Thursday, December 24, 2009

Back Yard

Here's a new one. I was enjoying a warm day on the deck of my house where there are tons of beautiful plants also enjoying the weather. This broad leaf plant caught my eye and reminded me of the giant taro leafs you see everywhere in Hawaii. Going with the new perspective I've been exploring with my recent paintings, I though it'd be cool to imagine what the future might look like after nature has been revitalized (or maybe adapted to us)

Back Yard
24 x 18 inches, oil on canvas

Tuesday, December 15, 2009 is Alive!

That's right, I made a website!   After having the domain for a good month and realizing that my computer is pretty dated and can't support the nice, new website building programs out there, I did it the "old school" way and have built my website (while learning a thing or two about HTML).  It's pretty basic, but I'm proud of it and I can finally direct people to an online portfolio.

So when you get a chance, please check out!


Saturday, November 21, 2009


My latest piece is a portrait of Kuma for the only people I can currently call "patrons," Lexi and Bobby.  Kuma is of course their adorable dog and it was a lot of fun to do this drawing.  I somehow always forget how much I enjoy doing photo realistic drawings until I find myself losing track of the hours working one.  I'm extremely happy with how this one came out and stoked that they liked it too.  

22"x 22" graphite on toned paper

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Dia de los Treasureween

First off, sorry for the long stretch of un-posted time.  I got pretty sick for a couple of weeks, followed by a couple of weeks of unusually high hours at the restaurant and before I knew it, it's been a month.  But here's a catch up on October.  

Treasure Island Music Festival.  Casey has been interning for the cool people at Noise Pop, who are half of the reason why TIMF exists.  So naturally, she was at the event, coordinating the volunteers and managing the guest list, of which she got to contribute one name to.  ME!  I was so stoked to go to the festival, as a bunch of my favorite bands were playing. 

Casey was stoked too.  Actually, in this moment, she was way beyond stoked.  In the background (not the Foreground) is Chris Taylor, a key member of the band, Grizzly Bear.  I can confidently say that Casey is a fanatic for Grizzly Bear and literally freaked out in mid sentence when she saw Chris Taylor standing behind me.  Needless to say, it was a gratifying and validating moment for her to meet him. 

Treasure Island is a manmade island between SF and Oakland.  Being in this prime location, the views are nothing short but spectacular.  

At the festival, it was a celebration of both audio and visual arts.  Part of this was a performance group that grabbed everyones' attention at every "performance."
Here's the ring leader of the gang, using a remote control in his attempts to conquer the world!  Luckily he failed, but he did get a bunch of eyebrow raises, smiles and the occasional scream.  

The festival was filled with amazing performances.  
Here is headliner, The Flaming Lips, putting on an incredible live performance.  This might look like a big bands finale, but its actually one of their opening songs.  The festival was great.  A bit cold, but still great.  It rejazzed my appreciation and love of music and was also just a lot of fun to be a VIP for a weekend.  

Moving a bit forward in the month...Halloween!  Usually I'm awful at getting a costume together before hand, but this year, I put in the effort and made it out as Mordecai, the falcon from Wes Anderson's The Royal Tenenbaums.  We spent a fun evening at Lindsay (Casey's sister) and her boyfriend Michael's place.  

Here's a few of the gang enjoying the cool evening.  It was a really fun Halloween.

Dia de los Muertos - The day of the the dead.  It's a Mexican event to honor and celebrate the dead.  Of course, in San Francisco, it's more of a dress up, post halloween day, with non-Mexicans outnumbering Mexicans.  But, it was still a cool event to participate in and experience with the crowd. 

These's painted faces are common for Dia de los Muertos . . .  even in the BART station!

A bunch of our group found a giant skeleton man.  A pretty impressive costume!

Continuing with a bit of death, here is my latest painting.

It's a bit different than things I've done in the past, and that's kind of the point.  One day, after a light morning rain, I looked out to my fire escape and saw a potted plant with drops of water caught on its leafs.  It was beautiful and I needed to paint it.  I also had the image of this woman in my head, and put the two together.  This painting was more of a challenge for me to work with a different use of space (since I usually do very close up compositions)  I think it's somewhat successful.  I'm not entirely sure if it's done, but it was on my easel from before I got sick and I just needed to work on something else.  So, it's done for the time being.  

Monday, October 12, 2009

Planet Earth Inspires

I've recently rediscovered the greatness of the BBC series "Planet Earth."  Over the past month Casey and I have enjoyed learning and being exposed to this wonderful planet through the amazing cinematography of the series.  Visually stunning, I couldn't help but be inspired.  Here is a painting I've been working on for the past two weeks.

It's my largest painting so far - 36x 48 inches.  It was extremely daunting to start this one, both because of its size and the complexity of the scene.  Mid way through, I realized that I've never painted animals before, which gave some peace to my frustration.  But I am completely happy with it and it will go great on my wall, unless someone buys it.  

On other news, I didn't get into that show which I blogged about last time.  I like to think that it just didn't fit in with the feeling of the show they were putting together.  Plus, it's good for me to get exposed to rejection, as it is inevitable in art.  

I'd love some feedback on this one, so if you have the time, drop me a comment!  peace.

Friday, September 25, 2009

My First Submission

This past Tuesday, I found out about an art show that is accepting submissions.  The show, put on by Climate Theater, is titled "Everything Must Go!" and is seeking artists to respond to the web on consumerism that we live in today.  At first, I wasn't planning on submitting since submissions  are due today and that left me with only three days to get something together.  But, after watching the street from my window and being recently annoyed by impatient drivers, an idea sparked in my head and I got to working.  

I made two pieces for this show.
"A Chicken in Every Pot"

"A Car in Every Garage"

The title of my pieces refer to campaign slogans by Herbert Hoover for the 1928 presidential election and his promise to Americans that we should have these luxuries.  The composition of these paintings were inspired by engineering drawings, hinting at the production or manufacturing of "things."  Furthermore, I painted on the bottoms of discarded drawers I found on the street.  Things, such as furniture, that were once made to last and pasted down to generations, are now carelessly tossed on the street to make room for new "stuff."  In an ironic sense, my representation of Hoover's message is painted it's product, showing how drastically our society has changed in the century since these statements.  

Well, wish me luck in getting my submission accepted.  It's not going to be a big show, but I gotta start somewhere!  I'll keep you updated.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Things are Rolling

After about a month of working at the restaurant (and lack of posting. . . sorry), I'm starting to find my groove in San Francisco.  For now, I'm working part time (and possibly full time with some nights added in) at the restaurant, and working for myself on my days off.  Here are some examples of what I've been doing with all this free time.

Chasing geese!   Ok, I'm not actually doing recreational sports such as this on my free time.  Only on special occasions like the birthday of Casey.  We went to Golden Gate Park to enjoy nature and  were surrounded by geese.  At one point, a little three year old with his parents entered the park and with his tiny legs, proceeded to chase the flock of equal sized birds, making them a bit nervous, but more just annoyed.  We decided to follow suit.

I wished we could have made them all fly away, but something made me think this was an everyday occurrence for them.  At least I got one to lift off.  

Ok, so what I meant by "working for myself" is painting.  I've been spending my free days working on paintings.  Now that things are pretty settled in other aspects of my life, I can now focus on art without worry.  Which is great, because I've been itching to do that since my semester in Italy.

This is a painting I did as a gift for a friend (of whom I hope does not read this blog).  I'm not sure if I'm done with it yet, but its in pretty good shape and I have a while before I gift it away.

Cory, one of Casey's coworkers, commissioned me to do a portrait of him based on a John Singer Sargent painting.  This is it and I apologize for the horrible picture of it.  My camera automatically adjusts the light when it photographs dark thing, making the colors and quality of the picture off.  This is the closest I could get to what it actually looks like.  In any case, it was fun to do this painting, although it is definitely not my style.  

This is my style.  This is actually based on Cory again, the one who commissioned the last painting.  I found a picture of him on the good 'ole Facebook, and had an overwhelming urge to paint it.  So, one night, I decided to just do it, and the beginning of this came out.  I'm very happy with it and it will soon greet visitors to my house at the stairs.  

Well, I'm going to keep this momentum of art and work going.  I've got another commission coming up and am totally open for others, so spread the word to your friends!  

Thursday, August 20, 2009

No Longer Unemployed

That's right, Jon got a job.  This past Monday I interviewed for a server position at Boulettes Larder, an awesome restaurant in the Ferry Building.  I clicked with Lori Regis, the pastry chef/co-owner, and have been working everyday since.  Boulettes is a small, open-kitchen restaurant dedicated to eating seasonal and local produce, meats and seafood.  The executive chef, Amaryll Schwertner, who has worked with Alice Waters, creates a new menu everyday, showcasing what the farmer harvested the day before.  Of course I'd love to be in the kitchen, this one especially, but at least I'm with this restauant, and I'm actually enjoying being a server.

On Tuesday, I shadowed one the head servers.  On Wednesday, I got a few of my own tables and pretty much freaked out the whole time.  Today, I had my own section and rocked it!  I'm sure it was the crowd today, but it was nice encouragement to have had a great first day of actual serving.  What's even more great though, is not constantly searching craigslist every hour and wondering how long the savings is going to last.  So to sum it up, I finally feel secure in San Francisco and can start working on personal goals.  

(I just wanted to say THANKS to everyone that had to put up with hearing me complain about not having a job.  It seriously took over my happiness for a bit)

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Night and Art

I would say this is an update, but not much has changed since my last post.  I'm still searching for a job.  I got pretty close to two, but one ended with a "we just can't train you right now," and the other turned out to be a money scam.  I've got a few cool options out there right now that I'm hoping will pan out, so if you've got some extra luck lying around, throw it over my way!

So, apart from job searching, I've been spending more time with my art.  I'm doing a bunch of research for a new body of work that is still in the concept phase.  Also, since I've been in SF, I've been wanting to take some night time photos.  Casey and I went out and here are some of the good ones.  

One thing about this city is that you can always find cool stuff on the side of the street.  Here's an old lounge seat?  I really dig pictures of people using indoor furniture outdoors, so I had to get this one. 

Typical moving car pic, but what I like about this one is that the lights of the car are in focus and the street is out of focus.  (its easier to see when you click on the picture)

This reminded me of a giant refrigerator filled with wine.  Quite a selection I must say.  

One of my favorite things about night is that time of night where everything seems frozen, suspended in time where everyone is deep in their own minds.  This photo reminds me of that stillness. 

I've also been doing some drawings and painting.  Its weird how I forget how much I love doing this until I pick it up again.

It seems like forever since I've done a photorealistic drawing.  I'm starting to feel really comfortable with working fast.  

This is the view from my window.  I painted on a cardboard box I found (yes, on the side of the street).  Free materials!  I think it's still a work in progress.  Maybe some cars, a bit more fog and more detail on the store.  Later!

One morning I was flipping through a magazine and a photo of this guy caught my attention.  I just had to paint him, so for the next two hours I sat and made this.  I'm pretty stoked with how it came out.

Friday, July 24, 2009

I'm Still Here, I've Just Been Occupied

Wow, almost of month without posting?  What's been going on?  Well, I've been settling in to San Francisco, my new city.  At the beginning of the month I moved into the "House of Love."  I have a great room, awesome housemates, I'm a half-block away from my girl, and its all located in a chill neighborhood.  Now that I'm finally in a room for a while, I decided to paint.  Here's the progress.

Originally, it was this light, sky blue.  It was a nice color, but I'm more of an earthy guy.

So, first step: paint it the color of Earth.  In this case, its more of a swampy, dirt greenish brown.  I have to admit, I felt 10 times more comfortable with the first step.  But that's not all!

Stripes!  I wish I had remembered to take a picture of just the grey stripes since it looked pretty cool, but you can guess what it looked like.  Here is the start of the yellow stripes.

Yellow stripes done!  Now to go horizontal and make things interesting.

Ok, things are getting a bit better.  I wanted it to seem like things were overlapped a bit so ....

I went into each little square where swamp green and yellow interested and darkened things.  Originally, I was going for plaid, which would require the horizontal gray stripes and more of the overlapping process.  But, I'm happy with how things look and with all the work of taping and painting, I'm going to leave it like this for a while.  

Other than room projects, I've been job searching.  It's become my morning and early evening routine.  I've got to say, its a lot harder than I thought it was going to be.  It seems impossible to even land an interview.  Things can get a bit discouraging, but on the bright side, I'm a lot better at writing cover letters and I still have the free time to explore San Francisco.  I've also bought the bare minimum of art supplies to start painting again, so you can expect to see some new work!

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

The End. The Beginning

I guess you could call this a part two to my travels/final chapter to my year abroad.  After traveling around in a giant circle, I returned to the farm in Liguria for a week.  I finally finished my walk path, which was thoughtfully nicknamed "St. Jon Jon WWOOFer Street," and got to see how a chicken becomes food. 

I apologize for the morbidness of this photo, but it's life and something you confront when working on a farm with animals.  Tobi, a member of the farm, walked me through the slaughtering of a chicken while I eagerly positioned myself for a good shot. 

My last week at the farm was the perfect way to say goodbye and give closure to this experience.  A good portion of the group was at the farm for a course in Tai Chi, which I got to participate in as well.  
Here's the group in discussion after a huge and delicious Italian lunch.  It was a beautiful and hot day, perfect for lounging in the shade.  That night I got to cook everyone dinner.  I made gnocchi in a mushroom, marsala sauce for 16 Italians and received an approving "Bravo."  It was my way of saying "Thank You."
I left the farm on a Monday morning, saying goodbye to some of the kindest people . . .  and one very affectionate dog.  I caught I ride to Milano, stayed the night with the hospitality of Paolo (The Teacher), and caught a sad flight to Dublin the next day while listening to Fabrizio de' Andrè. 

Being in Ireland was a bit of a shock at first.  I could actually understand everything I heard and read!  After realizing that english was the official language of this place, I explored the beautiful city.  Being over shopping and looking at old buildings, the only thing that was left was to find some good art. 

After having a good chat with a tourist information attendant, I found myself at the amazing Hugh Lane Gallery, where there is a large portion of the collection dedicated to Francis Bacon.  Here is his studio, exactly the way he left it.  If you know his art, this will make sense to you.  If you don't, click on his name and find out.  There were also a number of notable artists' work there, including Manet, Monet, Gustave Corbet, and Brocquy.  

Outside, Dublin seems like a typical city.  But there is really cool, interesting and modern architecture all over the place, including this sky-reaching tower in the middle of the main shopping area.  

It is really neat during the night.  With just the top illuminated, it seems like this point of light is floating in the air.  

On my last day in Ireland, I took a day trip to Cork with the hope of seeing a Conor Harrington in real life.  This extremely talented street-turned-gallery artist is from Cork and I knew of  a few places he might have left his mark.  Unfortunately, I couldn't find anything. 

I did, however, get to see other amazing works like this one.  

The next day I headed back to the States.  It is totally unreal what you have to go through, compared to everywhere else I've been, to get into this country.  They checked my passport literally five times before boarding the plane and non-US citizens have to go through this:

Finger print all ten fingers and photo.  It can make one feel like a criminal for just going on vacation.  

My travels weren't quite over as soon as I expected.  My plane leaving Dublin was delayed and pushed back everything.  I flew to Philly and got stuck there for the night, having missed my original connection and a hopeful new one to San Francisco.  They did pay for my food and hotel this time, so it was a bit better than last year, but still a pain.  The following day I flew to Vegas before finally getting back to San Francisco, officially ending Chapter Italia.  

To summarize the last week, I've been spending some much needed time with Casey, got to see an amazing concert by Grizzly Bear, found the perfect place to live and actually got the room, had a giant welcome back party and reconnected with friends, and am playing the "Let's Find A Job!" game.  Wish me luck!

To my friends in Italy (Ai miei amici in Italia):
Veramente, grazie mille per tutto. Il mio tempo in Italia era grandissimo e sono proprio felice che èrano un parte. Grazie per la tua ospitalità, la tua gentilezza, e la tua amicizia (e anche il cibo!) Spero proprio che ci rivedremo ancora nel futuro e che il mio italiano sarà un po meglio. Arrivederci per ora. A Presto!

Friday, June 19, 2009

Travels Around Europe - The Photos

Here's finally a catch-up of photos on my travels for the last month (or so).  Just a warning, this is a long one and my feelings won't be hurt if you just want to just scroll through the pics.  

I left the farm after La Festa di Primavera (The Spring Festival), a big event the farm had to celebrate the reconstructed Mulino (Mill), a historic mill that used to produce the flour for the area.  
Here's some friends enjoying the music after a long weekend of preparation.  
I left the farm and hitched a ride with Paola (she's the one weighting vegis in a couple posts back) to Firenze to meet up with some friends.  

Lexi and Bobby in Italia!  I have two great days with my old friends, showing them around my city before they headed up to Venezia to be all romantic.  Oh, and I'm assuming its public knowledge now (if not it is NOW) but congratulations on the engagement guys!  

I spend the last day in Firenze hitting up all my favorite places and really saying a good farewell.
This is a view of my bridge (Ponte Carraia) from the bridge next to the Ponte Vecchio.   It's the only bridge where you can sit on a ledge of the bridge and look over the water (although not legally).  It was the prefect was to say goodbye. 

That night I caught a train to Pisa and got an interesting scar on the way to the airport.  I'll tell everyone the story soon enough.  From Pisa I flew to Puglia.

The first night, Eugenio (the handsome mug in the red shirt on the right) and his friends made a huge dinner of Cozze (muscles).  If you know me, I'm not much of a seafood eater, but it was delicious.  These are my new friends from the south of Italy that welcomed me to Lecce with open arms and ready bellies.

La Roca, a town next to San Foca where I stayed in Lecce, with a tower built during the Byzantine times to look out for Turkish invaders.  Its amazing that it still stands strong and an incredible feeling to walk around.  Eugenio and I took a swim around this area.  The water was deep and amazing.

Here's Eugenio, or should I saw Pastore Moses, leading the way to the tower.  My week in Puglia was perfect.  Sun, beach, guitar and great memories.  After Puglia I headed to Napoli for a day.  No pics, just because I didn't do much but see some amazing churches.  I then took a 16 hour boat ride to Cagliari, in the south of Sardegna, to catch a three hour train up to Sassari to meet up with my friends from Anidagri.  We headed to La Isola dell'Azinara, a former island prison now a tropical paradise.  

This is the secluded beach me hung out for a while.  The water was an intense blue and a lot of fun swimming around in.  I'm pretty sure I was a sea animal in a past life, because I felt so free and comfortable in the water, realizing how much I missed it.  It was the perfect last beach day.

Christina, who I stayed with in Sardegna, showed my Castlesardo, a really quaint old town on the top of a hill overlooking the sea.  This area is known for their crafts. 

Here's a friendly Sardo making either a bowl or a pot mat like many Sardi have made in the past.  I left the next day for the next stop of my travels...but not before taking a picture of the family.  
Here are some of the nicest people I know. Angelino, Christina, Valentina, Giada, Virgina and Marco in front of a blooming tree at Christina's home.  

Next stop, Prague.  
An amazing view of the city from the castle.  Kind of looks like monopoly huh?  Prague is a beautiful city, fully of history and character.  I think it's one of the coolest places I've been. 

Here's St. Vitus' Cathedral, an uber gothic cathedral full of high towers and gargoyles.  It was really amazing.  The best part though, in my opinion, was inside.

Here is a magnificent stained glass window made by my man, Alfons Mucha.  It is just spectacular.  The coordination of colors and smart placement of figures really proves his genius and ability to work in many mediums.  I was in complete awe of this.  

Another thing I really like about Prague are the colors.  The buildings are painted the most interest colors I've seen, with a bunch of achromatic grays and muted colors.  It really makes wandering around enjoyable.

At noon everyday at the castle, there is the changing of the guards.  It's a big tourist spectacle and mainly for show since there's no monarchy to guard anymore.  But it really is cool to watch and see how synchronized they are.  

On my last day in the Czech Republic I went to Moravsky Krumlov, a very small town near Brno, to see Mucha's greatest work, The Slav Epic.  It is 20 giant paintings of his country's past and his heritage and complete perfection.  It was a very special feeling, standing next to the work he devoted the last 18 years of his life to, seeing his hand and the work he put into it.  Needless to say it completely inspired me.

This is just the view from the train station, and by station I mean one room with a ticket office to go either left or right.  It was probably the most Eastern Europe-y thing I got to see.  

Next on the list, Vienna.  I only stayed in Vienna for a day, but I got to see a lot.  At the end of the first day I went to the giant palace.  Actually, giant isn't a good enough word... let's use monstrous.  This place is enormous.  

What did I say?  Ginormous!  The thing about Vienna is that they not only built enormous buildings, but they surrounded it by a lot of open land, making it feel even more vast.  One can seriously feel miniscule while walking around on the property. 

Here is another huge building.  This one was at the top of steep hill behind a huge pond.  The architecture was an interesting mix of Italian and French.  The palace was really well kept and being there really made me feel like I was living when royalty roamed the grounds.  

My last day in Vienna was mostly spent in the Leopold Museum, discovering great artists that really should be more well known.  It was a great collection.  That evening I caught a night train from Vienna to Venezia, waking up to the sunrise over the alps in Switzerland.  As if I haven't said it enough, it was amazing.  

That's my three weeks in a giant circle.