I have been in the studio when possible, working on a large interior project, planning out future endeavors, and seeking within and in new books and sources of information to continue to learn and grow The new year has arrived, a continuing moment in the narrative of every breath. I am stoked to have a few studio shots and share some more travel images with you. I have been discovering more about myself and my painting and am looking forward to embarking on some new drawings soon as well. Things are shifting, changing, and directions forming and beckoning. Pretty happy to have closed the door on a successful 2018 and be able to look back at one of the best years of my life.
This summer I was asked to create a commissioned work for the lobby of the historic IMagnin Building in downtown Oakland. The building was erected in 1931 and designed by architecture firm Weeks and Day. It housed an upscale department store until it closed in 1995. It is an amazingly beautiful green marble art deco building and an official historic Oakland structure. It was recently renovated and as per the renovation I was asked to create a piece for its lobby. Having been a part of the Bay Area and specifically Oakland off and on for the last 12 years I was honored to be asked to do this. The only request was that the piece reflect a vision of Oakland by way of an intimate relationship with this city. I chose to explore this task with a style of found wood assemblage that at one point of my career I was very much known for. A style which I have been slowly re-immersing myself in, thus this was absolutely perfect timing. In this series of blog posts I will go more in depth and explain the project further, my process, my feelings on it, how it came together, the narrative behind, and its installation.
In this first post, it is important to note that as the city of Oakland is developed at an extremely fast pace, as people are displaced and old dwellings torn down in the name of progress, I find it vital to work to save aspect of this physical come metaphysical history from being destroyed and forgotten or lost in the attention deficit short term memory of our accelerated culture. The beginning of this project was a practice in communicating, in listening to the street and letting the city guide me in the collection and discovery of cast away pieces of wood from many different areas. Thus creating a real time based narrative tapestry of tangible objects packed with stories, spirit, energy, and a vibrant history that will continue to transmit its truth from the lobby of the IMagnin building well into the future for Oaklanders new and old to reflect on and investigate. The act of gratitude and humility in turning to this living breathing place steeped in history accepting it’s direction and guidance is one of the most felt experience I get to have as an artist. It is a true conversation with time and my surroundings. To be set on a path to explore and give thanks for those things left behind that are there waiting to be repurposed and given a new place to continue to inspire us is really an honor and something that I do take as a gift. This city has so much to say and this process allows me to hear so much of it and honor that language.
In the next post I will speak more on the construction of the panels and the dialogue felt with the materials as well as how the studio came to be utilized and more of the intuitive and intellectual process of creating the work one step at a time… stay tuned and thank you for reading.
Hello everyone. My pursuit of making art and realizing projects has always been at the forefront of my practice. The pursuit of exploring the world, the journey inward and outward, the constant immersion of experience, the communication of the evolution of seeing the world around me, has always been my first love and focus. After a lot of thought and slow intentional work towards this, I finally decided it is imperative to create a platform in this age, where the ease of connection exists at our fingertips, to acquire works from me with the push of button. I am happy to announce that my store through Big Cartel is officially stocked with paintings large and small, two prints, and two small drawings. Most of the works available include free shipping and handling inside the USA until New Years 2018. Work for serious collectors, art lovers of any budget, and gift givers. I will soon have a section for commission requests, upcoming zines and prints, and sections of drawings and smaller works available. I want as many people to be able to have pieces as possible from this mission I am on. There is a lot of resonance and energy and history in each individual piece, and we are really just getting started. Please let me know if there are any works from my past catalogue on my website that you may be interested in the event it is available and just hasn't made it to the store. There will be momentary specials as well so please check in often. It feels good to have this up and offering these works to connect with the right people, collections, and homes. Enjoy.
And hereeee we goooooo....
I am fortunate enough to have people in my life that will inspire me until I rise to the next station in existence and then we all join power as we float through these cosmos. To be less abstract and poetic about it, I often draw and document subjects that inject a sense of light, intense awakening and freedom of the spirit into the world and they absolutely remind me that the world is to be experienced and built from as we grow closer to that next level of being. This drawing I started may end up in a group show in Brooklyn, no matter where it goes it will always speak with a force and subtle power beyond words for me. Shaman's are among us as they awaken to their power.
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.
I have been working in the studio a bit more lately, finding some regular time as I get some perspective on what I am will be making for some upcoming adventures later in the year. I have discovered some new mixtures of solvents and paints and such and really have been diving into process. My train of thought and ability to really dig into the core of my subject matter inside and let the work become an internal dialogue of a kind of narrative expressionism has me elated and nervous and confident and anxious and calm and grateful all at the same time. Here is a work in progress looking back at new ways to use iconic references from my childhood into my teenage years.
Queens Nails Projects : 3191 Mission St. SF, CA, 94110
Saturday Feb. 4th Artist Reception 6-8pm/ Performances 8pm-12am
"It is coming up quickly and steadily, much like the dawn of a new day. Bay Area artist and personality John Felix Arnold III has his first official show of 2012 opening on Saturday February 4th and runs until February 21st. He will be exhibiting a solo array of mixed media paintings and a new installation piece (the namesake of the show) that will act as an altar piece as well as a stage and vehicle for a night of live performances fromDaylight Curfew ( a crew all residing in California but all originally from New York City consisting of Cassettes Won’t Listen, Bisco Smith, Grizzly Grimace, and Turnbull Green),Kool Kid Kreyola, and a new husband and wife vocal duo named Him Downstairs. The Love of All Above is a continuation of Arnold’s “Unstoppable Tomorrow : The World of Future Antiquity” series and promises to be an unforgettable experience to kick off 2012. More info will be posted as it draws near. Here is the official show flyer as well as a link to the press release. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for media contact."
Please Click on the Link Below for downloadable Press Release.
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This is a repost from my piece for today on the http://artnowsf.com site, but I really can't think of anything to add off top, so I will get back atachya tomorrow, but until then... "So here we are. One day until New Years Eve 2011. We are about to enter what the Mayan Calendar deems to be the end of the world as we know it. If anything 2011 has been a harbinger of drastic change, a platform from which “globalization” seems to be working for the iron fist of the wealthy elite as usual, but is starting to be a very powerful tool for the rest of us in the world to share ideas and develop tactics to fight “the man” so to speak. We definitely exist in a world that is going through some very dramatic changes, hurtling forward technologically faster than ever before, and increasingly environmentally unsustainable (for us) due to our reliance on consumerism. There is war everywhere, and the gap between the rich and the poor continues to grow on a scale never before seen in history and we are all at the mercy of totally failed and rapidly disintegrating economic system. (Pretty soon we’ll be trading labor for crafts and goods again and making trade with things that are actually worth something, hrrmmmmmm, sounds like what America was like before the settlers got here) All this being said, I for one am actually very excited about living in this time and seeing what 2012 will bring. It could be a violent hurricane of revolution and mass destruction, it could become an even more sterile society of ownership and apathy, or it could erupt into one of the most beautiful eras of human history where people farm for themselves and each other, where a mass consciousness overtakes us and we can all break bread together. Probably non of those things to that degree will happen, but 2012 will most definitely mark a series of sprouts to seeds that have been planted in 2011 in a broad range of societal changes.
We have seen some amazing steps in the past few years in terms of art, design, information technology, communication tools, food, music, creativity, and new creative ways of living as a whole. We are truly starting to see the ability of art and artists to free themselves and those around them mentally and spiritually in the face the stifling hand of consumerism and the culture it has created. To the same effect we are also seeing the commercialization of art like never before through a new generation of advertisers and marketers. We are seeing an influx of DIY culture resurging and growing larger than it has ever been to try to combat the ills and destructive nature and soullessness of mass production and an obviously failed economic system. And still again on the same token we are seeing whole communities being owned by companies like Monsanto and WalMart, and are living in a time when the power of branding and "the Brand" has become one of the most important aspects of our lives. Despots and violent dictators are being toppled but we are all concerned with who will replace them and who will actually control those replacements and for what reason. While we don’t seem to have any Martin Luther King Jr.s or Ghandis at the moment, we are seeing groups of people coming together as one in larger numbers on a global scale and acting as a unified voice so that one person does not have to. But damn it would be nice to have a leader that cannot be bought again, too bad Obama couldn’t seem to fit this part of the bill.
So I guess my point here in is this. We are all just humans. While we have evolved in so many ways, we really haven’t even begun to scratch the surface on what it takes to truly be highly evolved beings with an understanding of consciousness and can’t agree on the right ways to move forward, but within in this mess we find beauty. Without pain there is no pleasure, and peace and serenity are only truly understood when one has been far far from them. Without the world I live in I can’t make the art I make and send out a message of life as I know it. So tomorrow night, spend it with people you love and love you, do something good for someone else, and don’t forget to laugh and make love, because according to the Mayans this is your last year to do any of it in this life. Yep stay positive, it will pay off for you when the shit hits the fan! While this era of civilization is on its way out, we definitely are moving quickly into the next chapter. Be happy you are here to witness it.
In passing this photo below is of a new painting so far entitled "A Conversation With Coletrane About Spirituality...", it is in progress and is will face opposite the "Conversation With Charles Mingus..." piece in the Altar/ Installation at Queens Nails Projects on February 4th.
Text, Art, and Photos by John Felix Arnold III Middle Photo By Shaun Roberts
So I am about to put the finishing touches on what I feel to be the most fulfilling piece of mine to date. It is a culmination of specifically the past five or six years of foresight into what I want to make art about and how I want to make it tuned with the vivid memories or rust and decay I experienced throughout my child hood and my overall view on the progression of humanity in the world we live in presently. The piece is an 8'x3' panel made of all found pieces of debris creating an assemblage canvas which I then attacked with a multitude of media. In short I put a lot of heart and soul and love and inspiration, a lot of life experience and happiness and anguish all rolled into it, and long hours at night into this baby.
Not only is it a painting but it is also an integral component to the Altar Piece Installation I am making in Queens Nails for the awesome show I have coming up entitled "The Love of All Above". A new installment in the Unstoppable Tomorrow : The World of Future Antiquity Series, "The Love of All Above" aims to integrate the paintings and detail work into the actual installation more so there is really no distinction between the Installation Piece and the indiviual paintings that can exist outside of it while it is presented as an environment. This will in turn create a truly more realized piece of my imaginary future world for the viewer to experience. Also the performances will be conceptually and aesthetically streamlined with the art piece in a true collaborative effort creating a page out of the graphic novel future/past world of Unstoppable Tomorrow, that I set out to have the audience revel in. There will be performances by Joel and Rhea St. Julien, the Daylight Curfew Crew, and Kool Kid Kreyola who will also be helping in the production of the installation piece.
This new panel has been an enormous breakthrough in that I have realized the culmination of concepts,ideas and techniques I have been trying to bring together and they are all finally working to create this world in the eye of the viewer on many levels. It can exist on its own as an art piece, but will truly be understood when it is seen built into one of the flanks of the installation, as a narrative, historical and mythological story telling device to aid in the full experience of praise and performance for "The Love of All Above". If you think back to ancient Japanese wall tapestries or screens depicting battles, and daily life, or back to Durer with his prints of biblical monstrosities or the four horsemen, or even back as far as the cave paintings, then you look at comic books, and and super hero related material, or even sports memorabilia with its larger than life, almost Greek God qualities, you will see the common threads things being depicted that one day have an importance and a legend or mythology behind them that is highly influential and sometimes God like. Taking this into consideration one will begin to understand that by creating this piece in the way it was realized, I am making my own epic, narrative stamp to be translated into myth hopefully a thousand years from now, but in the present it acts as a cohesive story telling platform through a multi media art practice that can exist on many levels for a wide range of audiences and demands thought and interaction in some form wherever and however it is encountered in its lifetime. It was derived from all of the eight million stories in my mind while listening to a documentary about Charles Mingus and how his music is all about the conversation he is having with his fellow players and the audience. Nuff Said. "The Love of All Above" , February 4th, 2012, Queens Nails Projects, more to come...Felix