Beading to me is a very solitary process. Looking at the image that I am trying to represent in my medium can be tedious and challenging, but the rewards are plenty.
Knowing that I am going to be seated for a little while (an album design takes me about 2 hours), I usually opt for the “Netflix and Chill” approach to artmaking. This means that I turn on Netflix and let it go while I lay down one. bead. at. a. time…
As for the genre, typically I opt for documentaries when I work. My rationale is that there is not a “plot” per se and I don’t need to pay as much attention to the visuals to grasp what is happening. To be more specific, I am a big fan of the Fashion Documentary, and one documentary that I cannot get enough is “The September Issue”.
I recently re-watched the film and was reminded of how much I love it for it’s outrageous characters, addictive soundtrack, not to mention its manufactured drama —Will Anna get the Coliseum shot?!? Will there be enough bags in the shoot?!? Will Grace have to shoot yet again in Alder Mansion (which, as the line goes, is an “ugly fucking house”)?!? Cue dramatic music and GASP!
Since I have seen it so many times, I pretty much recite the movie as I build my piece. And by this I am not exclusively talking about the bombastic quotes that even a one-time viewer may be able to regurgitate (ie. anything uttered by the regal André Leon Talley), but even the more obscure, yet pointed zingers. Who can ever forget Tonne Goodman standing her ground and telling the timorous art director that “I know she needs more bags, but you know – YOU GET WHAT YOU GET” in response to the demands of Editrix Wintour. Sometimes I even insert quotes from the movie when in conversation with another friend of mine who is well versed. Obsessions can do that to you.
By the time you know it, two hours have almost elapsed and Anna’s met with the powers that be at Condé Nast, Grace's tableaus are vindicated, and the issue is off to the presses! Cue fun, pop music with a commercial bent but still just the right amount of indie! The music of the end credits usually means I have enough on my board to ruminate and marinate and I can think about my next piece. And so starts the process all over again. After all, as André says, "THERE IS A FAMINE OF BEAUTY HUNNY.... A FAM-INE OF BEAU-TY!"
Do you do anything while you work? Share your obsessions with me in the comments below!
When I think of the work David Hockney, images of crisp swimming pools, intensely saturated landscapes, and mesmerizing portraits of friends come to mind. All of these facets of the artist's oeuvre, of course, are present at "David Hockney" currently at The Metropolitan Museum of Art. What took me by surprise, however, were Hockney's early works which reveled in Queerdom and unabashed sexuality.
The painting above was executed when Hockney was twenty-five years old in 1962 (Homosexuality was not decriminalized in Britain until 1967). The law did not keep Hockney from incorporating chains, vaseline, and tubes of ejaculating toothpaste in the painting. Much more raw than the later work, both in form and content, this painting was one of the standouts to me as it revealed a gestural drawing style that I didn't associate with Hockney.
A year later, the fluoride-swallowing, sadomasochistic monsters transform into sun-kissed, toned white boys in the shower replete with a red rotary phone (!!!). By this time the artist had relocated to sunny Los Angeles, a place that he had fantasized about.
"American's take showers all the time" remarked Hockney in the mid-70's. Undoubtedly the allure of wet bodies was too much for Hockney to ignore as half nude bodies in swimming pools would figure prominently in the artists work.
Also interesting was Hockney's interaction with the student body at UCLA where he taught a drawing class in the 60's. The model above was a young art student with whom Hockney became inseparable. In today's climate of nauseating political correctness and the ongoing witch hunt of sexual offenders, I cannot see a painting like the one above leaving the artist unscathed and unindicted. Yea for the 60's / Nay for the 60's — What do you think?
By the time we get to the inner galleries of the exhibition, spontaneous bottoms and exhibitionist bathers are replaced by clothed intellectuals in interior spaces. One senses a more refined approach to the work. The spaces are less flat and shapes are depicted in space in a very realistic way. Underneath the tight surface of the paintings, however, you still are welcomed into Hockey's world of queer life and freedom in homosexuality.
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Last month while traveling in Tokyo I stumbled across "The Doraemon 2017 Exhibition" at The Mori Art Center Gallery. It was inspiring to see an entire show devoted to 28 artists who have been inspired by the iconic, robotic cat whose image has become so emblematic of Japanese anime and manga.
The range of media and variety of artistic practices displayed in the exhibition reveals the level of freedom the artists had in creating their pieces. That said, the one constant, Doraemon himself, is represented uniquely throughout.
While photographer Mika Ninagawa explored a very physical relationship with a very fictional character, Miran Fukuda depicted an ethereal Doraemon whose existence is literally comprised of gods and demons plucked straight from Japanese folklore.
Takashi Murakami blended his own manga iconography with that of Doraemon creator Fujiko Fujio to create a hypnotic amalgam that embodied the past, present and future of manga and it's unrelenting hold on the Japanese psyche.
Doraemon becomes fitting inspiration for costume in Yasumasa Morimura and Junko Koike's sculptural piece depicting the character's familiar characteristics on a female mannequin in dress form.
Kayo Ume shared personal photographs of her family and their love of the esteemed cat from the future. I saw my own family creating their own memories by going to this show.
One of my favorite artists Yoshitomo Nara contributed the usual suspects — portraits of menacing children, this time dressed in ambiguous feline costumes, lending a haunting atmosphere to the otherwise jubilant show.
The show ended in a hysteric burst of joy in Sebastian Masuda's giant Doraemon sculpture made of toys and fur.
Overall I thought the show was a exciting display of contemporary art and it's engagement with lo-brow comic culture. Pop artists like Warhol and Lichtenstein come to mind as they shared certain themes in their own work.
Do you have a particular relationship with Doraemon? If so, how does the character resonate in your world??
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