I just got some oil paints in the mail from Gamblin and I'm so excited (and after watching this video, kind of honored) to be working with these colors.
Just because you do it
doesn't mean you always will.
Whether you're dancing dust
or breathing light
you're never exactly the same,
-Yrsa Daley-Ward, Bone
Recently I realized that I have this unconscious bias, this quiet invisible paradigm lodged in my mind that tells me I'm not original enough. Creatively I get into this mind space where feel competitive, where I harshly scour my work for hints of someone else's influence or someone else's ideas. It can be easy for me to see other work I love and feel envy instead of inspiration. But this is not what I believe. And thankfully a few things came together the other day for me while walking through the Matisse/Diebenkorn exhibition at SF MOMA that helped me see this unconscious paradigm for the fallacy that it was.
This entire exhibit is meant to showcase the "profound inspiration Richard Diebenkorn (1922–1993) found in the work of Henri Matisse (1869–1954)". It's all about how Diebenkorn was moved by Matisse's work and spent much of his career drawing inspiration from and even copying Henri Matisse. This jolted me back into reality just a bit, helped my ego to step off and allowed me to see my false paradigm around the need for artistic originality for what it is—a myth. It's not a completely uncommon way of thinking but it's a way our pesky ego tends to jump up into the way of our real work.
I started talking through this a bit with my friend who completely understood where I was coming from but had a completely different way of approaching this herself. She showed me a piece she had screen-shotted earlier that day on her phone. She told me she loves capturing other artist's work that affects her and she always thinks to herself, 'I wonder how this would look in my style.' I was so moved by how simple and how different her way of thinking was. It helped me to break down my own myth and reminded me how important it is for us to stick together, to talk through our process and to learn from the multitude of ways people think and see and feel. We always have something to learn, and if we let go of the myth of originality we can really have fun.
I went to see my friend Chiara’s show at the Rickshaw Stop in SF the other night. Chiara is always up to something innovative and authentic but this was a Motel Pools set, the garage-rock iteration of her rich, smoky vocals accompanied by a killer band, who keep up with her wild and angsty energy brilliantly. As Motel Pools plunged whole-heartedly through their set list I found myself thinking about Chiara’s commitment to her work and the power of her artistic recklessness. It wasn’t long before I was wearing the Give No Fucks mantra tee I bought at her merch booth and connecting the dots between this idea of artistic integrity and the importance of not caring about the outcome.
So much of our world is outcome-driven. It’s all about success, it’s about the finish line, the goal, solid metrics proving to us we did it, we succeeded. But good artists care more about process than outcome, good artists create because they can, because they have to, because they are compelled to. And they value the act of saying what needs to be said over how people will react—over what the outcome will be.
This is what I’m learning from Chiara at least. I’m learning to give no fucks about the outcome and I’m learning to step fully into the creative process for the sake of the creative process.
Just finished a successful group show at Comix Experience for the Divisidero Art Walk and had so much fun. My neighborhood was hopping and it was so good to see so many people out enjoying our community and the art we make.
I'm part of the Graphic-Novel-of-the-Month Club at Comix Experience and love this community of people who come together to appreciate and read great art every month. A while back I had the idea that we should do a collective art show at the comic shop to display new works inspired by the graphic novel selections we read in the club. I started working on plans to build a gallery-panel system to hang art on so we could use the comic shop as our venue (since it's a bookstore there's no wall space to hang anything on). While in the midst of planning this I stopped by the store one night to chat and Brian (the Head Cheese) pointed over to a poster on the wall and said, "have you seen that? Maybe we should do something then?". It was sign for a Divisidero Art Walk - something I've been dying to see but haven't for over a year. MY NEIGHBORHOOD IS DOING AN ART WALK AGAIN! But it was only 3 weeks from the day and nothing was ready for an art show. Nevertheless I was too excited about this event in my hood, so I kicked my ass into high gear and got shit done. I had so much help - my mom's wife, Reda was instrumental in helping me get the panel system up and running, Brian was great, Elle brought wine and snacks, Devika and Emma helped me set everything up and Rufo ran around making everyone feel welcome once the show started.
Overall it was an exhausting but so-worth-it last minute art show and I'm really grateful. Elle contributed some photos, Sienna (Blue Hare Comix) brought some amazing pieces, as did the humble but hella talented Devika Parmar. The panel system stayed standing the entire night, we sold some comics, sold some art and made a ton of new friends.
COMMUNITY+ART+WINE+LOTS OF HARDWARE STORE TRIPS !!
The space between us
sometimes is nothing.
It's like fucking and laughing
at the same time.
Inside and within and enveloped.
it's quieter and more vast.
Like both of us are exhausted
and can't take care of the other.
Living things are always both.
Throbbing, beating, still and fast.
“Do I contradict myself? Very well, then I contradict myself, I am large, I contain multitudes.”
- Walt Whitman, Song of Myself
One of the more difficult things I’ve had to work to undo as an artist is this cultural bias toward consistency, toward sameness. And not only sameness compared to others around me but sameness compared to myself a year ago, 3 years ago, 10 years ago. I’m starting to think about this fetish we seem to have with consistency, this idea that it’s better to remain the same, as if staying true to oneself means never changing, never expanding.
But this isn’t the way humans work. We do change, and we do expand whether the world likes it or not. It’s really just a question of whether or not we’re going to live into that change, own our contradictions, embrace and celebrate change… or, hide behind self doubt and an oddly unexamined over-valuing of regularity.