo. (jeez, I sound like a groupie)

This is also one of my favorites. Its a combination of everything: great mellow color, perfect lighting, depth and value. This photo makes you feel the cool wind blowing as the sun sets and envokes thought about where this kid is heading, what hes thinking, where hes been . . . awesome.
These last photos are some of his earlier works and where he got his alias. There were shot with his sx-70 sonar one-step using time-zero film. He says its the best when it comes to Polaroids, and I don't doubt it. I'm not going to write any comments on these photos, but these are (again) my favorites.

Mike Brodie said in an interview a while back "I just want to migrate for the next few years, following warm weather and photographing the train hopping youth of america. I think it's one of the most important, overlooked, and temporary underground cultures of modern times...." I think he's living his dream and doing a great job.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Review: Wesely Burt

Ok, I have decided that I am going to start doing reviews on this thing, seeing as how my life is not exciting enough to post regularly. Every week, although probably not on the same day, I will do a review of something whether it be in art, music, film, food, politics (probably not), social issues, people I like, people I dislike, or whatever I feel comfortable talking about. With that said, lets start.

Wesley Burt

To start of these reviews, I thought it would be good to write about something with influence. Enter Wesley Burt. Although I only discovered this fanastic composition/portrait artist, I have found his work to be quite inspirational and admirable. As you will see in the following pictures, he is very detailed and does a lot of piecing together.

Perfect example. There is so much going on in this sketch. Missing mouths, disembodied foots, and a great use of highlighting with the blue and white. Plus, its just cool with this futurist looking character that is so intruiged with the plant and people casually standing in the background as if waiting for a bus. Plus, is that umbrella part of the space backpack?

Here is another crazy drawing with tons of detail. Burt does a lot of mutliple imagry, like the faces at the bottom (I've recently drawn some inspiration from similar pieces) Again, there is so much happeneing in this one and I really admire how he plays with the negative space.

One thing you'll notice about Wesley Burt is that he likes to leave his sketches unfinished. I feel this helps define a focal point in the mad detail. I think this one really shows off the value he is capable of achieving. Beautiful.

Although this one is probably unfinished, it is still sweet as candy. Its seems like this one is able hope and dispair.

Now for some painting work. I'll just have pictures for these, but I think his paintings takes contrast and value to another level. It is crazy how well he paints.

Back to the drawings. This is one of my favorties. One thing that is really rad about Wesley Burt is his sketches. The face is so well done and polished with everything else in sketch mode. NICE!

I have no idea what is in this mans head, but I would like to scoop some of it out.
And I saved my favorite for last. This one is so simple. It has great use of chiaroscuro (fancy word I learned in class . . google it) and composition and is just really nice.

Ok, well that ends it for the first review. I think from now on I will have a name for these reviews like Jview, or Jonpinion. I don't know . . I'm open for suggestion.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Adventures IN the City

This past Saturday I met up with Richmond for some art viewing. Three galeries to hit up: Needles and Pens (N+P) to see the Polaroid kidd, White Walls to see Saber, and 111 Minna to see the Fecal Face show. I need to get more diligent with taking pictures, but heres what I got from the day.

Ive always wanted to see an eagle, and I found one at the Civic Center Bart Station. (a bit more "manly" than most eagles)

Richmond told me to take a picture of the green mustache. He likes weird art. I think this was some old pizza place?
Saw this cool street art under a bridge. One day I am going to go on a street art adventure. I swear I know the artist who did this, I just cant pin point it at the moment. (the fire hydrant is there for added value)

After we had a few beers at an Irish pub we decided to try and get to the roof of a nice hotel. I tried to drop a flower pedal down these stairs, but the bastard landed on the floor below. AND, we couldnt find any roof access. . . next time.

We ended up going to this Aniversary party for a t-shirt company. We say "open bar" and were sold. As we were mingling, this crazy ass shows up behind me. He was wicked cool.

And definitly on something . . .

I think we were the only ones who talked to him. NO wonder he was starving for attention. I kept telling him it was night and he didnt need all his fancy eye wear, but he just kept it on.

After a few too many drink I really needed to pee. We stopped at this bar and this is what was in the bathroom. PRetty cool.

The night ended with a drunken ride back on the BART.

I spent some time on Sunday arting. This is what I came up. Its titled "Music." Kind of weird, but I like it.

Thursday, August 2, 2007


Here is my newest one. Its titled "Constellation" and is 15 x 30 acrylic and ink on canvas. I am trying to move away from ink and just use paint. This one has both, but a lot less ink than the ones before.

I haven't put it on my deviant art site yet, but it will be up there soon enough. I think you can get a better look at it on the deviant art site.