Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Mother installation

Like many others, my childhood was for the most part a bleak, sad, and scary affair. My parents divorced when I was two. I lived with my mother and saw my father on weekends. My mother attempted suicide when I was ten. She took a bottle of pills, drank a bottle of vodka, and threw herself in the Wallkill river. Just before she went in she noticed sunlight dancing on the river. It was beautiful and she decided that she wanted to live; she wanted to capture that light in a painting.

I'm writing about this to introduce an installation I am working on. It's comprised of six rooms that explore my relationship with my mother from when I was a newborn baby to when I was ten. Here's a rough walkthrough I made in digital 3-D. Most of the projected video elements are in a rough form.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Chrystie street

I took these shots this morning:

Monday, February 27, 2012

My work reduced to six black portfolios

I did the first round of editing. I organized the work by subject and put the keepers in these books:

It feels good to have gotten to this point. Putting the prints in books feels a bit strange. They are sealed up, put to sleep so to speak. Because of the nature of my digital work, the line between final work and sketch is ambiguous. I'm making up my process as I go along. I'm looking at these portfolios as my sketchbooks. I'll probably tack up the closer to final art on my walls.

The studio feels calmer now. I can hear myself think without the intrusion of the visual noisethat was surrounding me.

I'm next going to organize my mounted encaustic pieces:

I'm taking a few deep breaths before I do more work. I'm in a fortunate position in which I have a lot of potential directions to work in. It's a matter of focusing now. I find this kind of focusing difficult with my art.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

On being sick and a dog named Athena

I came down with a nasty cold the other day. I've been in bed for 24 hours. This cold has given me a chance to slow down and do a little thinking about what I'm doing and why I'm doing it.

Why am I making art? So far I'm barely making any money on the fine art. I have no shows planned. Yet people seem to love the work when they see it. In the end I want people to feel uplifted after seeing my work. I want my work to be a force for positive change in the world. I want to help awaken a sense of wonder and mystery of our physical and spiritual make-up. These are part of the reason for why I make art. The other reason is that I go nuts if I don't create something, be it a drawing, rendering, print, sculpture, photograph, or even a blog post. The act of making is medicine for me.

Why do I create information graphics? On a basic level I need to support my family. We need food, water, shelter. And so far people seem happy to pay me to make a information graphic. But let's go a little deeper. What has drawn me to this field? I believe there is an inherent beauty in all the manifestations of the physical world. It is my job to try and make this clear. Clarity is key. From clarity comes understanding and from understanding hopefully comes peace.

My wife surprised me the other day. She called while I was at the studio and told me she had just rescued a dog from the animal shelter. A Golden Retriever and German Shepard mix. She has come with the name Athena. Happens to be my favorite god from the Greek pantheon. She's sweet, quiet, and has a sad look in her eyes. The people at the shelter said she wouldn't show us her personality until a couple of weeks. She's a bit in shell shock, but that said she seems happy in her new home:

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Beginning to edit

I started editing my work yesterday. I began by taking down the prints I had tacked to the wall. I've placed them into neat (for me) stacks based on subject matter. Here's what the studio looks like as of this morning:

One thing that is apparent after doing this is that I have produced a lot over the last six months. This is wonderful. But it is overwhelming at the same time.

I'm going to go through the work and try to separate the good from the bad. Yeah, right. I wish it could be that simple. There are pieces that I don't like overall, yet have one little element that excites me. What do I do with these pieces? Tack them to the wall even though they make me cringe? I know, I know, I'm hearing the worlds smallest violin playing for me. Editing is really damn hard. In the process of editing I'm saying goodbye and giving up on some work.

Most of my art feels like it's in the sketch phase. Once I edit through the pieces I'll try to finalize some of them. When something is a sketch it's much easier to live with it and its problems. By making a conscious decision to try to bring a picture to completion I have to really look hard at what is not working.

I'm not on a external deadline with this work. Unfortunately I don't have a show planned. But I am submitting my work for awards and prizes. Having a imposed deadline would help a lot. I work so much better under the pressure of a deadline. I've worked for fifteen years in publishing, so this sense of a drop-dead deadline has been ingrained into me and my work habits.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Juan Pablo Duarte Square

I took these shots this morning. This square is right next to the Scientific American and New York Magazine offices, just a few blocks from our studio.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Back to work

I got back to the studio after being on vacation feeling uninspired, frustrated and restless. Here's what I've been working on:

I have to do some editing. There are a few pieces above that I am happy with. But currently they are competing with all the other pieces. Editing makes my head explode. As in Pulp Fiction head exploding. I may ask a friend of mine to help with the editing to prevent this.

I want to start working on a male model. Everything you see in the above photo is of a woman. It's time to start looking at the male form. This will bring my work into a more autobiographical place. I want to explore some of my experiences and feelings from childhood visually.

Related to this I'm considering starting up the childhood installation again. Working on it can be exhausting. But overall it's a cathartic experience for me. I take literal events as inspiration and what comes out from them is atmospheric and abstract.

I'm thinking about a meditation cave installation too. My art lends itself to this. In order to make this I need to start writing a proposal.

On the studio side, I'm putting together a book of our architectural work to send to prospective clients. We also finally had a meeting with a outside studio about redoing our website. It's about time.

I've been asked to make a information graphic about what a information graphic is. Another Pulp Fiction moment.

I'm looking at having to do a bunch of things I'm not great at, or at the least not comfortable doing. I'm out of my comfort zone. But they say practice makes perfect, right?

NYC at night

I took these three photos early this morning:

Parting shots

We headed back home from Florida yesterday. I took these shots before we left:

Sunday, February 19, 2012

My Florida

On the drive from our hotel to my grandmother's condo there's an abandoned lot that has been catching my eye. So this afternoon I pulled over and took these shots:

WWII and Florida

I get antsy on vacation. It takes me at least three days to unwind.

I don't get Florida. I don't feel comfortable here. I've never been a big fan of brilliant sunshine and colors in the aqua spectrum. I don't take to leisure well. I don't like boats. I'd rather look at water than be in it. A brisk fall day is what I love. On the other hand the kids are having a ecstatic time here and this is wonderful to see and experience.

It's also great to be visiting my grandmother, Sofie. I'm shooting video of her telling her story. It's pretty intense. She was in Austria and Yugoslavia during WWII. She witnessed and experienced a lot. As I listen to her a sense of gratitude wells up.

Hearing my Grandmother's stories about WWII and then going outside into the sun and seeing cheery architecture is odd. I experience a cognitive dissonance. Here are some of the pictures I have taken:

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Florida at night

I woke up wide awake at 2 A.M. this morning. So I decided to go out and take some pictures:

Friday, February 17, 2012

More from Florida

Here are a few shots I took this afternoon:


Molly, Lola, Lucius and I flew down to Boynton Beach, Florida, yesterday to visit my grandmother, Sofie.

Here are a few shots I took this morning: