Wednesday, December 8, 2010
Sunday, October 17, 2010
Saturday, September 25, 2010
I made this assemblage while at The Barn. It includes a wasp nest I found in a double decker bus, tubing from maple syrup collection, pink foam, sticks, mini moss trees, etc. I went on many walks to look for "treasures" and then used them to make sculpture. I'm very excited to continue working in this larger scale, transforming the materials and the space I work in.
This is a diptych-in-progress I made. Each painting is 12"x 12". I started them by looking at images of dead men. I was thinking about the Buddhist practice of sitting with corpses in order to fully face the impermanence of life and in turn be able to live life more fully. They look and feel much different than most of my work previous. In fact my work made a huge shift in Vermont.
This piece has a super duper awesome title but I wrote it down in my other sketchbook that is now at my house and not here at Orwell Cafe with me. It is the sculpture that will be part of Firehouse Gallery's traveling Human=Landscape exhibition. I finished it while in VT. I imagine that if Florida and Vermont had a love affair, this is what their child might look like. As the climate warms, Vermont may have to have it's own tropical arranged marriage, if not love affair.
Friday, September 17, 2010
Juan: Finishing a piece seems to be hard these days. I start a piece, have an idea then start a new piece. That repeats over and over. I have to stop and force myself to finish something. I find myself very annoying. I struggle with self-control all the time.
M: Yes, I think finishing work is sometimes the hardest part. I actually say this probably way too often, but my professor in college once said about painting something like: being faced with finishing a piece and really solving the problems is when real painting begins. So in a way, the finishing of your art is actually art making. Are there ways that you have found useful in “forcing yourself to finish something”?
J: That's a great way to look at it. I usually have to talk myself into turning my iTunes really low, turning HULU off, and ignore my phone. I sit in my kitchen and I don't get up till it's done.
M: Discipline and it sounds like you have a good idea about the things that distract you from your work. In what ways is your creative process related to supported by or connected to the rest of your life?
J: Because I reference pop culture, I get to spend a lot of time “researching” by buying comic books, surfing the interweb, and watching a lot of YouTube and HULU. Though it may seem that I am spending hours in front of the computer on a bright sunny day I am clearly “researching” ideas of what to do next. The Internet has altered the way pop stars and the news is released to the public. As an artist / consumer I have to keep up with what’s going on.
M: You seem to have a bit of a mocking tone about your process, almost like you aren’t totally taking yourself seriously but when I look at your work you seem to tackle very authentic, serious and specific topics. For example: homosexuality, super heroes, debris of consumerism in the form of colorful litter. Why are these topics important to you? Do you feel like you take yourself seriously? Also, if you feel that you must “keep up on what’s going on” what do you think would happen if you didn’t?
J: I really don’t see it as mocking. It’s just the way I talk about things. In all honestly I mock everything and everyone. Nothing is off limits. That’s just my personality. I do take my artistic career and myself very seriously. The topics I decide to focus on are my way to a future understanding of them and to play with their meaning.
As for “keeping up with what’s going on”… it’s fun. Pure and simple. If I didn’t keep up I think I would be very bored.
M: How would you describe inspiration?
J: One word. POPCULTURE. It's one of the few things that everyone can relate to in some way, shape, or form … especially on a global level thanks to the all mighty Internet.
M: What is it about pop culture that is so inspiring for you? I understand that you see it as something everyone can relate to. This seems more like an excuse or a reason to use it as a muse. What I want to know is what makes it your muse? The colors? The glamour? The speed? What about it are you drawn to? We also already talked about specific elements of popculture that you sample from (gay porn, found candy wrappers, superheroes) what else would you add to that list? Can you talk about why you might specifically choose those elements and how they relate to the rest of your life?
J: I would have to say it’s the Glamour. Pop culture in many ways is like visual candy and like candy itself, it is something I crave. It also has to do with the unattainable. Because of my ethnicity and economic background I was not suppose to have certain things or to achieve certain goals. So I make conscience efforts to obtain certain things I, and others like me, shouldn't have. So I am playing with pop culture in order to understand it and in some way control its effect on me.
M: Why do you make art?
J: Out of spite.
M: Out of spite for what?
J: Off the top of my head… my parents, other family members, my college professors and my own self doubt.
M: Do you think about a spiritual connection with your work?
M: Why do you think art is important?
J: I think art is very important. As a kid, I would go to museums and I would fall into each and every piece of work and dream about making art as embracing as the ones I was staring into. I can only hope my works can have the same effect on some kid at a museum on a Saturday afternoon with his mother.
M: I like the image if you falling into each piece of art as if they are embracing you. Although you do not see this as spiritual, that sort of loving image seems very spiritual or at least connecting to me. I wonder what spite has to do with this embrace you are seeking to create with your work? As you said, this is your way "to a future understanding... and to play with... meaning". Thank you for sharing your art making thoughts with me and my readers. Talk to you soon!
Wednesday, September 8, 2010
This is one of my larger paintings made on Yupo, my new favorite material. It's about 5 feet by 6 feet (roughly) and hanging here on the outside of my studio because I ran out of space inside.
Thursday, July 15, 2010
Here are the yellow bauble earrings I made last month. I love them! They are super light weight. When I bought them the shop owner said they are Japanese glass... I'm not sure if that means they're from Japan or in the style of Japanese baubles. Either way, they rock!
Friday, July 9, 2010
Tuesday, June 29, 2010
Here's the cute little squidlet posing for the camera... in her sleep. It's way too hard to be back in NY and so far away from her and her mother but hopefully we will be reunited soon! I also miss doing so much Bikram which I did there. Also I tried Dancing Shiva which is a combo of Bikram and vinyasa. I highly recommend it. It totally kicked my butt :-)
The desert was so beautiful! It was only my second time in the southwest and I was totally amazed by the dramatic color and the intense, diverse textures of the landscape. Someday I will go there just to paint... and maybe to build an Earthship ;-)
But for now I'm on a NY adventure (at least for three more weeks before I leave for my residency in Vermont!) I FINALLY finished my fire escape garden!! Yay! Thank goodness because what I should really be doing is painting. Above you can see my tomato box. It's a bit longer than three feet across and one foot wide. I made it out of a wood pallet I found in Bed-Sty are. I also have some basil and other random seeds in there. Well see what comes up! I'm sure I'll have to transplant some treasures soon!
This is the backside of my green planter and smaller herb planter above. I forgot to take a photo from the street so you can see it all together but at least here you can see some details. Everything on my fire escape is recycled (aside from the soil which I bought... and the Ubolts and the seeds... well, seeds are all sort of recycled, especially local heirlooms!) I also installed window boxes in front of two of my windows. The one in the kitchen has herbs in it. I hope it grows! It overlooks our farm I wrote about in my last post:
Strange shadow, I know, but at least you can get the gist of what it looks like. The random wall on the right is a handball court wall which has caused a TON of controversy. In fact, Mikel and I went to our first town meeting yesterday to learn more about the problem and to add our input. There farm is actually part of a park that is a bit more than an acre in size. Unfortunately, most of it is taken up by a parking lot. Lame! The other unfortunate thing is that rather than taking over the parking lot with the farm, they took over the only recreational area and without notifying anyone in the community ahead of time. There is a huge possibility that the farmers will have to totally tear up the farm and put it somewhere else. Where? We will find out after our on-site meeting next Wednesday. Mikel and I are totally jazzed by this democratic process, so jazzed in fact that Mikel expressed how he feels like Chris in the morning on Northern Exposure on election day (if you haven't seen Northern Exposure ever, I highly recommend it-- it's a truly wholesome show!)
Onto business! Before I head to VT I have WAY TOO MUCH to do! Thank goodness the heat wave broke for at least a couple days so I feel like I can move around more (it's been almost 100 degrees for days--and nights!!-- It feels like walking through water!) Above is a cuff I made for Ashley last year that I recently re-mixed. Also in the realm of jewelry, my earrings are officially on display at The Whitney Museum and I just sent a bunch to Bliss in Portland, ME.
Monday, June 7, 2010
This is the quilt I made for my sister and her new baby. I've been working on it since January. I'm so proud of it and it has been so hard to not post any images in progress but I didn't want to ruin the surprise.
Finally, I was walking two weeks ago to pick Mikel up to have dinner on our 5 year anniversary and I suddenly looked to my left into a storefront with Julie Peppito's work in it! The gallery 0.00156 Acres is a Brooklyn Arts Council space named for its size and the full show consisted of Julie's work along with paintings by her husband Gideon. Small world! Small city!