What’s the biggest compliment (ever)?

Having your mentor say some really wonderful things about you. ūüôā

Visual artist, Jenifer Wofford, was interviewed by artist and founder of Art of Hustle, Anthem Salgado a couple of months ago. Jenifer has been my mentor for the past few years and its been an incredible experience. Not only did she let me in on her art practice, experiences, knowledge-sharing about the art community, she helped me see my potential and all the possibilities around art writing and becoming an active member of the art community. Naturally, listening to the podcast, I was ridiculously honored when she mentioned our mentoring relationship during her interview and said some flattering things about me. It was such a phenomenal feeling.

Aside from Jenifer’s kind words and wisdom, once again, she introduced me to an invaluable resource – Anthem Salgado. I highly recommend you listen to his podcasts, read his posts, and access him via Twitter/RSS/Facebook ESPECIALLY if you’re an artist. Art of Hustle is fantastic and very much needed!!

To learn more about Jenifer Wofford’s work, click here to view her art portfolio and CV and here for her custom illustration and design site.

Click on the image below to visit Art of Hustle


Bye Bye Kitty!!! Between Heaven and Hell in Contemporary Japanese Art Exhibition at Japan Society

In a densely urbanized, highly stratified society situated in the heart of an earthquake zone, the fear that the worst could easily happen lies at the back of many minds. ~David Elliott, Independent Curator

The past week has been a sobering reminder of nature’s¬†uncontrollable force. As much as we would like to understand it, whether it be through science or art;¬†the fact still remains that it is unpredictable as it is powerful.¬†Yet, the human spirit is resilient and reflective¬†on how such a catastrophe¬†forces the best human qualities to surface and assist in efforts to connect and re-build. The¬†Bye Bye Kitty!!! Between Heaven and Hell in Contemporary Japanese Art¬†exhibition at the Japan Society in New York is a timely show that provides those of us miles away from the devastation a look into both the culture as well as the country’s psyche. In the desire to understand other¬†human beings,¬†the hope is that¬†we better understand ourselves in order to provide authentic and present engagement. ¬†¬†

One of my favorite New York Times art writers, Holland Cotter, published an art review titled, Anxiety on the Fault Line, regarding the Bye Bye Kitty!!! show. It is, certainly, worth the read.

Oil Rig, gelatin transfer print, Day 1 by Elyse Hochstadt
Oil Rig, gelatin transfer print, 4 Weeks Later by Elyse Hochstadt













If you’re familiar with some of my earlier posts, you would know one of my art crushes is¬†Elyse Hochstadt.

I’ve been following Ms. Hochstadt’s work and happy to report that she will be showing work at¬†Root Division¬†at the Manufactured Organic show! Much of her recent work focuses heavily on materiality and immateriality. The beauty lies in the fact that much of her work takes patience due to the material transforming and morphing into an artifact. If you are free on the Saturday, March 12 from 7-10 pm, please show your support.

Art School Confidential by Daniel Clowes

Don’t have unrealistic expectations. If you wanna make money, you better drop out right now and go to banking school, or web site school, anywhere but art school. And remember, only 1 out of 100 of you will ever make a living as an artist. ~Professor Sandiford, Art School Confidential (played by John Malkovich)

The aforementioned quote from movie, Art School Confidential, had me laughing¬†but remember what Freud said about jokes, there’s a¬†smidgen of truth in them. Talk about artists swimming upstream! It’s no wonder artists struggle both individually and within a community. With the artist’s plight in mind, I couldn’t help but think of depictions of the artist’s temperament. Many adjectives describe artists; genius, edgy, quirky, eccentric, abstract, literal, narrative, conceptual, derivative, and the list goes on. Artists (including art professors and professionals) aren’t spared from stereotypes. I told you the obvious, I know. We’re all subjected to looking at the world through a Gestalt¬†lens¬†to help¬†organize our experiences and knowledge and the art world¬†certainly doesn’t¬†elude categorization (as much as it may want or like to).¬†Music, books, and film have all showcased different impressions of artists, art professors, and professionals. Confinement to the couch the past couple of days had me¬†bundled up and watching movies to pass the time.¬†Woody Allen‘s Vicky Christina Barcelona and Art School Confidential directed by Terry Zwigoff¬†based on Daniel Clowes work provide interpretations and stereotypes of the artist’s mind.

In examining others (whether through real life tales¬†or a¬†fictitious stories), inevitably,¬†we examine ourselves. Who doesn’t? The instances I find myself being judgmental; often times, I either want what is not presently in my life (that which I’m seeing, reading, or listening to – the inevitable act of comparing) or I see aspects of myself I¬†don’t particularly like. In Vicky Christina, Juan Antonio and Maria Elena are a carefree, highly sensitive, romantic, volatile, and poetic couple while Art School Confidential transforms comic book representations of art school archetypes but falls flat. Both are pretty extreme in their depictions. Sadly, I wish Art School Confidential wasn’t made into a film. When brought to life, the characters were just as two-dimensional¬†(if not more)¬†than the actual comic from which they were derived from. Unlike Daniel Clowes other graphic novel film adaptation, Ghostworld;¬†Art School Confidential couldn’t mimic the richness¬†and versimilitude¬†of Enid (main character from Ghostworld). Even the stereotypes¬†seemed over the top but I’m glad I watched it. As for Woody Allen, I hope he knows not all artists look as hot as Javier Bardem¬†and Penelope Cruz, that drinking and smoking in bars is a ridiculously romanticized view, and artists aren’t all that tortured and polyamorous (well…maybe, in some instances, he may be right). Honestly, I loved Annie Hall way more. Artists¬†and the¬†art world aren’t that inaccessible and exclusive. Far from it!¬†Then again, who wants to watch a movie filled with artists that get along and make a good living (why am I the only one raising my hand here!!).

I’m tired and quite frankly I want to go to sleep.

Now that I’ve got that thought out of the way, let me write a little something before I lay my head down. Who needs sleep anyway? I mean, really!

I was painting as a young artist and mostly I was painting these clouds and one day, sitting and painting looking in the sky, I saw twelve military planes passing by and they made these incredible drawings in the sky. I look at them and I said, God, you know, it’s ridiculous. I’m painting these paintings that are so two dimensional…So after that, I stopped painting…I can use any material I want. Fire, water, and the body. The moment I started using the body, there was an enormous satisfaction that I had. That I could communicate with the public…I could never go back to the seclusion of the studio…the only way of expression is to perform.

~Marina Abramovic, Excerpt from her MOMA interview regarding her piece, The Artist is Present

I think one of the many reasons I’m looking at Abramovic’s work, lately, is due to the fact that I’m trying to draw correlations between her and the work of Guillermo Gomez Pena and his performance troupe, La Postra Nostra. Both artists have travelled the world performing art (different from conceptual art, which¬†deals more with materiality). Performance art deals, predominantly, with the body. Deep down inside, I’m a two dimensional artist but, recently, I have paid close attention to performance art because it does something that many art forms are unable to do – engage the public, physically. It calls for immediate presence and attention. It also draws the viewer into a unique experience that becomes a part of a moment versus something that can be relived (everyday) on a much more ocular level (i.e., paintings, sculptures, etc.). Performance art is not something you can collect, per se, but it is something that finds its way through our subconscious and provokes the mind to re-interpret life. It also gives you the option to participate, which is something I’ll touch upon when I gather my final thoughts about the Corpo Ilicito show.

Speaking of participatory art, for your reading pleasure, an interesting read about participatory art by Christine Wong Yap, Bay Area Artist. Enjoy!

This week’s artist is Pete Ippel. Artist and Athlete. You may think to yourself, “Is that really possible?” Yes, it is folks. He’s also quite the prolific artist with art work that stimulates both the physical as well as the cerebral.

Let’s get to the fun stuff – his answers to the Art 10 questions…

* * * * * * * * * *

1. What is your favorite (art) word?

My favorite word to say is Huitzilopochtli. The word refers to an Aztec god of war and the sun, patron of Tenochtitlan, and is translated as “Left-Handed Hummingbird”.

Regarding (art) words, I spoke about their relationship with works of art on a “Mediation on Networks” with Stretcher.org back in 2004. http://vimeo.com/8445137 Starting at 3:59 I challenge artists to stop utilizing the standard (art) words to be more like sportscasters…coining new terms to describe new art. ¬† I feel that (art) words are lacking in that they are staid and rarely get revised. It’s time to let those (art) words die and blaze some new trail.

2. What is your least favorite (art) words?

Juxtapose it is simply over-used.

3. What keeps you going when you’re in the studio?

I have a very disciplined practice that spans a variety of materials and locations.¬† I make something or learn something new every day.¬† I’m very good at “locking it down” when I need execute a task by a self-imposed deadline.¬† I’ve had great success drawing on my experiences as an athlete and a researcher.¬† I utilize methods of iteration so as an artist, I’m never bored.¬† My studio is free from distractions, I live quite simply.¬† I enjoy keeping the windows open and listening to music while I work.

4. When do you know you’re done in the studio?

I’m very sensitive to my body and often push it to the limit.¬† To regain focus I take a break every day at 1pm will take time for a walk or bike ride outside.¬† Often I can get a second wind by drinking green tea, taking a 20 min nap, and having a snack. I’m done in the studio when I lack efficiency, typically indicated by falling asleep at my desk.¬† If I need to keep working when I wake up, I will set multiple alarms and sleep for a few hours (typically in 3 hour cycles) and get back to the task at hand.¬† This has been my sleep schedule since I was 18.

5. What words do you love to hear at an art show (your show or any show)?

I enjoy hearing people discuss the work by talking about what they see and how it relates to them.¬† I especially enjoy hearing individuals explain context and intent to their friends when they are with someone who “isn’t an art person”. The occasional “WOW, I want that in my home.” is nice too.

6. What words do you hate to hear at an art show (your show or any show)?

“My kid could do that.”¬† To me it is a cop out and a refusal to invest or to look at work more critically.¬† Rarely do the people who say those words consider intent or context – even if their child could execute the¬† same brush strokes etc.

7. What is your favorite curse word?

I made a project about taboo words as an undergraduate.¬† At the time I was exploring how there’s so many slang terms to describe something that is socially restricted.¬† If you think of your index finger, you’ve got a few options, digit or phalange…now if you take something like vomit or poo, you can think of ten euphemisms straight away.

As for a favorite curse word, I’m not particular and use what is appropriate for the situation…I am reminded of the influence of the Conan O’Brien show I saw when I was in high school.¬† He was trying to figure out how to dodge censors, so he opted for¬†KRUNK as the new curse…This goes along with question 1.¬† See the video here¬† starting at 4:50 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YrzqaA3w0cA

8. What profession other than being an artist would you like to attempt?

I’m an aspiring philanthropist and I’ve set some of the financial wheels in motion for that to happen.

9. What profession would you not like to do?

I’ve not considered this too much, as I focus on what I like to do…I think it would be pretty tough to be the person who gives a lethal injection or flips the switch on the electric chair…

10. If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates?

“Heya Pete, nice job down there.” *insert fist bump here*

You can learn more about Pete’s work by visiting his¬†website AND¬†blog.