The Master's Tools (decay goes both ways), 2008

I’ll write a little something today but not very long due to yesterday’s post on my impressions of the current exhibition, It’s All a Blur, at the SomArts Cultural Center. THAT, my friends, was A LOT.

Instead, I’ll recommend reading my dear friend, L.J. Roberts, interview with the Social Media Management for Contemporary Art organization. It’s a fantastic interview. LJ discusses her art practice, a ‘love affair’ with New York, and her thoughts regarding censorship in the arts (specifically the work of David Wojnarowicz being removed from the Smithsonian)! 

Great interview!!! Please click here to read the full interview!


Portrait of George I by Elyse Hochstadt, Courtesy of the Artist

With the valiant effort of keeping with my “art diary” format and writing as much as possible in the new year (every day to be exact), I figured it would be nice to write about a Bay Area artist. I’m hoping to learn more about her work as well as her processes as the year progresses. There will be more, I can promise you that, dear reader. For now though, I’m just spinning my wheels and getting the juices flowing. So, let me begin today’s entry…

As an adult, I’m much more fascinated with fairy tales and their allegorical meanings than ever before. Today, I had the opportunity to sit down with artist, Elyse Hochstadt, to discuss her art work. During our conversation, I was drawn to Portrait of George I instantly. Hochstadt mentioned her affinity to Grimm’s Fairy Tales as we talked about some sources from which she draws inspiration. Intrigued by her fascination, I couldn’t help but read through some of the various stories (i.e., The Wild Swans, The Juniper Tree, etc.) when I got home. Recalling my experience of seeing Portrait of George I, it was both a visual and physical representation of a fairy tale. Although a chair has a function and purpose in daily life, there is a repurposing of the ordinary into something extraordinary with this piece. It is enigmatic and magical. At first glance, there is a sense of wonder and fear as if the chair were to suddenly come alive to the touch. The illusion that what you are seeing in space must become something other than what it actually is, which is a well crafted piece of art work with carefully placed feathers using the chair as a base for the overall structure. However, the organic form offers no hard lines other than the wooden legs visible at the very bottom of the piece. It’s a mirage of sorts that welcomes your own interpretation and re-working of your mythologies.

This is just a mere introduction. More thoughts to come…

Contemplating all the next steps for the new year...

Dear Friends and Family,

Surprisingly, writing on my art blog everyday is not a resolution for 2011!

Rather, I’ve decided to form a habit. It’s been said that it takes up to 6 weeks (to form a habit, that is) so here’s my shot at writing, publicly, in 2011! How is this different from a resolution, you ask? It’s different in that I have no idea where this experiment will take me and it’s a habit (very rarely is a ‘resolution’ synonymous with a habit). I’m also up for challenging myself and getting my thoughts out there versus having them become stale rock hard thoughts that weigh me down. The promise is more to myself than anything or anyone else. I WILL write (a sentence, a paragraph, an essay) everyday about one of my passions, the deepest passion, which is Art – EVERYDAY. Yes, I said it, EVERYDAY!

This will not be easy and some days, I may just throw a word on my blog and not care BUT I’m trying to make my voice known and heard in the arts community so I’m starting the habit today!! I will also be making use of TheDailyPost, a community of other bloggers with similar goals.

If you’re a friend or family member reading this blog, I highly encourage you to leave comments and/or questions. I could always use the feedback, support, guidance, and constructive criticism! Cheers to a new year and, hopefully, a lot of new wonderful art projects and writing opportunities!

Hearts and stars and monkey bars,

Dorothy (aka E/IC Art Lover)

Book cover for Garage Biennale
The first show I attended at the Garage - "I Walked Through Seven Sad Forests"

Art is supposed to be an experience.

Don’t you think? Well, I do.

These days, it’s not enough for me to look at something on a canvas or a neatly stacked collection of combs (okay, so if it’s Sonya Clark, I know the combs are ridiculously magnificent looking and rife with cultural subtext and history. Yes, I love her work but I just digressed, big surprise).

In any case, I said it and I’ll say it again. It’s NOT enough to just look at something for sheer retinal pleasure. As much appreciation and adoration I have for traditional art, there is something incredibly valuable about contemporary art in the conceptual realm. In particular, art pieces that are fleeting and ephemeral involve this excitement and wonder. The temporality of the Garage performances and exhibitions asked only one thing of its patrons – to be present. For those that wonder, “What good would a book about events I never attended and/or will never happen again do for me?” The answer: It’s a part of history. The loss of the moment. The loss of the opportunity. The loss of the time spent watching. The loss of an experience.

“Being temporary is being human, but so is longing for permanence. However, impermanence is our nature, and once we embrace it we can forget about loss and failure. Decisions then come with clarity and alacrity. This is the beauty of temporality: you learn that, sometimes, through loss is the only way.” ~Justin Hoover

Being an avid supporter of alternative art spaces, Justin Hoover‘s book, Garage Biennale serves as a wonderful chronicle of a truly alternative and experimental art space in San Francisco. I remember first learning about the Garage and utterly fascinated how one went about creating a gallery space that was simultaneously public and private. The dichotomy alone intrigued me and I considered myself a patron when I viewed my first show, “I Walked Through Seven Sad Forests”. It was the first art show I ever wrote about, actually. I always wanted to write about art but I never thought that this Garage would have been the impetus for that aspiration.

I owe a lot to the Garage and Mr. Justin Hoover…thank you, my friend!

This is a follow up post to the Art 10 Q & A.

Please view this great video of how Pete created his work, Gender Resolution.

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 back in 2004. 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

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.