Artwork on Display - May 2017

Here is a list of where I currently have work on display

DZINE Gallery - Burning Bright Exhibition 128 Utah Street, San Francisco, CA (through Oct 2017) I have two paintings in this group exhibition.

DZINE Gallery - Burning Bright Exhibition 128 Utah Street, San Francisco, CA (through Oct 2017)

I have two paintings in this group exhibition.

Slate Art Offsite Exhibition at 555 12th Street, Oakland, CA - March 30 - June 21, 2017. I have eight paintings on display.

Slate Art Offsite Exhibition at 555 12th Street, Oakland, CA - March 30 - June 21, 2017. I have eight paintings on display.

Khrome Studios - San Francisco Design Center - 101 Henry Adams Street, San Francisco, CA. I have one painting on display here. 

Khrome Studios - San Francisco Design Center - 101 Henry Adams Street, San Francisco, CA. I have one painting on display here. 

This work and paintings are available through Capstone Art, Los Gatos

This work and paintings are available through Capstone Art, Los Gatos

Upcoming Exhibition: June 2017 - The Zen Center, San Francisco California. Solo exhibition at The Art Lounge in the The San Francisco Zen Center, 300 Page Street San Francisco, CA.

Artist Reception: June 23rd, 6PM-8PM at Hotel Adagio

ArtSpan: Art-in-Neighborhoods Exhibition

One of my large abstract pieces was selected for ArtSpan's Art-In-Neighborhood exhibitions! 

When: Thursday, June 23rd

Time: 6PM-8PM              

Where: Hotel Adagio, 550 Geary Street (Click here for map)

Facebook: Join event here

About the Art-in-Neighborhoods Program
ArtSpan’s Art-in-Neighborhoods program serves the city of San Francisco by connecting communities with local artists while activating spaces with vibrant, locally-made artwork. ArtSpan partners with local businesses and building owners to bring art exhibitions and art events to businesses, dormant storefronts, and empty spaces for lease that seek artwork for their blank walls. Local artists who are ArtSpan members are given the opportunity to display, promote, and sell their artwork in these diverse venues. All aspects of the program allow otherwise unused walls, spaces, or properties to become creative arenas for celebrating local arts.

The Art-In-Neighborhoods program strives to create visibility and accessibility for local arts in San Francisco. ArtSpan provides the public with free, high quality arts exposure. Simultaneously, local ArtSpan artists are given the opportunity to promote and sell their artwork. Each of the Art-In-Neighborhoods exhibitions and community events will provide clear, consistent information about ArtSpan programing to educate the public about ArtSpan’s goals and how to become a supporter – by attending our events and buying artwork from local artists!

SPRING OPEN STUDIOS

It's that time of year again! 

Please join me and 150+ other artists as we open our studios to the public. I will be showing new work. There will be food trucks, artist demos, a beer and wine garden, and kid-friendly activities. Free onsite parking.

Saturday, April 23rd and Sunday April 24th

11AM - 6PM

Building 115, Studio 7

RSVP and invite friends to the event on Facebook here

For directions, click here

Art Gallery Etiquette 101 - How to NOT Behave at a Gallery Opening

Want to make as bad an impression as possible at an art gallery opening you've been invited to? Here's all you have to do to irritate and offend not only the artist and the gallery owner, but also anyone else in attendance who's seriously interested in seeing, learning about, or buying the art that's on exhibit.

***This is a condensed version of an insightful post by Alan Bamberger of Artbusiness.com. His website is an excellent source for both artists and collectors. You can read the longer version here.

Behavioral blunders for artists:

* Without asking anyone for permission, pass out your business cards, brochures, artist book or announcements to your upcoming shows to as many people as possible, especially the artist and the gallery owner... and then leave. Do this repeatedly at every gallery opening and art event you attend.

* When no one is looking, discreetly leave your business cards, brochures, show announcements or artist book at various locations around the gallery.

* If you know the artist or gallery owner, monopolize as much of their time as possible with conversations that the two of you can have anywhere and at anytime. Ignore the fact that the purpose of the opening is for the artist and gallery owner to do business and sell art.

* Ask the artist to talk to the gallery owner about you and your art.

* Ask the artist or someone who works at the gallery if they can give you any inside tips or advice on how to approach the gallery owner and get a show at the gallery.

* Badmouth the art in the show, and then tell whomever you're talking to how you would have handled it better.

* Whip out your cell phone and start showing people images of your latest art, especially if you're talking to the gallery owner or the artist.

* Pull a piece of your art out of your backpack and start showing it to people, especially to the gallery owner or the artist.

Behavioral blunders for everyone:

* Act like you're at a party and completely ignore anything having to do with the artist, the art or the business of running a gallery.

* Introduce yourself to the artist and then talk to them for as long as possible even though you have no intention of buying any art.

 * Introduce yourself to the gallery owner and then talk to them for as long as possible even though you have no intention of buying any art.

* If you represent or sell a product or service for artists, talk to the artist like you really care about their art and then when they least expect it, try to sell them that product or service. Do the same with the gallery owner.

* If you already know the artist or gallery owner, talk with them for as long as possible about things you can discuss anytime and anywhere.

* Tell gallery owner you really like a particular piece of art, ask them to put it on hold for you, and then wait a week or two before telling them you've decided you're not really interested.

* Tell the gallery owner you don't really like anything in the show and that you want to visit the artist at their studio to see whether they have anything there you might like more.

* Tell people the artist's art you bought three years ago is better than anything at the show and only cost half as much.

* Stand in front of a single piece of art with your friends and talk for half an hour straight without ever moving or even thinking about occasionally checking to see whether you're blocking anyone's view. Or stand near or preferably in an entranceway, doorway, hallway or narrow passageway with your friends and talk for half an hour straight without ever moving or thinking that you might possibly be blocking access or impeding the flow of traffic.

* Wander into the gallery's back room or storage area and start sifting through their art.

* Even though the catalogue for the gallery show is clearly priced and for sale at the front desk or counter, act like you have no idea and just take one. (Or, take some of the artist's prints on display assuming they are free promotional materials - N.V.)

* If someone is trying to get by you or around you, completely ignore them, stay right where you are and keep talking to your friends.

* The instant you arrive, head straight to the food and drink area and stand there eating and talking. Don't worry about blocking other people's access.

* Have no intention of buying any art or contributing in any way to the opening event, but consume as much food and drink as you can. If possible, act like you haven't eaten in a week.

* Complain about the quality or brand of FREE beer, wine or liquor that's being served.

* If hors d'oeuvres are being served, stand as close as possible to the staging area so you can serve yourself first as soon as any new food comes out.

* Set your empty wine glass down on a pedestal with art on it. Better yet, set it down while it still has wine in it.

* Hit on anyone you find even mildly attractive.

* Touch the art.

* Get drunk. Better yet, arrive drunk.

 

 

Open Studios at The San Francisco Shipyard

Please join me and 150 other Shipyard artists Saturday, October 17th and Sunday, October 18th from 11AM-6PM for Open Studios at America's largest artist colony. There will be food trucks, music, artist demos, a wine/beer garden, kid's activities, and even free parking. And of course art!

Stop by Building 115 and come say hello!

Salman Rushdie on Creativity

I recently listened to a great interview with author Salman Rushdie about creativity. I felt there were many parallels between his writing process and painting. He said the most difficult thing in writing is that the writing should not look difficult. This reminded me of Robert Henri’s advice about how painting should always look as if they were done with ease. Rushdie talked about how he tried to figure out why everyone hated his first book, which I felt was similar to keeping a bad painting and studying it to figure out why it is bad. My favorite part of the interview is Rushdie’s explanation about how publishing is similar to being naked in public. Below is an abbreviated transcript of the interview.

DESCRIBE YOUR WRITING PROCESS

I’ve always had told myself simply to treat it like a nine to five job. If you have a job, you just go and do it. It doesn’t matter whether you’re feeling good that day. If you’re a carpenter, you make your table. I don’t think that writers and creative artists can afford to wait for Julius to descend, or inspiration to descend. You have to just sit there and make yourself do it. That is a discipline that I really have developed. I can sit down at my desk every day and do my day’s work. I just do not give myself permission not to do it. And once your mind understands that it has no excuses, it’s remarkable how it begins to play along.

WHAT IS THE HARDEST PART ABOUT WRITING?

Bringing human beings to life on the page is a difficult thing. What’s most difficult about it is that it should not feel difficult to the reader– in order to create a living person on the page, which the reader and read and immediately recognize as that particular kind of living person– that’s really hard. The art that conceals art. A writer should have some interesting relationship with the English language, or whatever language they’re writing. That relationship changes over time. There are things that you do with language at one point in your life, and then you begin to feel that you’ve done that enough. You want to find new voices, new styles, new manners.

That constant wrestling match with the language is one of the best things about the job. I’m making it sound like it’s only hard work. It’s not. It’s actually the most enjoyable thing I could think of doing. I think that the moment at which I’m happiest in my life is when I’m writing a book, and I can feel that it’s working.

YOU SAID YOU DREAD PUBLISHING. WHY?

When you write, you fool yourself into thinking that what you’re doing is a private act, because you’re alone in a room. Nobody else is reading what you do. Three times it’s taken five years to write a book. All that time, it feels like something that is just privately yours, and nobody else’s. Then along comes publication. This thing that you thought of as a private act is actually an extremely public act. It’s very naked. People get to say what they think of you. It’s like I’m dressing in public.

YOUR FIRST BOOK WAS NOT WELL RECEIVED. WHAT MADE YOU KEEP AT IT?

One of the things that makes a writer a writer is that it’s something he really needs to do. It’s not just a choice of a job or a career. It really is in the old fashioned sense of a calling. It’s a vocation. Writing speaks to something very deep inside the person doing it. And it’s necessary. It’s necessary to the writer.

HOW DID YOU RESPOND TO CRITICISM?

Anybody who claims that they don’t care is probably lying. It was very upsetting. It was very shocking to me when my first book came out and was received unkindly. And very pleasing to me, by the way, that that book is still in print, and doing quite well, and that people seem to like it. You know, you lose the short game, but you win the long game sometimes.

But it was very shocking, and it was actually very helpful to me. Because what it did, after I got over the shock, was made me question, all over again, what I thought about writing and how to go about it. What did I think was wrong with that book? Never mind what the critics thought was wrong with it, what did I think was wrong with it. And it really made me go back and re-examine everything about my writing, and, if you like, start again in a different way.

You can read the full transcript or listen to the interview in its entirety here.

 

Open Studios - 4/25 & 4/26

Please join me Saturday, April 25th and Sunday, April 26th from 11AM - 6PM for Spring Open Studios at Hunter's Point Shipyard. I will be showing new work, and about 150 other artists will also be opening up their studio doors. There will also be food trucks, a beer garden, artist demos, and free onsite parking. Click here for directions. 

Staring at a Blank Canvas

Starting a blank canvas can be refreshing. It is sometimes a great feeling. It means that you have just finished yet another painting, and you have therefore accomplished something. Yet staring at a blank canvas can also be intimidating, frustrating, and self-deprecating.

Last week I went to my studio after an almost weeklong absence that included moving apartments and working as a production assistant on a film. I was excited to paint. I miss my studio when I am gone for more than two days. I would not waste time staring at a blank canvas because I knew exactly how I wanted my new painting to look. It would be a girl sitting in the back seat of a car painted in black and white. I had been thinking of this image for a while. Yet then I hesitated, thinking it might look better in a different palette. I thought about the chrome filter on my iPhone camera app, a Degas painting I had seen years ago at Musee d’Orsay, and this painting of a woman in a tub that I saw at the Fog Fair. I want to paint like that, not in black and white. 

Le tub by Edgar Degas (1886) 

Le tub by Edgar Degas (1886) 

I wanted to paint, but I was scared of making the wrong move. I was scared I will waste time and money and, even worse, the outcome will be bad. I did the worse thing possible: nothing. I couldn't paint. I needed time to think about it. 

This is one of the frustrating and time consuming things about being an artist, especially a painter. I feel like I have been painting long enough that I shouldn't have such hesitancy and doubt about my work. But I do. I tell people that I am an artist when people ask me what I do. It makes me feel like I am professional, regardless of how many or how few sales I have had this month. It is my title. Consuming my thoughts with doubt about my talents feels failure. 

I am normally pretty confident. Yet that can change the second I enter my studio and am staring at a blank canvas. When you paint, you are incredibly vulnerable and you open yourself up to criticism. You are going to be judged. You do not want to make the wrong move. 

I tell myself that with the more paintings I paint, the better I will get. I tell myself to just start painting. This self-doubt will go away.

I don't paint. Instead, I clean up my studio, write down some ideas, and read a post on Artsy about Hong Kong. Eventually, the voices of self-doubt and criticism in my head stop. I paint, and the time goes by fast. I paint, and you know what? It's not that bad after all. 

 

James Turrell in Las Vegas

I can't believe I:

1) went to Las Vegas,

2) saw one of the most amazing works of art I have ever seen,

3) and this was not a museum or even a gallery, but at a mall.

Hidden inside the fourth floor of an enormous Louis Vuitton store is an art installation by the contemporary artist James Turrell. Turrell creates installations using variations of natural, artificial, and colored light that alter our perceptions of reality. As Turrell explains, "I am interested in the physicality of light and feeling its physicality in my work. I like the psychological impact and emotional impact of light and color."

James Turrell's work is rooted in the study of psychology and light. His expansive career includes creating "sky spaces" by excavating a crater in the Painted Desert (called Roden Crater), and last year he transformed the rotunda of the Guggenheim Museum by immersing the interior with a combination of natural and artificial light. 

"I didn't want to use light as we normally use it, that is to illuminate other things - I was interested in the thingness of light itself, so the light became the revelation." - James Turrell

"I didn't want to use light as we normally use it, that is to illuminate other things - I was interested in the thingness of light itself, so the light became the revelation." - James Turrell

Seeing (or rather experiencing) his artwork is difficult to articulate. We see light, yet we also experience light with our body and mind, and it is this concept that Turrell's work articulates. As the artist explains:

"Light goes into the skin. From that we make Vitamin D, so we are literally light eaters; it's part of our diet."

In Las Vegas at the Louis Vuitton store at the City Center, Turrell has created an indoor installation using a "ganzfeld effect" - a visual sensory encounter altering perception through light and space.

Seeing Turrell's Las Vegas work is free, but an appointment is required. When you go to your appointment at the clothing store, you are taken up an elevator to the fourth floor. The dimly lit chamber you enter from the elevator has black walls in order to adjust your eyes for what you are about to experience.

The incredibly friendly and knowledgeable Louis Vuitton staff then offer you a Perrier, have you sign a three page waiver, and explain the artwork and artist to you. You learn how the name of the work, "Akhob", is derivative from the Egyptian word for "pure water." 

Next you are taken to a room and told to take your shoes off and put disposable shoe covers on your bare feet. It's odd, but the reasoning soon becomes evident. You then walk up several steps towards a white dome shaped structure with a large opening. 

When you stand at the top of the stairs, you see that the cavernous space leads to another large room. The walls and ceilings of this 1,200 square foot space are pristine and white - there are no smudges or evidence that anyone has set foot in here before you. You are accompanied by two staff, and one of the girls walks you to the end of the second chamber. She walks to what is presumably the end of the second chamber and explains that you are not to walk past her because there is a six foot drop and in addition to falling, you will also trigger an alarm. You cannot see the edge. She also tells you to remember that the back wall where you entered does not change colors. At this moment, the wall looks emerald green.

What happens next is a twenty minute sequence of lights that alters your perception of space and vision. It's hallucinatory and surreal. The sequence starts off as pink, then red and orange and goes through a myriad of colors. My friend Helen and I stood there, quietly observing. It was serene. Talking seemed inappropriate, almost like we were at church. I looked through the first chamber towards the back wall which was once green, and it had turned now brown. The two chambers were designed to mimic the shape of our eyes, and this is evident when standing towards the edge of the second room. Helen's face looked orange. The Louis Vuitton guide who was wearing all white now looked purple, almost ultraviolet. Then blue. Everything around me kept changing. Different waves of colors appear and disappear, bathing the entire space with its intangible presence.

Photo courtesy of Louis Vuitton.

Photo courtesy of Louis Vuitton.

One of the best things about this artwork is its intimacy. Appointments are limited to six people at a time. It is also not a highly publicized exhibition. I learned about it through word of mouth, and the clandestine nature plus the exclusivity of it being in a luxury store adds to the experience. 

The second thing I really like about this and all of Turrell's work is its simplicity. This work needs no explanation. You do not necessarily need to know about Turrell's background in order to appreciate this work. Too often, contemporary art needs to be placed in a context and explained to us. Art can be intimidating. Yet with Turrell, we can enjoy this work whether we have our doctorate in art history or no prior knowledge of the artist. My experience is just as validated and as meaningful as my friend's who accompanied me, and she had never heard of the artist. 

In addition to excavating volcanos, Turrell has also had major exhibitions at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art; the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York; the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; and Kayne Griffin Corcoran in Los Angeles. You can see more of his work here.

To visit James Turrell's Akhob, call (702) 730-3150.

You can read more about the art collection at the CityCenter Shopping Center in Las Vegas here.

Conversation with Artist Dominique Caron

I had the pleasure of recently speaking with the French artist Dominique Caron. Her paintings evoke the gestural force of abstract expressionism, yet her work is incredibly refined. She makes abstract painting look easy. Controlling such chaos is very difficult. Her paintings seem to sing like a Kandinsky work does.

Dominique always painted but her art career started in San Francisco. She was born in France, then spent her 20s living in Africa. Returning to France after being abroad seemed unthinkable, and so she moved to the Bay Area. In California, she started making tribal masks like the ones she had seen in Africa. They were soon being sold in galleries. I was interested in speaking with her not so much about her work, but about her path to becoming a successful artist. I wanted to know what advice she might have for young artists wanting to pursue art as a full time career. Here are some highlights from our conversation and you can seen her work here

Think of yourself as a businesswoman. You are running a business. 

Network network network.

Reinvest 10-15% of your profit back into your business.

Emails are ok, but printed cards are better. People will delete emails but keep cards. 

Work big and do not make prints.

Never mark your work down, ie put "sale" next to a price. It cheapens your artwork.

It is better to price your work a little low than have it be overpriced.

The return on showing at cafes and non-gallery venues is very low.

Buy canvases in packs of twenty. Make a lot of work. Two out of ten paintings will sell so make fifty.

If you have an idea or something that you are passionate about, express it. You can work in different themes.

Work on several paintings at once.

Make a budget. 

There is a lot of competition, but a lot of people are not really good. 

If you have to get a job in the beginning, get a job in the arts.

FOG Design + Art Fair

I did not have high expectations for this past weekend's art fair in San Francisco. There are too many art fairs, and I therefore expected the quality of work presented would be mediocre at best. I was quite pleasantly surprised at what I saw. The emphasis of the work shown was on process, such as Hiroshi Sugimoto's photos made from electricity, Etsuko's Ichikawa's "pyrograph" paintings made by melting glass over paper, and Dustin Yellin's collages of intricately cut images layered in glass which recall a modernized Heironymus Bosch. One of show's highlights was a video by the artist Jim Campbell, who coded LED lights to mimic video of traffic and the result was shown behind a block of frosted glass. It had the same mesmerizing aesthetic beauty of a James Turrell but animated. The fair, however, was not technology heavy and there was a solid balance between photography, painting, and design. There were some unfamiliar works by heavyweight artists Wayne Thiebaud and Julie Mehretu (the latter who was just awarded the U.S. Department of State's Medal of Arts). Here are some of the highlights:

How did you do that? Mixed Media works explained

This post explains the method I use for creating the mixed media works.

I take a lot of pictures. I take photos with my phone when I am walking or driving, and I see something that I know intuitively will work well as a painting.

When I start a painting, I go through all of my photos and choose one. I edit and crop the picture on my computer so it will fit on the canvas the way I want it to. I do this process for all of my works, not only for the mixed media works. I like tweaking photos to maximize the effect that I want the painting to have. Here is an example of a painting I did where I spent a lot time finding the "perfect" edit. I wanted the figure to be slightly off center so the folds in her robe would be emphasized. I like having figures slightly cropped so their bodies are pushing off the edge of the canvas, thus not revealing all of the figure. I think this creates a little bit of tension and therefore makes for better composition.

Once I have the perfect photo, I do a line drawing of it on an 11x14" sheet of acetate, which is the same thing as a clear transparency. I use the Sakura Pigma Micron pens in sizes 1 and 3.

When viewed as a photograph on the web, most people ask me if the work is a watercolor. These paintings are difficult to photograph because of the glass like reflection the acetate creates. Here you can see three different photos of the same painting photographed under different light as to minimize the reflection.

It is a long process because of the many steps involved. It usually takes around 3 hours for me to do the drawing, sometimes longer, and then about 10-20 additional hours for the painting; this in addition to taking the photo and spending anywhere from 30 minutes to two hours editing the photo. Sometimes I obsess over a tiny area and spend a lot of time trying to get the color and movement of the paint perfect on both the acetate and the paper. My goal is for the work to look effortless, but this is created by intense scrutiny and constantly reworking the paint. I recently did a painting of Chicago only to find that the painting on paper did not look right. It looked okay, but the "feeling" that I wanted the painting to have was not there. I could not figure out how to make it look better, so I redid the entire painting on paper.