The second in my series on deities and belief. Almost finished. The gold leaf is a pain in the ass. Gold leaf is a thin gold foil, about half the thickness of regular aluminum foil. If you breath on it hard, it tears. I can't find a good way to get a clean edge with it. The adhesive supplied with the gold leaf sucks, or I'm just not doing it right. I would have finished by now if wasn't for this fucking gold leaf.
Lesson learned? Avoid gold leaf.
This painting, which took me a couple of months to complete has really changed the direction in which my art is going. It's acrylic on panel, a simple un-fussy technique. I did most of this painting on my front porch during the summer as my studio was just to hot to paint in for any length of time. Nothing like painting in Plein Aire, although this obviously is not an on location landscape.
This is an image of Mara- the Buddhist devil. Yeah, Buddhists believe in deities...I guess. I found this deity a little confusing as I didn't think Buddhists believed in good and evil. Everything is as it should be. One of those Buddhist sayings that is supposed to straighten out the twisted convolutions of human thought. The best description I could find of what Mara is, is the imbodiment of all human desires. If I did it right, this painting is both alluring and terrifying...like a devil.
Maria texted me at 6 AM in the morning to let me know that David Bowie died. While Maria always had good taste in music, I never really thought of her as a rabid Bowie fan, which in itself, speaks to what an important artist Bowie was. Yes, Bowie was a rock star, he knew the value of a balls out bar chord and distortion, but he was one of the most important and influential artists of the 20th century. Yeah, yeah, the Beatles were important too, but nobody, nobody re-created himself then destroyed himself in such a mind altering way.
When I was in high school, I was actually afraid to admit that I like David Bowie, because if you like Bowie you were a faggot. Thank God for punk rock that made me learn how to audibly say and feel FUCK YOU, then I no longer had to have a closeted love for David. Ironic, because Bowie never wrote a song for pussies. Even his love songs weren't sweet and saccharine.
The picture I have posted here is from the video for Life on Mars. Such a wonderful melancholy song. You know, the song that starts with , " It's a God awful small affair, for the girl with the mousy hair". Immediately, you have a picture in your mind. I love how David looks like a piece of candy in this video, such a contradiction to the feel of the song.
It's so crazy that a rock star would create a character like Ziggy Stardust, record a ground breaking album, and then kill off the rock star. That's just fucking crazy - brilliant. Likewise, the hero in Space Oddity, Major Tom, later reappears 'strung out' in Ashes to Ashes only much more tarnished. I love in the video in Ashes to Ashes how another of David's characters, the Silver Clown, is strolling on the beach deep in conversation with an old woman. I love that he mentions Che Guevara in Panic In Detroit, love that Station to Station opens with one note feeding back, love that he stole Iggy Pop's voice for that album, and love that after his biggest selling album , Let's Dance (Ok, everyone is allowed one mistake), he formed Tin Machine, a band in which he was just the singer, and I love that Bowie didn't just appear in drag in Boys Keep Swinging, but appears in drag as an old woman walking with a cane. Ha ha Ha. And he did that weird duet with Bing Crosby, remember?
Never gonna be another one.
Last May I got an email notification that Spencer Tunick, renowned imager of multitudes of nude humans in a multitude of public spaces, was doing an installation at Garner Arts Center, Garnerville, NY. It was a call for models. I guess I'm on the 'willing to go nude for art' list because I did Tunick's Montauk installation in 2011. The Montauk shoot was a good/weird experience, so I thought why not do another. I RSVP'd that I would show up at 4 AM in an unremarkable town in Upstate NY for this event.
One of the installation photo's is below. This 8 x 10" , signed photo is what you get for being a model. Kind of worth it! This photo is way better than I was expecting because the Garner Arts Center is housed in a complex of decaying, damp, gritty brick buildings that was probably at one time a factory or sweat shop. When I did the Montauk shoot, I knew that photo would be great; Montauk beach at dawn on a beautiful crisp June morning with the waves crashing, a few hundred buttnaked people staring at the sea with the lighthouse in the background. Early Morning Beach vs. Gritty, Cold Brick Alleyways? Yeah, beach wins no contest. But...
The results at Garner look great. Love this photo. Conjures up the Zombie Apocalypse, A Mass of Spirits arriving with an ominous message, or the recently departed waiting for...?
I did notice that the image looks slightly altered. Yes color and contrast have no doubt been adjusted, but there is something else about the figures that makes them pop when you see the image in person. I don't know how much Spencer photoshops his work and what he allows himself to change or enhance digitally in an image. I should have asked him, I would have sounded smart, or possibly rude... not sure. Probably best I just thanked him and moved on.
Here's several images of the evolution of this piece, Mexican Red-Dog of the Dead. One of the artist painted dogs, for Boonton Dog Days (https://www.facebook.com/boontondogdaze?fref=ts) . This dog will be displayed in Boonton, NJ for the summer and then auctioned off for charity in September.
I've been taking a break from creating any complete paintings for several months. The last painting I finished was completed September, 2014. Sometimes these breaks from active work produce good results when I begin again. I did do some landscape and outdoor sketching in Costa Rica, but that type of sketching is more of a vacation enjoyment and can be a nicer memory/souvenier than a smart phone photo or another cheap trinket bought at the airport on the way home.
I've been thinking about a theme for a new series, or I suppose I could also say, I have not been thinking about a theme for a new series. The series I have begun just kind of happened without any gale force brainstorming , long division, self flagellation or blood letting. It developed from an orphan painting of the devil I did about 18 months ago that was meant to be a visual joke about my male white guilt, or more accurately, the guilt I'm supposed to have from being born a non-starving white male. The painting is done in relief using encaustic, so it's raised and shiny. 'White Devil', is posted below.
What I have planned is a series 24 x 24" mythological figures done in relief using encaustic. The sketch below is of Kali. A Hindu God who is a dark but loving mother to her followers, also known to have a destructive temper and a talent for shakin' her money maker. There is no rebirth without destruction. Kali seeks to destroy the negative aspects of the ego, an she got four arms to do it.