December 23, 2012
Ataraxia, Oil on Canvas, 45 X 60 inches, 2012
Work in progress.
December 14, 2012
I put in another productive session in the studio today.
December 12, 2012
Here is another painting that I am working on. It is based on diagrams of the eight iterations of the Hilbert space-filling curve. I encountered the diagrams when I was researching mathematical curves and fractals. I was intrigued by its space-filling function, so I decided to experiment with that idea. Putting the curve into practice helps me understand the concepts behind it. My drawings deviate quite drastically from the diagrams that I saw, but traces of it are apparent in the overall design. The scale is 42″ X 54″ and it is oil on canvas.
December 10, 2012
I had another productive weekend in the studio. This painting is nearly finished. It feels great to be making work again purely for the sake of making work. I enjoy being able to let the work develop on its own accord without any concern for time or looming deadlines. I can wander further down avenues to see where they lead, and I can switch projects mid stream. I can take more risks and paint through my obstacles.
This is what I paint for.
December 08, 2012
There have been a number of updates from the Eventorbot Kickstarter campaign. The frames are fabricated and on their way to be powder coated. I went with black as my color option, which means one of my frames is on that pallet in the update photo. Not only is Duy working really hard to get the Eventorbot kits assembled and shipped, but he’s also done an excellent job in communicating with the backers. I’m excited to be part of this project!
November 27, 2012
This is the painting that I am currently working on. I started it in the spring, but it was set aside in order for me to meet exhibition deadlines and focus on other projects. At the time I didn’t want to force the painting into a series that it didn’t fit into. I also knew that I had enough work going for the exhibitions that I had committed to, and that my energy was best spent finishing that work. This painting was headed somewhere different, and I wanted to give it the time that it deserved. Now that the dust has settled, I have returned to this painting to see where it will end up. It feels good to be painting purely for myself again. Deadlines are great, but the compromises that you make to fulfil them can be counterproductive. At the start of a project, your mind is swimming in the possibilities, but as the deadline looms you shift focus to what’s probable. You choose to work on one thing over another, and sometimes you would have rather worked on the one you didn’t choose. That’s how art goes. I’m just happy that I have this opportunity to re-visit this painting.
November 24, 2012
Earlier this summer I rescued this book from a discard pile. Someone in my studio building had placed a box of books near the garbage cans when they moved out. I rifled through the box and I found “The Real Book About Space Travel” by Hal Goodwin. What caught my attention was the style of Clifford Geary’s illustrations and that the book was originally published in 1952.
I’m drawn to a book like this because of what it represents. It offers a nostalgic vision of the future, one bridled with optimism and wonder. The depiction of space travel is utopic and it was designed to spark the imagination as much as, if not more than, it was to inform. The illustrations convey a sense of hope and inquiry. I can only imagine what the reader thought about the future when they flipped through these pages sixty years ago. For them it may have represented a future that was attainable or just out of their reach. Whereas now, this book provides a better glimpse into a past than it does into the future.It marks a period of time and a specific world-view that was held then.
November 14, 2012
I have begun the arduous task of learning the 3D modelling program known as Blender. As you can see from the above image, my desk is a little cramped at the moment. On the left, I have the donated computer up and running, and booted with Ubuntu 12.04. On the right I have a Mac-mini running OSX 10.6. I’m primarily working with one while watching tutorial videos on the other.
My goal is to use Blender to design objects and components for 3D printing. Blender has a steep learning curve, but I am gradually picking it up. I always remind my students to not set out on learning everything at once. It is best to only concern yourself with the task at hand. By this I mean, if my goal were to build 3D models, then I won’t have to worry about animation functions or camera panning. However, I do need to learn more about modifying meshes and sculpting objects.
November 09, 2012
Last week I ordered a couple 2.2lb coils of 1.75mm ABS plastic. One black and the other off-white. I ordered them from a company called ProtoParadigm. They are located in Hermiston, Oregon. The shipment was prompt and I received it quickly. I am still waiting for the printer components to arrive from the Eventorbot Kickstarter campaign before I can start the build process. I may have jumped the gun a little with buying the plastic, but I’d rather purchase it now and avoid any hassles or shipment delays that always arise around the holidays. I want this project to be up and running as soon as possible.
November 05, 2012
I stopped by Lillstreet Art Center this afternoon to pick up an old computer that they were getting rid of. It used to be a computer in their office, but it’s spent the past few months in storage. They were looking to get rid of or recycle it. I inquired about it and they said that I could have it if I came and picked it up. It looks like it is in pretty good shape. There’s some dust that has built up, but it’s nothing a little compressed air can’t fix. I need to hook it up and find out what the specs are and then I plan on wiping the hard drive and installing Linux. It’s a Dell desktop with an Intel duo core processor and Windows XP is the current operating system. I think it is about 5 or 6 years old. I am going to reboot it with Ubuntu 12.04. I’m using this distro of Linux because I’ve grown fond of Ubuntu and because this is the latest version with long term support. I’m looking forward to dinging around with this computer and bringing it back to life. This will be the second computer that I have received for free and then resurrected with Linux.
I will take this computer to my studio once it is set up, and it will be the core behind my 3D printer. I am trying to run things on open source technology and I imagine that I will install other free graphics programs such as GIMP, Inkscape, and Blender. I want to incorporate this open source software into my overall studio practice. Hopefully it will lessen my dependence upon proprietary software such as Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator and other programs in the Creative Suite.
I recently backed the Eventorbot Kickstarter Campaign and in December I will receive parts to begin building my very own 3D printer. I’ve followed this technology from the sidelines for a few years now, and earlier this summer I began to research building my own RepRap machine. Admittedly I am not a technical guru, but I am a fast learner when it comes to computers and technology. Years of art making have taught me that the only way to truly learn something is by doing it. I decided that the best way for me to understand this technology was through building a printer from the ground up.
November 01, 2012
It is November 1st and you know what that means? Deadline for the CAAP grant final reports for 2012. I spent the money and completed all of the work months ago, but for whatever reason I put off the paperwork until the last possible moment. I tallied up all of my receipts and typed up my report last night, and I was able to get them into the Department of Cultural Affairs at around 11 am today, which was well before their 5 pm deadline. It’s good to know that I can pull it together at the last minute, but I really wish that I hadn’t procrastinated that long. This should be it for my 2012 commitments. Here’s to the year ahead.
October 29, 2012
I’ve had a busy year. It included the Hatch Residency at CAC, a CAAP grant from the City of Chicago, lots of teaching at Lillstreet Art Center, a solo show at Park Schreck Gallery, teaching a bunch of summer camps through Kidstreet, moving into a new apartment, a mural painting event with the Chicago Loop Alliance in conjunction with Color Jam, back to back shows at the Chicago Artists’ Coalition, a booth at Renegade Craft Fair, a show at Milk Handmade, and finally landing a new job at Marwen.
I am certain that I am forgetting something, but nonetheless it was a frantic year. Only now am I able to sit back and take stock of it all. I should have documented all of these activities here, but my online presence has been just as scattered and chaotic as the rest of my life. Moving forward I would like to consolidate projects, instill a better sense of order with regards to how I organize, present and share things. One major project is centralizing my online presence around my personal website or blog. I will be making some major changes in the coming weeks. This is something I’ve wanted to do for a long time, but I continually procrastinated on making changes. This announcement isn’t as much a proclamation as it is an attempt to hold myself accountable.
I’ve had a productive year. Now it is time to build upon that momentum and see what the next year has in store.
October 14, 2011
I have installed a new exhibition at Connect in Chicago’s Wicker Park neighborhood. The opening reception is from 6-10pm on Friday, October 28, 2011, and the show runs through the end of the year. The artwork on display is a selection of paintings that I’ve created over the past eighteen months.
October 04, 2011
Lately a number of people have asked me for advice on everything from applying to grad school to updating their website. I’ve talked to them about the importance of documenting work and keeping a current resume on file. I’ve also stressed the importance of networking and strengthening their online presence. You have to get out there and meet people, and you have to be visible for when they come looking. I’ve told people to mine the contacts that they have, and that most opportunities come from the people that you know. I’ve also advised them to maintain a personal website or blog and update it often and with current information.
So why have I slacked on heeding my own advice? Partly because it’s a lot of work, and it’s not as fun as working in the studio. It’s also because I’ve failed to make it a priority, and I’ve simply found ways to justify avoiding it. I’ve realized that I can be my biggest enemy at times, and quite often I have to remind myself to get out of my own way.
October 03, 2011
I received these tips when I was a graduate student.
Eight Steps For Success In The Art World
1. Do good work.
2. Have a strong background- (There is competition within genres; am I timely?; who is this person?; who has written about him/her?)
3. Show signs of dedication and major commitment.
4. Hang out at key places (word of mouth business; information of the tribe passed around; critical opinion of a well respected artist; should know the names of every critic and artist; )
5. Behave professionally- (have something to say about your work; have slides and resume updated and handy.)
6. Seek help- (there are people out there willing to help you)
7. Be charming (but don’t overdo it)
8. Be realistic ( but not cynical or pessimistic)
September 10, 2010
This is the same grey sketch that I was working on yesterday. It’s been pushed along a bit further and I’m happy with where it stands. I’ve decided that it is more important for me to keep working through ideas rather than worrying about settling on specific direction. I’ve entered a period where I am not clamoring to meet deadlines or fulfill prior commitments. It’s time to take advantage of this freedom and create the things that I want to create.
I’ve spent the past 18 months working my ass off. I secured a grant, some commissions and a number of exhibition opportunities. These things were all positive developments and they were motivational. Working towards deadlines is important because it sort of forces you to become more disciplined and organized. The pressure of meeting a deadline can also inject some energy into a project. It’s like a pressure cooker and you’d be amazed what you can pull off when the clock is ticking. But as productive as this mode of working is, it also has it drawbacks.
When I work towards a deadline, it means that most things are figured out in advance and a lot of my energy is devoted to execution. Other directions and ideas often arise, but they’re set aside because they might not fit within the series. There’s always a point within a project where I stop thinking about what is possible and start focusing on what is probable. The work can become quite stagnant and formulaic.
Not working towards deadlines means that I’m free to make whatever the hell it that I want to make. It means that I can explore multiple directions without being concerned about the end product. This freedom can translate into a significant amount of growth and exploration.