Here is my little dance to the tune of a Bulgarian folk song – I am preparing several canvases the traditional way. I stretch my own raw linen, size it with rabbit skin glue and prime it with several thin coats of lead oil, which I let dry for two weeks between coats. The tricky part with lead is that it is toxic so I dress up hazmat fot this little dance.
I get attached to the materials I work with – I have been a life-long computer geek, a brush geek, a linen geek, a paper geek. After all, for a time – you and the instrument in your hand become a one in the pursuit of a work of art, or simply of work. Knowing what we now know of the micro-world of particles, the simple act of commanding an object is a miracle.
My grandfather was an oil painter and a successful businessman, very skilled in the technique of Intarsia. He was very active in Bulgarian society prior to 1944 and was nominated, as part of a delegation of the Bulgarian trade elite, a godfather to King Simeon II of Bulgaria. He lost almost everything and escaped barely with his life during the communist revolution of 1944-47. He escaped execution with the help of a friendly lawyer but watched in terror from his house’s terrace high on the hills – the muzzle flashes of executions of many of his friends and colleagues. He was later sent to labor camps, was registered in the communist party’s archives as an enemy of the state and was not allowed to work for the rest of his life. Growing up I remember a very strange man living in my grandparents’ house – he was installed to spy on my grandparents’ activities and was there for almost 20 years. As a kid I was kept ignorant of the family history and only learned things piece by piece after my grandfather passed from a heart condition shortly after the Chernobyl incident. I vividly remember, however, my grandpa listening to the BBC and the Voice of America, a highly illegal activity at the time.
Grandfather at Union Club – Sofia, 1938:
I always keep at least one of grandpa’s works in sight. Here is my “wet” studio where I handle more toxic processes – I just laid first coat of Lead Oil primer on newly stretched linen canvases and also dry an underpainting created with genuine Chinese Vermilion ( the very toxic Mercuric Sulphide ). And grandpa’s landscape Intarsia of the old capital of Bulgaria is hiding behind the printer box waiting to be hung:
It was great to see you at my Bushwick Show – Invented Mythologies ! And Thank you for braving the heat in Bushwick, some of you coming from upstate or Manhattan, which is just as far:)
I got a fresh point of view and heard your comments about the work and your honest opinions. I was amazed at the insights some of you had about what you thought was a successful piece and what you thought was the best part of a successful piece. And what you thought didn’t work. Artists sometimes like to say they do the work for themselves. The truth is we are part of a soup, physiologically and cognitively, we constantly shed cells and replenish with new ones, we are constantly engaged in the world mentally.. so unless we a are a Robinson Crusoe – we are an amalgamation, and so is our work.. to some degree.
…all at Postcards From The Edge – A Benefit for Visual AIDS. January 25-27, 2013 @ Sikkema Jenkins & Co – 530 West 22nd Street, NYC.
The 15th Annual
POSTCARDS FROM THE EDGE
Featuring artworks by Mirena Rhee, Ann Hamilton, Donald Baechler, Kara Walker, Dana Schutz, Bjarne Melgaard, Marilyn Minter, Burt Barr, Kiki Smith, Ed Rusha, John Baldessari, Louise Fishman, Arturo Herrera, Ida Applebroog, Ross Bleckner, Rirkrit Tiravanija, Katherine Bernhardt, Nayland Blake, L.J. Roberts, Marcel Dzama, Catherine Opie, Tony Feher, Mary Heilmann, Jim Hodges, Julie Mehretu, Jeff Koons, Robert Longo, Moyra Davey, Bill Viola, Jane Hammond, Lawrence Weiner, Kay Rosen, Jack Pierson, Louise Lawler, John Waters.
Magritte inspired drawing.
Join me for the unexpected – I am doing a DAF Dress piece at The DUMBO Arts Festival!
When: Saturday, Sep 29th, 12pm-9pm.
Where: Somewhere near 45 Main Street, Brooklyn, in DUMBO!
BE CAREFUL, PAINTING WILL BE INVOLVED! NO PETS OR WEAPONS, PLEASE!
DUMBO ARTS FESTIVAL is a three day event – it happens September 28-30, 2012. Join me for Brooklyn’s biggest arts event of the year.
The intent of Figment Dress was to create a visual response to Mark di Suvero sculptures, the wearable aspect of my projects actually stems from my many-years involvement with computer generated artwork. Working commercially for blockbuster franchises like Star Wars made me want to create painting and sculpture experiences where the whole body operates simultaneously as a surface, as a creative vehicle and a final product. Where the body is literally in touch with the process, with the materials and the product creators; where the final piece is spontaneously created on the spot with very low likelihood that the same object (in this case “dress”) will ever be produced again.
When I first conceived the piece I had no idea how it was going to come out formally. I wanted it to be relevant to the vision of Figment, grounded in “forms follows function” principle and also reflective of the location – Governors Island right across Manhattan in New York. Mark di Suvero sculptures dominated the landscape and provided me with the relevant geometric fulcrum.
I will be creating a Figment Dress performance for Figment Festival. It will be free, collaborative and wearable, a figment of our own imagination.
Be careful: No Weapons , No Alcohol, No Pets
XQUISITE SHODO ! Big Brushes and hula hoop-la collaborative painting in Central Park. xquisitecorpse.org
XQUISITE CORPSE showed up in Central Park on Easter Sunday.. to color some grass. We decided to do XQUISITE the day before and next day we setup the XQUISITE SHODO which turned into a true collaborative effort in the spirit of XQUISITE CORPSE.
As time went on and with input from passers by ( Thank you, Harriet from London! ) the true colors of XQUISITE SHODO painting showed up and it turned into an XQUISITE Kimono!
Music – taiko drumming!
Thank you, grass, for growing.