My solo exhibition Anime Mixtape opened this past Friday in Durham, NC at the Runaway Flagship store. The reception was something else. I cranked with my friends and art installation assistant until the wee hours of Friday morning and sleeplessly went throughout the day finishing up the details and getting everything smoothed out. The reception was insane, so many good people came out to support and I saw old friends, new friends, family, and folks I had never before met that were fans of the work. I feel hella blessed right now and am about to hit the hay at my father’s house in Raleigh, NC. Here are some images
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.
Not long ago a great artist, business man, and friend commissioned me to create "literally whatever you want" as was explained by him. We share a love of anime and manga, a love of expressive painting and art that evokes narrative, feeling, and permits us to explore time and our own emotional content as tied to memory and to the way that certain pieces of our upbringings help us to channel our present and communicate with others. He is a painter as am I, but our languages aesthetically are very different, yet we find so much depth and connection in one another's language. So it was an honor to paint this for him with the freedom to just go in on it. I wanted to craft something that spoke to our mutual love of certain manga, to our mutual reality of facing adversity and through acceptance, hard work, dedication, surrender, passion, persistence, and the duality of chaos and thus finding the space to be still through the journey we call life. This is piece is very special too me. It is so personal and then upon it's delivery my friend Kent who commissioned said to me, "This painting is everything to me." Sometimes we have moments in this cosmic puzzle that really shed light on the fact that existence is so far beyond what we see and think on a daily basis. I am working on editing some better shots of this piece but here are images of this diptych for you to see. It is two panels, both 3'x4', house paint, spray paint, acrylic paint, tempera, pencil, oil pastel, acrylic lacquer, and more. 2018
That's right, the MEGA ANNUAL GROUP SHOW is here at the Tri Lateral Superchief Empire respective headquarters, aka LA NYC and MIAMI! I am so stoked to have been down since 2013 and the movement moves on. I am showing a new but classic piece called Beautiful Future! Sumi Ink on Paper at the LA gallery. And here are some flyers for ya'll as well.... Stay weird you freaks.
Here are a few recent studio shots. About to get really busy...
No steps on the bus stop too heavy,
No weight inside of a word light enough,
No tendrils of paralysis left untethered,
No wind weak enough to burn the eyes from self conscious ego,
A timely decision to get involved,
A rugged terrain,
Through waves of anxious noxiousness,
Through dependence on outer limit circumstance for validation an verification,
Through a shrill note of absolute confusion,
Paying it forward,
With every step into Mummra's strange cave of scary ass shit,
Finding purpose in nothingness,
Untold stories of absolute strength and power sometimes come in packages you never knew,
We stand mighty,
Against times anarchic frenzy,
Making the way our own,
As best we can.
I have made a lot of art. I have made a lot of art that meant a lot to me and that I found to be next level, but has not really had much of a response amongst my audience. I have likewise made things that a lot of people seem to love and I myself am into but don't find that next level depth in and can just sort of enjoy as a pretty picture over time, nothing wrong with that. Then there are the pieces that seem to sync up with all of it. The universe surrounds excites and we all lift up in a movement from the connection.
Here are some works I haven't show a whole lot that seem to have done all three.
I am at the airport right now headed to NYC. When I booked this ticket it was for my partner's birthday and also to peep some of the Armory show, BUT, BOOM, Superchief is also having a massive group show and a Juxtapoz issue release party one night after the other starting tomorrow, Friday 03/09/2018! The Saturday 03/10/2018 is the official show opening! Going to be nuts. I have been working with these guys since 2013 and I have to say, they are the future of so much that is art in the US and abroad. We are a movement, a community, a powerhouse of ideas and forward motion and insanity and I am so grateful to have been a part for over 5 years now. We are living in strange times and they continue to carry a torch through the darkness, with a huge squad to support that fire.
Superchief NY is located at 1628 Jefferson Ave, Ridgewood, NY 11385,
Their website is http://superchiefgallery.com
The pieces I will be showing are below. I can't wait to get to the clubhouse.
I painted the piece above, Hadouken, on a trip to NYC last year during a period of immense travel. It was one of my favorite moments of the 2017 and I am really happy to unveil it officially!
And this piece from my older show in Chelsea in 2015, From Here is also going to be up and broadcasting live...
A power that thrusts and receives,
A time breaking fervor of sight,
The transponder to the universe clear and yet indecipherable,
We move forward out of practicality yet knowing the reasons for our motion are beyond us,
Convincing ourselves we understand it all, yet simply knowing deep within that once we stop existing deep within, once that channel is cut, what are we but nothingness,
A prayer for the power to receive and give in accordance, to give and thus receive without expectation,
Wrought in a world of expectation singing the siren song of know it allness,
The song of developed theories of how to manuals,
Yet one thing remains true, we must keep moving, even then that means the cultivation of a stillness existing in pure light churning and vibrating with a bubbling glow of awakening.
I am working on my site a bit currently. I have been digging through some old images from my portfolio archives in search for a series of shots from a show I did in 2014 titled Pilgrimage. I have really also needed them to set up a series for some applications for residencies and funding I am in the process of working to attain good favor into. Along my quest for this powerful goal, I ran into some high res images of some work that I thought I had unfortunately lost all of in a drive crash ages ago. Much to my happiness and surprise, after trying to reformat some god awful images that were extremely low res (from before websites like Squarespace resized your images in the programming and you had to save depending on screen size and at a viewable 72 dpi), I stumbled upon two images I had long forgotten that I myself had shot (not thinking I was a good enough shot at the time) and was able to color correct them and relive some of the energy and power that came with that time in my life.
They are both from the Findings series from 2014. Relics of the World of Unstoppable Tomorrow, from that distant future past where the humans reconcile their survival after the reset of civilization due to our inability to control creations of war that we ourselves created under the guise of control. Classic storyline, but pertinent in my mind to my personal view of how our obsession as a race with speeding up our technological advances without thinking of the outcomes, or realizing we repeat the same mistakes of control over and over. Needless to say, these pieces are some of my favorites. One of them was shown at Fecal Face Dot Gallery for a show that Rachel Ralph curated right before an epic road trip I went on as part of my Superchief Gallery NYC solo show "The Scourge". Good times.
As I write this we are hurtling faster and faster to the brink of nuclear war and I feel that this work, no coincidence, is more pertinent than ever in my life. Even more relevant that in the 1980s when I though Regan and Bush were going to take us to the Promise Land Eating Cheeseburgers and Dying As Our Skin Melted Off. Uplifting times. Here is to the New Year... My Big New Years Update is coming soon. Hold onto your hats already!
These works are both from the Findings series... Both around 26"x28 or 30". I love the cuts and shaping. They are Acrylic Lacquer, Spray Paint, and Graphite on Found Wood Assemblage Panels, 2014. Both sold immediately upon their releases.
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 have been traveling through the US a bit since the end of July. I was in Los Angeles helping paint a massive 6000 sq ft mural with an amazing young artist there name Kent Yoshimura. Only two and half years deep in his art life and his work is thriving and was commissioned by the city to paint this epic memorial to entertainment and music on the side of the Warner Grand in San Pedro. It was an honor being part of the crew on the project. Joined by Kent, Laura, Weinberger, Paul Juno, and the mystical, elusive, soft spoken shaman known as Rooster, we crushed it in 10 days and were all very happy to celebrate with KBBQ upon its completion.
It was pretty incredible. I look forward to working with all of these people again.
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.
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
A visual narrative of my trip to Japan... Osaka to Kyoto to Tokyo, May 2016. Thanks to Juso Paint Dojo, Keiko Hakozaki, and the city of Tokyo.
Japan Travels and Art Adventures, 2016 Osaka to Kyoto to Tokyo
Time has been flying by. I have some major announcements to make. First off, Andrew Kline and I have been working on a massive new show to debut at Superchief Gallery LA on November 12th, 2016. We have been working hard to bring you an immersive art, sound, and installation experience taking you through a future world where samples and visual reference from today have become the foundation of a society in the world of Unstoppable Tomorrow. It is also a conceptual exploration of shared reference creating a unifying but also very singular experience.
here are some works
Goddess 12"x12" House Paint, Oil Pastel, Pencil, Acrylic Lacquer on Wood Panel
Split Tales, 2'x4' House Paint, Acrylic Lacquer, Acrylic Paint, Soft Pastel, Oil Pastel, Pencil on Wood Panel
Time Signature 12"x12" House Paint, Spray Paint, Acrylic Lacquer, pencil on Wood Panel
Story of Life 24"x27" Spray Paint, House Paint, Acrylic Paint, Soft Pastel, Oil Pastel, Tempera, Pencil, Acrylic Lacquer on Wood Panel
I will be in LA living at Superchief for two months working on the installations leading up to the show. Get ready for some awesome documentation.
In other news, this website hosted by Bits & Bristles will unfortunately be coming down in October. I am working to get a new site up by then so please bare with me in the interim as I will be transferring the name over to a temporary blog style site due to time constraints.
Thank you for all your support. If you would like a preview of the show works and are interested in purchasing send me a comment or email to email@example.com and I will connect you with the good people at Superchief as well as supply you with any info you need from my end.
Much Love and thank you to all for your support!
I have been in Japan for the last ten days, and it has been a whirlwind! I have learned so much about a city that is somewhat new to me, Osaka, and about painting huge pieces as well. It has been a beautiful, sometimes chaotic and tough learning curve, but now (that also my wifi card on my computer started magically working again) it is just moving forward with an amazing positive force and I am able to look at the whole last two weeks as a real journey of growth and newness and change. Yeahhhhhhh.
So finally I can share some photos of my adventures with you. I have only edited a few so far so the majority will continue to come. Enjoy
Excited to announce that I am going to have a piece in the upcoming Stephanie Chefas Projects Group Show entitled "Selfie". I will be dropping a new piece entitled "Alignment" next week on social media which will be represented in the show. I wrote an insightful, albeit thorough (as fuck haha) paragraph about the context for the piece and for where I seem to have found myself these days. 'In the last year of self discovery many moments have seemed to engulf me in their fullness and seeming unending intensity. The truth is that feelings, thoughts, states of being whether it be fear, joy, uplifting momentum, painful drowning, relief, darkness, amazement all are simply temporary moments within our humanity and our connection with the universal and one another. No state of being is a forever moment, I feel that even death in the end is simply a doorway to another dimension or state of our energies path through time and space. I have ebbed and flowed through some very intense pockets of being that at times felt permanent, or unending in the last year. I have worked through ghosts and the effects of my own past that finally were meant to be unwoven and dissected and confronted. And always with every stage and step a larger feeling of connection and a vision of the balance of the spiritual center amidst all things, one entity yet part of all entities is what I can see and feel. This piece is truly a self portrait of being and perception at the convergence of so many different elements of existence. It encompasses a visualization of the unseeable as well as tangible aspects of being, not consumed by any one feeling or way or thought. Just a moment amidst the intersecting energies and landscapes of the soul and psyche to see the beauty of it all in alignment, of it all just as it is meant to be at this certain moment. A freeze frame of all that makes up the passing of time and my place in the forever undulating universal architecture of energy. Even Tetsuo's rebirth was not a place of permanent pain, but a doorway to let his unending explosion of energy become right sized and fluid in a new state of existence, in the next dimension and stage of his alignment.' -JFA III
Also I will be having a yet another new piece showing with the wild animals of Good Mother Gallery in Oakland.
I have been using direct references from comics, manga, anime, books, folklore, Hokusai, Yoshitoshi, Kirby, Buscema, and many many more for a long time now. I find that the use of these references generally stem from a familiarity found during my life span, and I attach certain memories, thoughts, feelings, experiences, and the passing of time and all that comes with it to these iconic references. The ability to craft a narrative that speaks of our story due to the use of sampled elements that come from our world, or our specific moments in time that show a relationship of experience, is something that I began learning from great producers like DJ Premier, Pete Rock, The Rza, Dilla, even Kanye. There is something so sacred, so universal, and so personal yet communal about being able to utilize an image (or sound) that already exists in a certain context in history and was created with a certain purpose in mind, but due to the immersion into the tableau of our own personal histories these images take on new definitions and representations for all of us as individuals. I may not have created the image but I am using it just as a writer uses a word or a composer a note to begin to share my experience with my materials and surface and then ultimately to you. I feel everything that I have learned from these images and their makers coupled with all of my feelings, memories, thoughts, ideas, and experiences that I associate them with throughout every part of my life that I invoked their energy so to speak, and the result of re-purposing them creates something that I find to be beyond powerful, nurturing, cathartic, challenging and aids in a deep sense of growth and connection.
I have recently found my way back into the use of comic book references. After some continued digging and self reflection and self work I have found my way back to a period of my life where I began growing and forming ideas, and emotions, and modes that continued to move forward. A lot of these moments had been forgotten for a long time and I find myself re-experiencing some of this time internally as I come to realizations about how it informs who I am now. A certain attachment and learning came in the form of specifically Wolverine from Marvel comics for instance. It is almost as if I am having conversations as an adult reflecting on my inner child from then and now with Wolverine. I also am revisiting how I connected myself to Wolverine's adventures and pain and good times and battles and loves and loss and intense personal narrative. I am finding how so many of these references from John Buscema and Mark Texiera and Barry Windsor Smith really helped to teach me so much of morals, and ways, and approaches, wrong things, influences and ethics, good and bad habits as well that I embraced and helped me to grow. I find that reformulating these relationships in adulthood helps me to accept, love, cultivate and define my experiences and my narrative from this time period and how it continues to help me evolve today as I have re-embraced it while moving through present life and learning to accept more of who I am day by day.
I plan to continue writing more about this concept of sampling as a mode for deep, personal story telling by reintroducing iconic references in a new way. About how it is truly a tool that can bridge my experience with others and do more to welcome viewers and patrons into the work I create as they find their own story and also wonder how our stories are similar and unified as well as contrasting and individual. I feel like I have found a powerful tool to speak with in turn with my abstract painting and wood work and loose contour drawing and more. The root of much of my childhood growth and positive relationships with art (comic and abstract) are today more and more becoming the tools I use to truly explore and visualize my experience of those things unseen and intangible. I am happy to be doing what I am doing.