Oranje 2010 To Take Submissions Starting Thursday

Just announced a bit earlier by Oranje on Facebook is that submissions for this year’s Oranje event will begin Thursday. Oranje is one of, it not the biggest art events in Indianapolis/Indiana. My experiences with it last year did a lot to reinvigorate my own drive, and I set getting into this year’s as a goal before I’d made it through the second floor last year.

So, obviously I’ll be submitting myself for it, and working hard to be manning a booth there this year. I’ve got new series (painting, photo, and mixed works) that will be done by the September 18th date, and I’d like to be able to premiere a few of them at an event with the scope of Oranje.

Wish me luck, and all you other artists reading this in the Indy area, get off your duffs and give me competition for those booth spots.

Categories: the arts and artists  

Get Your Cameras Out, Photo Walkabout Returns

So, it’s about time to fire back up the old Photo Walkabouts. It’s been a long winter, but Indianapolis is shrugging off the cold finally, evenings are longing for some adventures, and my poor E-3 is getting a bit bored. So, it’s time to get back to the grind. Pull out the ole kit and take some pictures. Scrub the rust off my skillz.

So, the next one is Monday, April 5th, at Coxhall Park, Carmel, Indianapolis. Nick and I will be getting there around 6:30pm, and as always everyone is welcome to join us for a few hours of chit-chat, shooting the breeze, and shooting the scenery. Anyone interested in coming who wants to throw in for a model let me know in short order and I can try and get us one. Pretty people rarely hurt photos, I’ve found.

Categories: photo  

Things I Own That You Don’t (Nathan Monk Messenger Bag)

So, I got my messenger bag back from Nathan Monk, who I had asked to raise it from the bland (if still stylish) surplus messenger it was to a one-of-a-kind work of art-cum-laptop tote.

I’d say he succeeded in that endeavor.

It was interesting, and a bit unexpected, to see such a clean ruled and geometric piece from him. But, it is immaculately executed, and utilizes the skyscraper/skyline motif that’s such a recurrence in his works, offset nicely by that organic wisp suggesting clouds. All and all, a very cool piece to have around.

Categories: the arts and artists Tags:  

The Problem With Being Clever

Random thought I just had, but, among the reasons why I stick to traditional media in most of my works is that I feel once you start doing work based on being clever, then you’re only ever as good as your last piece was clever. And boy it’s hard to keep being clever.

Categories: theory and philosophy Tags:  

Thoughts on My First Solo Show, ZmZ Edition

Photo by Jennifer Parker

So, as many of you might be aware, Saturday evening was the closing reception for my show “We Search For Another.” And, it was something of a big deal for me. It was my first solo showing, if you don’t count “…And Sometimes They Opened Galleries,” which you shouldn’t because that was thesis work. And, it was my first proper series of paintings (although to credit my reputation, it didn’t start that way.) So, it was really a lot of impressiveness all around. The show, which was made of 11 pieces (with one not hung), was of course an exploration of the dynamics of relationships, identity, love, abandonment, leaving, yadda yadda. On some level, it was serious stuff.

On the other level, it was me, as many people who paid attention the flippant, sarcastic, or otherwise meta titles commented. Serious stuff is absolutely no time to take yourself seriously.

Naught But An Odd Tree” was a runaway success, though somewhat bittersweet for me (given that it was painted after a fight with my now-ex girlfriend). It was complimented at the reception by the introduction of “Nothing To Say And Everything To Lose,” a fairly sizable piece (pictured there beside me, in prog pics still coming, I promise.) And, I sold a piece, so all’s good there.

Jennifer at MEA was a pleasure to work with, which is something I hope to do more often with the impending return of Grimey Studios. Quite a handful of wonderful people, family and friends, made it out, and thanks to them all for that.

I have mixed thoughts about a restaurant gallery. On the negative side, business has to take precedence, so space, lighting, and foot room are all a bit questionable. On the other hand, the removal of the artwork from the foreground to the background leads to people spending way more time staring at it (I know I’m guilty of cruising through galleries, but I can spend a half hour drinking a good beer.) And that’s good, good art you have to live with and it unfolds a bit for you. Thanks Scott, for teaching me that.

Why do you choose the different mediums you do for the different ideas?

When I was talking with buddy Phil’s brother and his brother’s girlfriend, I mentioned that I was going to spend some more time doing photo, and that I do different work in painting than I do in photo. And, the girlfriend who’s name I have apparently forgotten, had the wherewithal to ask me how it is I choose a different medium, and that seemed worth revisiting.

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Sometimes They Closed Galleries…

My first solo exhibit, We Search For Another closed yesterday. I’ve got shots of the development of the final piece for it, the rather sizable work titled “Nothing to Say and Everything to Lose” that I’ll put up Tuesday, I just realized in my rush to get it to the show I didn’t get a shot of it in its final state. I’ll do a proper write-up on it tomorrow, but for tonight, hey, lookit me there!

C’mon Zed, sulk a bit more, I know you can do it!

Tian Taiquan, The Red Army Graveyard

"Lost No 7", by Tian Taiquan

Working through my backlog of neat art, I found the work of Tian Taiquan. Or, rather, it had been so many months since I bookmarked his show that it wasn’t up any more and I had to go and re-find his work. But, whatever, I’ve got it here now.

I found several series of his work, and most of them revolve around exploring what might be the last Red Army graveyard. I’m not up to speed on my Chinese culture as Cor and Roose might be, and so far the best criticisms I’ve found of Tian’s work are rather badly translated, so I might miss some of the context here, but he apparently works a lot with the concepts of ghosts to try and reconcile the undeniability of what happened and what the graveyard signifies while at the same time speaking to how Chinese culture has a seeming intent to ignore it, to purposefully forget about it. In a refreshing bout of translation lucidity, one critic said of Tian’s work:

He is trying to express a sense of sensibility between the forgotten and the unforgettable, as well as between the forgotten and the recollection.

-Yang Xiaoyan

Stepping more comfortably into what I can grasp, his work often uses photomanipulation to convey figures–typically a young, attractive woman in military garb–in various states of spectrality or dissolution. There’s a feeling of haunted in most of the pieces, and while some push the manipulation too far, many more succeed in creating an atmosphere of nostalgia, and of concern. The series “Lost” features this motif most strongly, while “Marks” absracts the idea of the female figure down to glimpses and fragments melded with the cracked and breaking tombstones. “Totem” apparently explores the re-emergence of sexuality after the Cultural Revolution.

The series “Salvation,” though, strays from the more photomanipulative body of his work into what I’m comfortable calling photo-illustration (a term more loaded now than ever, thanks to online forums and the ongoing war about what a photograph is and isn’t in the digital age). They communicate much more abstractly, and combine photograph elements with a more illustrative flair and nuance.

A good chunk of Tian Taiquan’s work, including all the series above, can be found here (at least as of writing this post):


And, should you want to wade through the iffy translations for some critical insight into his work, find that here (click on Articles in the upper right):


Tonight is the Closing Reception for “We Search For Another”

Tonight is the closing reception for my show, “We Search For Another,” featuring a series of oil painting exploring the aspects of relationships, loss, lust, and more.

I’ll be at Urban Element the full time, from 6-10pm this evening. I’m bringing a surprise for the closing with me, the second largest painting I’ve ever done. There’ll be general lounging, boozing, and ample opportunities to mug me and make me awkwardly discuss the complex themes behind a guy staring at a girl’s butt from 6-8ish.

From 8-10ish we’ll be settling in for some dinner, and MEA requests that you all put in reservations with Urban Element and stay for that bit, because it’s what lets them keep doing shows like mine. So, that’s now my recommendation too, obviously. Lotsa cool kids will be there.

So, don’t miss this chance to come out and see my work, because after this I’ll disappear into my hole for a while. I’ve got a site redesign, a charter, and a few photo series to get done. Bluh. This is the night out, so come out and make it groovy.

Categories: shows Tags: ,  

Bloody Cunt Plug Tea: Just What to Make of the Terry Richardson Noise

So, like the rest of the online art world, I’ve lost a fair amount of time reading recently reading all the different takes on the recent Terry Richardson shitstorm. To recap, it’s on Jezebel, The Gloss, NY Magazine, Conscientious, A Photo Editor, Hearty Magazine, Salon, and The Daily Beast, at the least. So, I won’t recap. If you want things the way I prefer to parse news (one article from each side), hit up the one from The Gloss and the one from The Daily Beast. For your summary, hit up Jezebel, which I hear started it. For criticism, APE and Conscientious remain my picks. For the opinion of this Midwestern artist, read on.

So, let’s start with the fact that I’m not a fashion dude. I like me some pretty girls in skimpy clothing as much as the next dude, maybe more, so the sexuality of fashion photography appeals to me. And the designer in me likes commercial snap, it’s true. But, I’m not often guilty of thinking of fashion photography as art. Some of it is, sure, but as a medium I usually file it as pornography’s more clean-cut brother. So, for instance, I’m not shy about thinking Dov Charney is kinda skeevy. Do I envy him his play and company? I’d be lying to say no. Do I think behavior like that is pretty damaging, unprofessional, and irreprehensible? Hell yes I do.

So, it’ll come as little surprise that I have similar views on Uncle Terry, here. I’m actually a little outraged by the defense of him that goes:

It could be a major shock: one of the magazine world’s most influential photographers, having gotten it on with numerous subjects.

But it wasn’t, first because everyone in fashion knows Terry Richardson, 44, messes around with the girls he photographs, and second because they know it directly from Terry.

-Jacob Bernstein, The Daily Beast.

*Blink* I’m sorry, what? Seriously? What? Where do you even start with how wrong that is? Here’s a clue: taking advantage of people is bad even if you are famous and especially if you’re known for it. If you’re known for it then it means that no one’s had the balls or common sense to point out even if it’s not per se illegal it’s still incredibly sleazy, immoral, and unprofessional. I’m sorry, I’m going to have to say that a reputation for it really doesn’t make it hunky-dory. I’ll grant you any woman who knows this reputation and later balks that she ended up among the tally probably isn’t entirely innocent here. And as much as I love Jamie Peck’s recounting of it, she could have brought an escort or left once Terry got freaky, that much is true. But, at the end of it all, what he does still isn’t right. It’s not.

Again, envious of his play? Who isn’t? But, the man isn’t in porn. Porn has a bit more integrity, I think. The girls are at least there for the same reason as the man with the dick in porn. Bah.

The Idea That Contemporary Art Is Not Good Art

So, part of why I’ve been so quiet lately isn’t that there’s not been art news going on, I’m up to my eyeballs in art news, ideas, things  want to talk about, and exciting artists and their portfolios. But, I’ve been working on getting some details sorted out so I can finally take Grimey Studios, the ever-changing art something I helped start so many years ago, switched over to being a proper NPO. The idea I have, the thing I want to help mitigate, is that in the modern world art, fine art, real art, is suffering. With the rise of digital has come the rise of popular motifs, and a constant demand for a commercial slickness that many mistake as art, and increasingly we’re in a world where art says nothing, means nothing, and where people aren’t educated enough to realize this, nor to understand why art is important when it does.

And, now this is compounded by the slack economy and the simple fact that a lot of younger artists, myself included, can’t always cough up the funds to do the art they want to. We’re beholden to a need to eat, and a lot of us are working crap jobs and selling art way under what it should be demanding just to pay bills. Or, worse, making smaller, emptier, cheaper works of “art” just to sell to a market that isn’t buying. And, I’ve been convinced for a while that’s cheapening us, and it’s not helping art. or, I should say it’s not helping Art. Getting art into the hands of the populace is good, but it should still have some meaning left. I know if I’m painting smaller than 2′x2′ I barely have room for my style to play, more or less to layer meaning into a work. And, I know it’ll be different for everyone, but putting the need to bring money in above the need to develop art is a problem.

And, it was nice to see an article at L Magazine agreeing with me. And, by ‘nice’ I mean ‘incredibly depressing.’

This sentiment alone goes a long way in explaining why artists in the public eye , like Damien Hirst, produce awful work that sells. Basically, for unknown artists to make any money, they need to be known, and to be “known,” they need to be able to afford the time to make work, which requires money. You see the Catch-22?

One of just many relevant statements the blog post makes. So, with enough preamble, hit the link below to go read this yourself. There might be a quiz, because, well, for all us artists, this is really something Important and we should be not just aware of it, but working against it.

Source: Art Fag City
External: The L Magazine
Categories: the arts and artists