Permission obtained from both Kenneth Lo and Francesca Pastine

Since virtual life has been on my mind lately, I figured looking at social networking was apropos to the overall discussion. Quite honestly, it’s impossible to see, know, and experience the entire virtual world. It’s constantly expanding and growing and at such a rapid pace. Like others, it’s much more realistic to read and follow sites and/or blogs that hold one’s interest. Some time ago, I wrote the post, Paying my Respects to Kenneth Lo. He’s a phenomenal Bay Area artist and I’m a huge fan of his work. His Facebook statues regarding the arts (amongst other updates) are always these pearls of wisdom and truth so I couldn’t help but share one of his many witty updates. Although he has no intention of stirring emotions, his eloquent points always draw friends into a discussion (via comment thread) filled with humor and candor. Last week, he posted the status, “Sorry, this is rather bitchy of me, but it’s so very disheartening to see work that gets shown and celebrated, and think it to be so much gratuitous drivel.” I agree but it takes a brave soul to bring up such a point. When one feels compelled to re-visit an artist work over and over again it’s because the work resonates, which is a great thing! This happens all the time with music, film, performance art, etc. Yet, bad art (whatever that means to you) does exist. Being the die-hard optimist, I’ve said time and time again that the negative is just as valuable as the positive. Believe it or not, there is art I don’t like or don’t value (personally) BUT I try to understand its message or lack thereof to better understand my own notions and ideas of art.

Bottom line: Art criticism and dialogue is imperative for its growth and evolution to take place.

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.

Hello Dear Readers, Art Lovers, Art Makers, Art Writers…well, Everyone…Hello, Hello

I want to follow in the same vein as James Lipton and ask similar questions to artists. I figured it would be a great way for both Art Lovers and those interested in Art a peek into the Artist’s studio life and philosophy. In turn, I want to provide artists with more exposure as well. Making connections for everyone, essentially. It works both ways and I’m really happy talented and funny artist and recent San Francisco Art Institute MFA graduate, Megan Wynne, decided to be my first artist to answer the Art 10 – Inside the Artist’s Studio questions! Thanks again, Megan!

Questions and Comments are certainly welcome! Enjoy this first installment!

* * * * * * * * * *

Art 10

1. What is your favorite (art) word?

This may be a boring answer, but I like the word “aesthetic”. I like the sound, the way it rolls off the tongue, and the spelling of it, the “a-e” thing. I also love the word “visceral” even though its not technically an art word alone, I use it a lot when talking about the gut response to a piece of art. It relates to my present body of work, “viscera”.

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

I’m going to have to go with two words on this one because it ruins one of my favorite words, “relational aesthetics”. I find the term irritating and too esoteric.

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

Its usually my interest in learning about the subject matter I’m addressing in the work, the research aspect to the process.

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

When I start to feel like I’m going to fall asleep or vomit. Its always a physical reaction/symptom that tells me I need a break. As far as completing a piece is concerned, I never really feel like my work is ever finished.

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

Its not so much words, but I often like it the best when people laugh when they look at my work. My work isn’t only supposed to be funny but its nice when they get the joke.

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

Once I was at the SFMOMA and a father who was holding is little boy came up to Duchamp’s Fountain and loudly said “Now that’s art” as sarcastically as possible. He acted like he was addressing his son, like it was some absurd art lesson he was giving him, but the joke was really intended for me to overhear, as I was also looking at the piece at the same time. He thought he was so funny. I believe we are all entitled to our own opinions about artwork, but it was irritating that the guy presumed that anyone else within hearing range of his voice would obviously have the same opinion as he did.

7. What is your favorite curse word?

The present participle of the “F” word.

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

Surgeon.

9. What profession would you not like to do?

Nurse – they seem to have to do all the hard stuff.

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

I’m not mad at you for being an atheist.

You can learn more about Megan’s work by visiting her website.