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!

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

City and Nature Sandwich

Ooh three day weekends. Somehow they are just so much better when 1) you work full time during the week and 2) you have great friends to chill with. This past weekend started off in San Francisco to celebrate Casey's birthday and progressed into a two day backpacking trip with . . . well lets just say that if we were a bus, I would have been the spare (buts that ok) Follow me, won't you, on this photo blog/documentary of my weekend . . .

We rode the BART into the city and got there around din din time. This was just a cool perspective that I thought would be useful as a reference. Turns out the lighting was pretty nice.

I think this fellow's name was Pizza . .either that for Casey's sister was craving some pie. Anyway, this cat was pretty mellow/lazy. I walked in on it drinking from the toilet and I scolded it. It gave me the "WTF?" look and I gave it the "OH you know WTF cat!" and he left.

After some dinner and games the clock chimed "Casey's 21st Birthday Woooo Hooooo" and we all went out for some drinks. We thought we were going to a cool, hip British Rock bar but instead we got a punk/metal bar which made me nostalgic of high school. It turned out to be pretty fun. This is a shot of the hip . .pies? sters? pos?

Aw sisters. This was Casey's first legal drink. More power to you lady. It tasted like a peach.

And theres the next, next one. Hahaha, Lindsay look is priceless in the background. I think both of these expressions cancels each other out into a complacent smile.

Things got nuts, someone came over a spun Casey's head and she died. Not really, I just started playing with my camera. There are pictures like this of each of us, but I just dont have the effort/internet to post them all.

Here's Richie and his glorious hair . . which will soon be scalped by yours truly.

Here is one of Richmond giving Casey her birthday punches. 20 more to go! I think many-a-brain-cells were lost with all the booze and head shaking.

We ended the night with some early morning gift opening. Lindsay got Casey the most perfectest perfect presents in the whole entire world. I think her expression says it better though. Then we all passed out . . sorta.

We woke up SUPER early. Being the dork that I am and seeing the photo opt, I got this picture. Lindsay has some pretty cool stuff in her apartment. I thought this captured the stillness of early morning SF. After packing up we headed out.

I call this one, Urban Backpacking Leads to Unexpected Obstacles. Yes, I bumped into a garbage can and good 'ol Richmond got the perfect snapshot of it. After a BART ride to Daily City and a car ride through Half Moon Bay we got to Big Basin.

It was quite a foggy morning. By the time Basha and Miranda (we'll call them couple #3 since they were last) arrived the sun started poking through and warming us up.

Here are couples #1 and #2 on the way up this grueling 1.5 mile hike to our camp site.

When we finally got set up, Richie and Kristen decided to live in the trees. Not really, but they chilled up there for a while and long enough for me to get this neat picture of them. Lets ponder . . .

Colin had this sweet hammock. I took full advantage of it while everyone lay in their afternoon siestas. Of course I had to take a Jon Ching foot-slipper photo. I probably have like 5 versions of this easy.

Later I took a walk. On my way I made friends with a couple of butterflies and they let me take their portraits. Their names were Eli and Shandy and the were one week old. Happy one week guys!

As I was walking along the road, the trees made this pattern and I thought it was the visual version of Postal Service's Such Great Heights (Britt I know you can relate to this one) You can almost hear the song when you look at it.

We went on a hike to the beach later. When we got back we made some pasta. Colin is seriously one of the funniest kids. He took a shot of pepper vodka and chased it with the bland pasta. Here's is that in one picture. Anyway, after some star gazing we got some shut eye.

Good morning! Heres a morning shot of the group. Theres a lot going on in this one . .almost like a dysfunctional family. Miranda's face is the best.

After a few miles of hiking we found this waterfall. Being the sweat stink butts that we are, we decided to take a shower in the semi-freezing water. Sorry no pictures of that, although some perverts on the trail probably have some.

Aw love . . I think this picture pretty much sums up couple #3.
So, after the waterfall we decided to hike up to a ridge to watch the sunset. Little did we know (or at least me), that the trail taking us there would be pretty brutal.

Seriously, some of these inclines were ridiculous. Im surprised we all don't have bubble butts. I don't even think this was the worst one.

Here's Colin trying to scale the sandy side of the hill. He actually made it pretty high on his second attempt.

Well, after 14 miles we didn't make it up the ridge. BUT, we did manage to see some part of the sunset from the trail. The colors in the sky were so warm and smooth. After the hike we all ate some delicious burritos and then hit the sack like a red neck in Alabama.

The next morning we woke up, ate some oatmeal and apparently wrestled. I guess the story goes . . Hailey said something upsetting to Colin, so he tried to push her off the log. She grabbed on to him and they both fell. Fun for all, even bystanders!

We packed up camp and headed back for civilization.

Basha made me take a picture next to this sign because my knee got all messed up on the hike . . Jerk.

Anyway, it was a super fun weekend and I'm excited to go backpacking again. I think I should probably get my knees checked out first though because that was a whole lot of unnecessary pain on my end. But all in all it was still way cool.

Check back in a couple days from now for a new JOpinion (I act as if I have an audience) Peace.