New Astroknot drawing 2013, for Shooting Gallery solo show in 2014 Life is a trip you guys and gals. Three years ago pretty much to date I was sitting exactly where I am right now working on my website, getting ready for a couple big shows coming up in the spring exactly as I am right now. I was sober at the time, but a couple relapses away from real sobriety as some would say. I was digging my heels in and grinding my teeth and typing furiously at press emails and blog posts and copying and pasting show descriptions in art site calendars like FecalFace.com and Impose magazine.
I was still a virgin to Hi-Fructose and Juxtapoz and was with my girlfriend (now ex-girl) at the time who lived a block from the cafe on Mason & Washington that I am typing from. I had opened Unstoppable Tomorrow Vol.1 at Old Crow with Chris Burch and D Young V not 20 days before, and was freaking out as my show Past From the Blast was coming up at Queens Nails in just two months. Life felt electric and on fire, and as I sit here typing this for you to read it still feels electric and on fire, a bit more so now to be honest. The intensity is different, the short term gratification has given way to long term hustle and a much bigger vision and state of mind, which coincidentally demands a much deeper, and fully sustaining sort of internal electric source and fuel for a much hotter and longer lasting fire.
The world and the gods have been good to me as I have continued to dig in my heels, hoist up my sleeves, make, write, draw, copulate, glue, talk, laugh, cry, hunker down, take little breaks, get excited and continue to explore this epic world we live in together. It really blows me away at how funny this moment is and how special it is as French lounge music plays in the background and the cable car dings and roars by with its San Francisco history soundtrack following it everywhere it moves.
I am really lucky and really grateful to have made it past that moment three years ago. It proved to be very much a major hurtle, a major proving ground for where my life would go. I had fought and surrendered my way to a new type of life so different than the one I had become accustomed to for so many years, and it really was those events in 2010 and 2011 and the people who remained in my life and the new ones who became a part of it that shaped the path for where I am going now.
I have never had disdain for the holidays, and I am lucky for that. So as I sit here and sun is going down and I can here the kids outside and the parents in the Chinatown meets Jackson Heights area of San Francisco, I can only imagine how many stories I am surrounded by. All those stories give me energy. All those stories to build the fabric of what so many of us create from. Bus drivers, business women, art school kids, swaggy street kids, skateboarders, old chinese ladies with 20 plastic produce and dim sum filled bags, the crazy man on the block with the cart of hoarded newspapers, yuppies, tourists, wanna be thugs, real gangsters sitting in their blacked out Mercedes' with the windows down dragon tattoos wrapping around their arms with cigarettes in their mouths, new parents pushing strollers, old parents of every race with their grown up kids in town for the Holidays, they all pass through leaving freeze frames of motion and character in my mind.
This post goes out to the ether. To the powers at work outside of our tangible vision that make the movements of the universe ebb and flow. To all the artists in the Bay and New York and Japan, to the South, Europe and beyond. The world is happening all over all the time. I am glad this moment in the massive fabric of time has happened for me where I can suddenly have a sort of deja vu memory trip. A moment where I can sit in the same place I was three years ago fighting for my life in a very different pair of shoes, and where I gathered my energy for a great Hadouken and went for it.
Makenzi James from a modeling shoot for painting reference images 2013
It feels good to sit here right now and look back on all that has happened in the last three years and be thankful as Christmas is approaching that I have the capacity to work hard and stay creative and dig deep within myself to contribute what I can to this world of ours. Much love to everyone! IPD, 57, RTS, The Basement, Screwed Arts, Doppel, and every one that is busting that ass and making it happen. #makeworkson
So there is a lot coming up...first off I have some older and newer works going into a show at the Ian Ross Gallery which opens on the 27th. There will be a V.I.P. opening on the 26th that I will be attending, but I won't unfortunately be able to make the big opening on the 27th due to a trip to the East Coast for my cousins wedding...I will post the info about the show at Ian Ross Gallery soon.
In other news, Triangle Magic is looking great. I am almost finished with all the works, just doing the details at this point and getting ready for my week of insanity that will ensue in New York City. Expect a lot of photos from this trip as always. The show will also be Littlefield's representation for the Gowanus Open Studios. I am very, very proud to have been hand picked for this exhibition and to be representing Littlefield for the Gowanus Open Studios. Thanks Julie Kim! Here are some images and press info on the show (downloadable press release is at the bottom of the this post). It is at Littlefield (622 Degraw St.) in Brooklyn just at the foot of Park Slope. http://littlefieldnyc.com I am really excited...
The work for Triangle Magic is a very new a fresh direction for me. While it does completely exist within my world of Unstoppable Tomorrow, using signs and signifiers from my body of ammunition, the way in which the narrative aspect is portrayed, the idea of relics that are actually, or were actually used in ceremony, and the entire approach to the thinking and making of them shows a new turn and a new re-inventing of my process. I am very proud of them and feel that they are a great first step into a widening of my scope of creation, and an expansion of my intention and thought behind my art. The intention that lays within the making of them is a bit different from my hard hitting, figurative, representational work. I truly enjoy how the viewer really can continue to make their own experience out of them with more freedom (much like, and more so even, than the work in the SFMOMA) than the highly spoon fed narrative work seen in "Should I Stay or Should I Go?" and previous shows in that vein. This is a departure from representation, and an emergence into abstraction and chain of thought steeped in process and ceremony. See you there...more to come! IPD
For Downloadable Press Release Click the Link JFAIII Triangle Magic
So there are these things called "the promises" in this arena of study I am engaged in that are spoken of often and are a guideline that people work toward. Some may call "the promises" simply a better life in whatever way and shape it comes to you. A better life that one can be thankful for, can appreciate every atom of, and one that is fulfilling and enthralling because the one experiencing it is willing to put forth the work it takes to change things, be willing to accept the world as it comes, and do what it takes to better themselves and seek a future of productivity and appreciation for all things. At the age of 32 I am beginning to understand, or comprehend some semblance of this search, this journey for these promises.
2012 was the best year I have ever had, I mean that. I, for the first time in my life, felt what it meant to see years of hard work reach people, communicate on many platforms with people all over the world, create a better living situation for myself, and in turn afford me opportunities to continue to grow and learn and love the world I am a part of. Throughout 2012 I felt like a Phoenix finally exploding out of the grime and filth and sludge, the chaos and friction and anxiety and self hate, the self imposed fears and restrictions and bars that I had to evolve out of in order to get the perspective on my place in the world I have now. Suddenly things made sense, and the knowledge that so many things will never make sense became something I could swallow. I didn't have to wake up paralyzed by anxiety and fear of life everyday. The ability to be okay with the world no matter how one thinks it "should" be reconciled, to have ideas and opinions but be able to love life regardless of "if" those ideas and opinions matter or not and simply let life be what it is no matter the outcome is perhaps the biggest "promise" of all.
It is the difference between breathing or suffocating, loving or hating, being enveloped by fear of the unknown or embracing the unknown because it is what we are born from. And it took over a quarter of a century to have this way of seeing beaten, massaged, sliced, explained, recommended and finally born into my psyche. On the Wu-Tang albums I grew up listening to they call this "knowledge of self God". Thank you RZA and the rest for setting a young framework for generations to be influenced by.
So this all brings me here. It isn't even about me, but for intensive purposes I am the one writing this as I turn to a year further in the development of my spirit in the universe, as my body gets one year closer to its end. I really feel that the end of the physical will only be the beginning of a higher stage, but I will do the very best I can with this life as it is all I know and as I work toward a relationship with all things. I feel my physical being, every inch ounce hair fiber cell tingle. Getting older has been amazing thus far.
I have work up at the Shooting Gallery in SF right now as part of their Winter Group Show and I am honored to be a part of their movement in the art world as it helps to define, reinterpret, investigate, and communicate with the world we are a part of. I have work up at LOAKL Gallery in Oakland as well, and I am proud to be a part of the early stages of Ken Harman's new addition to the Bay Area art world as well as he will continue to thrive and spread amazing things to so many people. I will be in a group show at Ocean Avenue Tattoo in SF with my good friend SALEM on January 26th. In March I will be a part of a group show curated by Michael Cuffe who runs Warholian. Then it is off to Japan for a Month long residency at Spes-Lab in Tokyo.
And then in June the first installment of a year long program I have at the SFMOMA opens with three more series of work in the SFMOMA space going up each three months until June 2014. I will finally be having a huge solo show in the Fall of 2013 that will be my last big exhibition of the year and coincide with the second (fall) program I am installing at the SFMOMA. All of this is really happening now, and if not for every bit of life I have survived on this planet leading up to now, none of it would be happening. I am more grateful now for the life my parents created that I have become than I ever knew was possible. Many more updates to come very soon! -John Felix Arnold III, 01/15/2013 IPD FOR LIFE!