Summer is upon us. Reflecting back on years of making art, the many faces of how that has sustained my life or my life has sustained making art. The spiritual, intellectual, physical pursuit of making art. I have so much to say right now but no way of organizing the thoughts in a proper way to communicate, or maybe I simply don't know what all my thoughts are about right now and need to just visualize and let them all come together to communicate down the road. I will just leave some images for now from years leading up to this moment and hit you back again in the near future... I will be leaving the Bay Area for a bit again soon, I am nervous, but only in that I know some new challenges and new levels are going to be reached and moved through. That's all I got, not really, but all I can paint with words right now.
I have been working out of my space in Oakland recently. I left my Athen B studio space for the home front and all of its open windows and ventilation that it has to offer. It's been quite nice actually. I had no ventilation in my last studio and it made me a bit batty. So here is to sunlight and a breeze and the sound of cars rolling by as I listen to documentaries, anime, and music and paint my heart out... here are a couple recent shots of the studio work space in the raw paired down state it is currently in.
It was amazing. Photos to come...
New huge interior painting from John Felix Arnold inside Littlefield's new Parklife Food and Beer hangout. Part of the new Littlefield expansion.Read More
Tonight, May 19th, 2017, a rad little restaurant in San Francisco's Mission Bay area opens to the public. It is called Dumpling Time and is the brainchild of fast moving SF restauranteur Kash Feng and his interior designer Aya Jessani. I was commissioned to paint a big beautiful 22'x7' piece inside the restaurant specific to the mission and background of Dumpling Time but with my signature flow and style bringing it together in a way that only a Bay Area artist could provide. Go check it out tonight and eat some killer dumplings and peep my large piece as it wraps you up in its world. Dumpling Time is at 11 Division Street in San Francisco CA.
It was a serious pleasure working along side Aya and Kash and chef Edgar to create this and I look forward very much to working with them in the future. It means so much that they support artists here in the Bay Area as so many big entities and new business do not. Big thank you across the board and I am very happy with the result. I will be doing a professional photo shoot of this piece (been crazy busy out of town as of late) but here are some photos of the piece for you viewing pleasure for the time being.
Coming off of the heels of a big project for Littlefield in Gowanus Brooklyn (huge 22'x13' interior commission) I am excited about a groups show that I have two pieces being featured in. I have been working with Stephanie Chefas for well over a year now. She is one of my favorite gallerists with a real intuitive and intelligent vision, and is extremely personable and accountable. It has been a really positive experience working with her continually since late 2015 and this show is no different. I am amongst some amazing artists in this current group show which opens this Friday, May 5th at her gallery in Portland, OR. I am once again honored to be showing also with my friend and Oakland neighbor Kelly Ording, fam for sure and an incredible artist! The roster of this show brings works from myself, Alexandra Becker-Black, Laura Berger, Tanmaya Bingham, Ryan Bubnis, Kellen Chasuk, Kelly Ording, Godeleine de Rosamel, and Ryan Whelan.
In curating this exhibition Chefas selected two pieces from my catalogue that spoke to her sense of connectivity in regard to the mission of the show. A sense of being a part of "the moment" as an individual that cannot exist without the confluence of all beings and energies in the universe wrapping us in it's directional paths. Explorations for sure. Widewalls did a great little write up on the show and I really appreciated the bit they shared about my work. "The work of the American artist John Felix Arnold III is an ever morphing, innovative, multidisciplinary deconstruction and reformation of how we perceive the visual narrative and the way we are all tied together through the energy of the universe." The link below will take you too the article.
The opening reception for ‘A Group Thing’ will be held at Stephanie Chefas Projects on Friday, May 5th from 7-10pm. Stephanie Chefas Projects is located in Portland, Oregon at 305 SE 3rd Avenue on the second floor of the Urban Row building. The exhibition will be on view through May 27, 2017 and is free and open to the public. I am truly looking forward to future involvement with Stephanie Chefas Projects and am really grateful to be in this show with such a strong group of artists.
Over the last 6 years this trip has become a very integral part of my life. Going back to the place I really cut my teeth in to make art and do work and build with the amazing network and squad of amazing souls I am fortunate enough to be close with. As usual the flight is delayed, but I don't generally get super bummed about that, that is pretty low on my importance scale, out of my control entirely. So as it goes, be grateful and make the most of the time, ie write some shit.
It has been five months since I was last in New York. I was in a different place then. I was super raw, I was fractured and in pain, I was in need of some solace and some direction and as usual New York supplied me with this. It is sometimes strange to me that I do not live there anymore. I actually attempted it a couple years ago and the result was to stay in California. But somewhere within in that is the beauty of relationships we find ourselves in and create, or that help create us. I have been show insane amounts of love and support by all my people and energies in NYC ever since in a way that makes me know that home is really just a sense of being we exist in at different stages of our lives.
I am hella excited to go work with my people at Littlefield again, this time doing one of the largest paintings projects I have done to date. I get to be there during one of the nicest times of year and I get to see some folks that I haven't seen in years as I continue to also expand in my recovery 12 step work. Life is a non stop beautiful organism if we let it be. Not three months ago I was hoping to survive just one day at time and now I am back to flying around making art and being sustained by the creative path. That always ebbs and flows but I have some new ideas to put into motion that will no doubt create a level up so to speak. I have been enjoying not being a part of gallery rat race for a while and just focussing on thoughts, skills, ability, and work for others beyond my own internal dialogue.
I'll post photos soon. I have thrown up some images from past travels throughout this post.
So I have been working on two amazing projects for two amazing clients/collectors as of the last couple of months. Soon to be unveiled. Feeling the strong pace of good things happening. I am getting ready to embark on a journey to NYC to paint for long time amazing collaborators and friends the Littlefield owners (Julie and Scott) as they open a new theatre and restaurant. Trying to wrap these two pieces here in the Bay and then head to the city that raised me.
More to come.
It has been almost three months since my last writing. Since the temper of the times showed me what it means to come to a moment of intense reflection and an almost forced departure from beating my drum or marching orders dictated by self. A moment to glow instead of shine, to appreciate the shadow and wander with intention back into the warmth after a long period of time wrought in that chaotic yet dutiful darkness that surrounds and stretches out like quicksand sometimes. A celebration of blood and intimacy, along familial lines that are not bound to genetic connections but spiritual ones as well. It is the lines in the sand that are meant to be blurred, the fixed ratios that change when the path of life's necessities informs us to broaden our concepts of what is possible and admit what is in fact destroying us. When the reality of tasks found in limitation become a beacon for hopeful presence after the affirmation of their lesson to not be repeated, morphing into a water slide of mobility in the soul. Allied with a sense of what can be after admitting what cannot is, I feel, one of the great cornerstones of the adaptable, the progressive spirit, and beyond politics or business but able to pay heed to their inner workings within the society we must deal with in all of its maladjusted, subject to human error difficulty. We are not here to herd ourselves into oblivion, actually I think many are. I watched the election while painting and experiencing a perpetual anxiety attack in my deepest breathes. Now I breath deep of the spirit of presence, I see a path that is not found in my insecure notions of a lack there of, but in an open minded acceptance of abundance and responsibility. The training is life, never deny it and never run from it.
I write a year in review post at this time annually, usually on New Years Eve. This year I am going to change it up a bit. I myself need a little time to reflect and prioritize some things before I can truly go all in and let loose the words that need to be present on the page so this blog. So much hurt and suffering in the world and even in my personal life this year, so much change and growth, so much re positioning. It was a tremendously jagged and unexpected ride, but definitely shook some things loose and I am now able to retune. The great things were great though I must say. Working with Superchief, going to Osaka to work with Mon at BakiBaki's studio in Juso, being home for Thanksgiving and Christmas, sending support to Oakland in the wake of Ara's death, reconnecting with old souls. A lot of good has happened. But alas, I need some time to digest and work through this residency in Durham NC before I can fully immerse myself in it all. Good tings gowan, stay true, keep it moving, be yourself, embrace change, we all do this together.
Spectre Arts Residency Human Bodies Writhing in a Bed of Narrative Language and Spray Paint Explosions.
I have been in the studio for the last 13 days working on some expansions and digging into the history of dance in NC that I am a product of by way of my parents lives in the 1980s and 90s. I have been doing some new studies, just exploring depth and fluidity, drawing, color, building small pieces up as I discover how to bring this into my larger work flow. The work going on in my residency has been slowly bubbling up to the surface for quite some and. It is liberating to explore something far beyond the graphic and abstract, and then see how it can come full circle as part of the whole language I have developed thus far. The content is tied to a very deep point of resonance for me, something I have only in the past few years truly acknowledged that I need to investigate and feel come out due to the way in which it shaped my experience in life to this day. I be painting.
So all good things must come to an end. On the flip side, this year of our lord, 2016, has been a tidal wave of terror and insanity, so I am quite happy that it is coming to an end. As a sign of hope, celebration and creative strength, Language of Memory, that has graced the walls, floors, and open space of Superchief Gallery LA is up until the end of tomorrow night. So tomorrow Saturday, December 10th our buddy Bill Dunleavy, along with Dana, Mickey, Oscar, Taylor, Maddy and the Butter That Bread Crew will be hosting a closing party for what has been an awesome show. It is from 7-10 or later, I wish I could be there but I am in Durham, NC doing a residency right now. We recently received a great write up from CHPTR Media via Phil Nacionales. He really nailed the scope of the show, the influences, the background, the purpose, intention, everything, and gave us a really positive review. you can peep it here...
It was seriously an amazing experience being in LA and working on this while the world continued to explode and rip it's own guts our of it's mouth and ass and just generally go ape shit all around us. I was painting the large black and white amoebic Astroknot on the wall while Trump was being elected president. In light of recent events in Oakland I am dedicating this show to Ara Jo and the all those lost in the tragedy at the Ghostship, and to all the artists in our community that face even more diversity now as the eyes of the system and developers see a further way in to force us into their maze. Language of Memory is for all of us that evolve and move forward to love and try to make the world a more interesting, shared place. I hope you go and experience it in it's last day. Here are some photos of production, the show, and the opening that happened on November 12th and more. Big thanks to Bill and Marcella, Erica, Dana, Nathan from Boston, Travis, Oscar, Mickey, Maddison, and Chloe for helping make this happen!
I am in North Carolina, getting settled in before the Residency I am about to partake in at Spectre Arts in Durham. I have a lot of photo editing to do but here are some images from the finished Language of Memory exhibition at Superchief LA. The show is up until December 10th so I advise ye go see it if you are in the LA area. We put it in big time on this... A fully immersive experience...
It's here! Tomorrow night at Superchief Gallery in DTLA, 739 Kohler St., LA, CA 90021, from 7-11pm we are having the opening reception for Language of Memory. It is a solo art effort by myself with amazing sound work by Andrew Kline (Strife, World Be Free), and new immersive installation work that I am very very proud of!!! If you are in LA please come and support and experience the show and Superchief.
Zach Tutor at Supersonic Art just dropped this awesome piece of press on his blog for our show today! http://supersonicart.com/post/153041964017/john-felix-arnold-iii-andrew-klines-language
“Language of Memory” is akin to the worlds of Kirby, Lichtenstein, Kienholz, Duchamp, and the RZA swirling and colliding into one moment, but only as Arnold and Kline could realize. The exhibition is a highly conceptual vision of a post-apocalyptic future in which iconic characters and reference from our current world take on a larger presence and meaning within a new society. This is a time in which humanity’s obsession with power and dominance led to the creation of living war machines that turned on their creators, having destroyed the world as we know it. In this reality concepts of survival, spirituality, memory, and existence have taken on new meanings."
Language of Memory is one month out, and we are very excited about getting into the gallery in the beginning of November to get some Installations built and get to work for the final push.
In the Shinjuku Area.