Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Marching Forwards/ Looking Backwards

My latest work has changed since my last series. This body of work reflects current fears and issues related to getting around. These works are all in ballpoint pen, a medium that I have grown to love over the past years for its expressive boldness. It started with a goal of getting involved with a community I never thought I would fit into; the car show. I integrated myself in the community even though I was not licensed to drive or knowledge of cars. My medical condition and personal fears prevent me from driving and it often stunts a lot of opportunities in life. I began drawing whole cars and eventually focused on headlights and taillights because they often are associated with eyes and references how I can look at cars for as long as I desire, but I may never have the privilege of owning one. I chose to use ink and ballpoint pens because it reflects the mechanical nature of the car and is suited well to the metallic nature of cars. I started with black and white formal observations of headlights, as you can see in Nissan 1/14, where I thoroughly appreciate the form of the headlight. I then moved onto the taillights where I abstract and translate the forms, as seen in Prius 8/14, making the car as unreachable to my audience as it is to me. This series is still expanding into larger abstractions, straying further from observation and I personally deal with the complications with relying on others for transportation.

The Big Idea:

As stated above, my goal is to make driving and transportation as unreachable to my audience as it is to me. I aim to conceal the utilitarian purpose of headlights and taillights and present them as formal and aesthetically pleasing objects, by zooming in and abstracting the lights. Through this act, I hope to bring my audience to my level of understanding and realize that traveling by car is not simply available to all, but is a privilege that many can utilize. You can see my act of concealing and abstraction in these three key pieces out of a series of fourteen.

Nissan 1/14, 11”x 8.5” Ballpoint Pen, 2014

Ford Focus 6/14, 11”x 8.5”, Ballpoint Pen, 2014

Prius 8/14, 11”x 11”, Ballpoint Pen, 2014

The Rest:

Audi A6 2/14, 11”x 8.5”, Ballpoint Pen, 2014

Altima 10/14, 11”x 8.5”, Ballpoint Pen, 2014 

Porsche 4/14, 8”x 8”, Ballpoint Pen, 2014 
Scion FR-5 5/14, 10”x 8”, Ballpoint Pen, 2014 

Nissan 9/14, 8”x 8”, Ballpoint Pen, 2014

BMW 7/14, 11”x 9”, Ballpoint Pen, 2014

Mazda Rx 11/14, 10”x 9”, Ballpoint Pen, 2014

Infinite Q50 12/14, 11”x 8”, Ballpoint Pen, 2014

Honda 13/14, 12”x 9”, Ballpoint Pen, 2014

Jeep 3/14, 11”x 10”, Ballpoint Pen, 2014
Nissan 14/14, 11”x 9”, Ballpoint Pen, 2014

Here is some more recent work about how I am linked to the world and how the world is linked to me. I have been working with chain mail, which inspired me to think about linkages and how cars can link people in ways that maybe aren't always considered. 
A view of both pieces together. 

Bad Dates and Peppermints, 28"x 32", Ink & Ballpoint Pen, 2014

Linked To Unreachable Me
28"x 32", Ink & Ballpoint Pen, 2014

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

McAmerica Series

Artist Statement

         My artwork focuses on the network of issues that contributes to a confusing mess of body image, media, overconsumption, and growing obesity in America. In American society we are all concerned about our image, in particular, our weight. It is fascinating to me that America’s strong media presence upholds physical beauty as being extremely thin. At the same time our media blasts Americans with images and advertisements of fast food that causes many people to be pressured into overconsumption. These two ideas completely conflict one another: on one hand you are expected to be thin and toned, and on the other hand you are expected to consume cheap and greasy foods from restaurants such as McDonalds. This problem is further complicated by American habits of general overconsumption, which in some ways lead many families into heavy debt and even poverty. In many poor areas there is often a lack of any sort of fresh produce or even grocery stores. There is not enough income in the area to support a grocery store. Often fast food restaurants develop in these areas because food is cheaper. Such places are known as a food desert. So many families resort to cheap foods like hamburgers from McDonalds because their budgets are limited.

A thematic statement that threads throughout this body of recent artwork is: “The real cost of cheap food, but can we really afford it?” refers to the issues of weight that come with fast food. In “Title,” I include the images of cows because as an artist I am questioning the quality of the meat put into these foods. Over top is a fine print that warns about how beef can be harmful. Metaphorically, we treat the quality of our food like we do fine print, noone reads it and noone cares. In addition, I include a weight loss ad. Many Americans resort to various methods of combatting weight gain. Thinking about weight gain takes up a lot of space, just like being overweight can dominate a lot of ones life. In this piece, I include a hamburger wrapper as the physical representation of my own faults in eating fast food. In this way it becomes my own personal issue. In the background, I have drawn the iconic McDonald’s “m” to show how advertising by corporations is a huge factor in this contemporary food crisis.

I hope that through imagery that I can promote not only personal health habits but bring awareness to these issues. I think by making others aware of the mechanisms that allow for companies and social groups to trap individuals in this self-harming behavior, I hope to begin a dialogue about how to create a change. It is only by being aware of how society functions that one may begin social change. 

The Work

This series is based on the choices we are forced to make living in America. I think it is unusual how we have two modes of thinking when it comes to body image and consumerism. On one end of the spectrum, males and females alike are expected to be thin and muscled to display the American ideal of beautiful. In extreme cases, a starved body is considered the ideal. In contrast Americans are also taught that fast foods, junk foods and sodas are the foods to eat. There is a certain reputation for Americans to overeat and to be obese because of poor food choices. In order to juxtapose these ideas I have painted two bodies in profile in front of one of the iconic symbols of America, our flag. One body is overweight, hands relaxed at the hips. It is confrontational and defensive, maybe even insecure. On the other hand the other body is thin and tanned with one arm in salute (the left because I didn't want to over-associate it with the military's right hand salute) in a more aggressive posture than the left figure. 

This piece is done on Arches 80lb cold press watercolor paper with Windsor&Newton Watercolor paints. 
American Choices

This was an investigation of how advertising in the fast food industry works. It is interesting to me how there are people whose jobs it is to photograph and beautify foods. Hamburgers are precariously set up with all the same ingredients, cooked carefully, with condiments dispensed from a syringe and the bun tipped back to show the burger and make it look fuller. This is an enormous contrast to how the burger actually is received (as I think most of us know). This piece is a billboard that shows a highly realistic hamburger that advertises it's falseness. It is interesting how the ingredients in hamburgers from most fast foods have a lot of preservatives and fillers. 

This piece was done in 80lb Arches watercolor paper, watercolor pencils and Windsor&Newton watercolors. 

False Advertising

This next piece is an observance on how "food deserts" affect the weight and health of Americans. Food deserts occur in poor neighborhoods. They happen when a neighborhood cannot afford to support a grocery store because fast food undersells them. Many families choose fast foods because they can feel fuller on less money, even though they are aware that the food quality is poor. Once the grocery stores are out of business, the area had limited fast food places and becomes the only "oasis" for families in those neighborhoods. 

Piece done on Arches 80lb paper, Windsor&Newton watercolors, watercolor pencils and gouache. 

Food Desert

These final two pieces of the series consider the actual eating behaviors of society. I wanted to keep it the modern poster style advertising. You can see how the contrast of the man and the McDonald's logo are almost battling for your visual attention. You can see the culprit behind the man's physical condition, and it is not a secret! 

This piece is done on Arches 80lb paper, designer's gouache, and india ink.

This final piece is the addition of all the previous themes, and in my opinion the cream of this series. It is about how families who eat McDonalds are affecting the health of their children even before they are born. Women who are pregnant and art eating those fast food burgers because they are constantly on the go, prefer it, or cannot afford to do otherwise, are feeding the same foods to their unborn child. All of the preservatives and fillers and grease all are shared with the child and could have some health risks (there is no study but we all should know the only good foods are real and organic!) In addition these eating behaviors are modeled by parents after birth, so children often are content to eat McDonalds, are even trained to crave it. In this sense I wanted to create a similar movie poster style painting, with a horror aspect. 

This piece is done on Arches 80lb paper, Windsor&Newton Watercolor paints, and india ink. 
You Are What You Eat

Monday, January 20, 2014

Cole Hall Bridge

This is a smaller piece done in Nupastel and Prismacolor Pencils. It was a summer study of the bridge outside Cole Hall. This image doesn't quite do it justice, as the colors are slightly more vibrant on the web. It was a good study and review of color blending as well as perspective in action. The buildings were tough to draw in a medium that is very workable. It's drawn on Canson's felt grey paper. 
Cole Hall Bridge

Figure Drawings

These are the drawings from my final portfolio review.

This first one is called 30 Minute Woman. And it is just that. A simple study of a female model in charcoal.

This is a portrait called Bud. Bud isn't his real name its just a friendly nickname I call most friends. It is done in Conte crayon on Arches Cover White Paper. 

This is a simple male study, a more recent drawing than some of the others. This one happens to be in charcoal. Yu can see some of the inconsistencies in lighting from the model moving after their breaks. 

Comparing it to this study, which was done about a month earlier, you can see how my forms are getting cleaner and less driven by contour lines. You can also see how this earlier drawing had struggles with body proportions. 

This drawing was one of my first Conte figure drawings. You can see how I used different color fields to break up the composition a little. I like the upper body, you can see where my focus was. The lower body still needs work, his legs aren't that dark and the forms are a little off. 

Next are the self portraits. This is a portrait of myself in disguise. It was an exercise in making yourself look like you even when parts of your face are obscured. This one is in charcoal on Arches paper. 

In comparison to this earlier self-portrait, you can clearly see that my mark making has since improved as well as my composition. Facial features got stronger such as the nose and such. Proportions are off but the resemblance can still be seen. 

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

 Charcoal Studies
Each of these is a different charcoal study. The first one is a still of objects I use when I am sick. The second is about where the cards fall. I taped and hung cards and strung them over my hand. The last one is a diagnostic drawing of a skull and drum. 

Home Sick

Let Chance Land Where It Will
Diagnostic Skull

Remember Death's Scent 
This piece started as a three skull study. Later I added a self portrait with bone exposed. The flower was the last addition. This piece is about changing your plans midway through. 

Would You Like a Drink?

My first attempt at color with Nupastel. Most of the color is arbitrary. Needless to say, color is hard.

Care for a sip?