WHIRLWIND YEAR

It has truly been a whirlwind year. So much so that I've barely been able to keep up the consistency of adding to the news feed of this site. That is about to change. Especially with some big projects and new gallery shows scheduled for the coming year. For now, let me do a quick recap of some of the highlights of the past 12 months. 

Early in 2015 I was commissioned by a national beer company to create a label. They ended up going a different route and did not use my final design but the process was rewarding nonetheless. Legally I am unable to disclose the name of the brand (which is kind of obvious if you look at it and think about it though). Despite that I was still able to get legal confirmation to share the work.  Check it out below or via the WORK section in the menu.

In the summer of 2015, a recently finished work entitled Bittersweet Sanctuary was accepted into the California State Fair Fine Art exhibition. They announced the awards soon after the show was installed and I ended up winning both Best of Show and the Juror's Award for 2D work. With some close friends and family I attended the small awards ceremony in the gallery receiving a golden bear statue and a rosette ribbon. You can read the Sacramento Bee review of the show here and see some photos of the event.

Last autumn I received a phone call from Shelly Willis (director of the Sacramento Metropolitan Arts Commission) letting me know I was one of 17 finalists to propose a public art piece for the new Golden 1 Center in downtown Sacramento. All the finalists were asked to propose for a specific site and were then given a tour of that site while still under construction. I chose the Entrance and Escalator Well Indoor Site off L street and 5th street. In further posts I'll elaborate more on the actual piece and the outcome of the proposal process. For now you can watch a small segment from Fox40 News about the finalists here and check out photos of the tour that inspired my final design. 

Last month, Inside Publications released a feature article on my work and music. They even used my piece Bittersweet Sanctuary as the cover of the same February Issue. You can see their images below and read the article here.

Last but not least:  DUEL/DUAL, a two man show with artist and friend Benjamin Huntis open now at Blue Line Arts in Roseville until April 2nd. The reception is Saturday, March 19th from 5-9pm with Artist Talks starting at 5pm. Come to reception if you can or catch the show before it closes. More on upcoming projects soon!

CAPITOL BOX ART

Last Spring, I was commissioned to be a part of a unique public art project in the Sacramento area. Along with 20 other artists, I was chosen by CADA and the Sacramento Metropolitan Arts Commission to complete a series of designs to be wrapped in vinyl around the utility boxes on each corner of the downtown streets. It was a great chance to help beautify the normally dull, gray boxes blighted with tags, or just generally sticking out like a utilitarian eyesore. I created designs for two boxes entitled Meta Mirror I and Meta Mirror II, located on 8th & O street and 7th & Capital Avenue. 

Meta Mirror I  (8th and O Street)

Meta Mirror II  (7th and Capital Avenue)

I gathered the concept of my designs initially from the fact that both utility boxes would be in close approximation to a light rail station. People waiting, just sitting or standing around looking at their phones, connected yet disconnected. Hooked up to the stream of information through their devices yet unhooked from the stream of information in their environment, the real flesh and blood human beings just inches or feet away. Not a judgement as much as a simple observation (I, too, am guilty of the phone obsession from time to time).

It's an observation, though, that makes me think of the complexity of life, the complexity of reality, and how easy it is to gloss over with inattention. The sheer amount of intricacies involved in the make-up of even the simplest of objects or life-forms is staggering, and worth attention. This is an idea, too, that is strongly illustrated by the drawing technique I employ using text, using language and information as the way to create forms, to create objects and figures in the space. The content is there, the thing behind the thing, glowing under the gloss. 

Some of these thoughts heavily influenced my choice to use Ralph Waldo Emerson's essay entitled Nature as the primary text for the pieces. I almost exclusively use self generated text on all my work, making collaged poems to utilize as a script, but the time constraints and tight deadlines forced me to look outside for a quick solution. All said, the drawings and paintings on watercolor paper took 3 solid weeks before being transferred to a digital medium for the vinyl wrap print and installation process. 

Though the deadline was in the spring, it took awhile for the project to see the light of day. A little of bit legal red tape here and there caused the installation to be held up until just a few weeks ago in late July - early August. There was a reception on Second Saturday (August 9th) with all the artists, art-goers, friends and family. I was really amazed to see all the great work that went into it and to get a chance to talk with some of the other artists.

Artist Reception - photo by CADA

At the end of the reception, the CADA staff passed out a map of where all the boxes were located and we split off into our own private walking tours. Bunches of beautiful designs littered all over the downtown area.

Capitol Box Art Brochures - photo by CADA

Capitol Box Art Brochures - photo by CADA

A huge thanks to Karen Ulep and Todd Leon at CADA for their tireless work to elevate Sacramento to a community of art and culture from the street up. All the box designs can be viewed at www.capitolboxart.com 

On a parting note, CADA has been holding a contest with the project. It's open to the public to submit photos to their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/CADAapts A couple of really intriguing pictures of my designs have been submitted, and one of them won the first week of the contest!!! Good times!!!

photo by Joe Chan

photo by Wesley Apfel-McDowell


PATRONS, PRINTS, AND PUBLIC RADIO

A few weeks back, I said a bittersweet goodbye to one of my newer works, And All Things Hushed.... I delivered and installed the piece at the home of a very generous private collector. A little sad to see it go so quickly after its completion but extremely grateful it went to an amazing patron of the arts. It now lives on the wall among a collection of mind-blowing work from regional to international artists. 

Also, got a chance to hang out on their picturesque back porch with a few beers and some good conversation about art and Mardi Gras, mostly. 

Though the original is now in its new home, that piece and others are now available as prints. In conjunction with the recent grant award I received, I was able to produce a limited edition run of gallery quality Giclee reproductions for 4 separate works. Each are hand signed and numbered on 100% cotton rag archival paper, printed with Epson UltraChrome HDR Ink. 

Prints have become a great way for me to get my work out to the homes and offices of collectors and art lovers in both manageable sizes and affordable prices, while still maintaining a fine art caliber.  Each of the 4 works comes in two different sizes: 11" x 14" and 18" x 24" approximately. They are a reduced size from the original mixed media work, but continue to retain the clarity and precision of each piece.  

If interested, you can contact me directly here or visit my Etsy page here

Last but no least.... if you missed my appearance on Capital Public Radio's Insight with Beth Ruyak in February, you can listen to the full interview here: 

Very thankful to the whole team at CPR for getting some Fine Art discussion going on the radio. 


LEFF-DAVIS GRANT AWARDEE

“For many years, I have wanted to create something lasting that would recognize artists for their essential contribution to our culture, and also help them financially to create art.”
— Dr. Emily Leff

Last October, in a mad rush to raise some extra funds for a jaunt off to America's culture/music mecca New Orleans, I was selling a bunch of prints to various (very supportive) people around the area. The response was overwhelming and awesome, and one of my customer/friends gave me the heads up about an emerging artist grant that had an impending deadline. I kind of brushed it off, thinking, "oh, that'd be nice," but then forgot about it. Soon after though, she emailed me, being a little persistent and encouraging, saying she really thought my work would stand up well against the other applicants.  I went ahead and got all my materials together, made the proposal, and crossed my fingers.

To be honest, I wasn't really expecting much. It's the way these things are sometimes. You cast a lot of nets.

A couple of weeks back I got THE phone call.......I had received the grant! Silent victory dance(s) ensued, along with some slightly out of breath, trying-to-play-it-cool-thanks to the woman on the the line. I was kinda jumping out of my skin though, and when I got off the phone there was definitely a hoot or a holler or some kind of happy-man-yell. Pretty validating, especially considering there's a whole lot of amazing artists in the region, some of whom are good friends. 

Sending off the contract today, signed and sealed. The check should be in the mail soon! 

I wanted to give a huge thanks to Dr. Emily Leff and the Sacramento Region Community Foundation for awarding me and artist David Lane in the grant's inaugural year. Dr. Leff, a retired pathologist and avid art collector, established the fund with the Foundation to support artists on an individual level who have demonstrated professional commitment to their work. These types of grants are a kind of beacon for emerging artists like me, the kind of people feeling their way in the dark along non-traditional paths/lives.  

They're rolling out some great press for the announcement of the grant. Here's a link to the first of few little articles, this one from the Mountain Democrat out of El Dorado County:

http://www.mtdemocrat.com/prospecting/talented-oak-ridge-grad-awarded-visual-arts-grant/

And this from another small El Dorado County paper:

http://www.villagelife.com/entertainment/oak-ridge-grad-awarded-visual-arts-grant/





WELCOME

It took a little time, and some definite tech/design help from friends (thank you Melinda Arendt), but I'm finally very excited to announce the launch of this new website! As a work in progress, I've added a select amount of pieces to view with hopes to expand in the near future; more sub-sections with different facets of older work, a few commissions, and new work as it's completed. I'll also be adding some larger sized prints for sale in my shop soon.  For now, I have the limited edition reduced size (11" x 14") prints on archival paper for just $25. 

The last six months or more have been a whirlwind of activity and great new opportunities. Artist, curator, and all around awesome guy Tony Natsoulas was integral in adding some of my work to a group exhibition at the Shimo Center for the Arts in July. The show was up for two months, closing in September, and even got a nice write up in the Sacramento News and Review.


In late September, I helped curate a modern take on an old fashioned 19th century salon party. The Salon de Mystere et Funk's: Half Hazard was held at a pop up gallery in a turn of the century victorian flat featuring the work of Sacramento artists Jesse Vasquez, Jeff Musser, Ben Hunt, Justin Marsh, Melissa and Melinda Arendt, myself and more. The ideas and libations flowed freely amidst a great collection of eclectic work! 

More updates and works soon to come! Stay tuned!