Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Writing is like pulling a tooth, or worse.

Writing is tough to do. It requires concentration, skill and enough sobriety to be able to read through the slurs. The ideas are easy to come by. I have an abundance of overwhelming conceptual dribble that pulls your brain into a struggle with reality to the point that I have to try and explain it to others. I know the world would be a better place if we did not have to prove things to each other, but without a confirmation that our ideas exist then we are without challenge to existence. The point here is that I have teeth that need my attention, but I would rather suffer through the pain than deal with it, however I cannot deal with the pain that if I do not write I will pass on the very point of existence.

The original ideas that I was so concerned about have now been lost due to this distraction listed above, but I am writing and that is the underlying requirement to conceptual transmigration of ideas. Part of the concept / struggle that I am dealing with is the chemical difference between dyes and pigments. Techically it isn't relevant to much and not worth discussing, but on a conceptual level I find a paralell with my earlier concepts. I have always been amazed at the process of photography as much as the results (argggh today I dropped a digital camera in the mud and screamed) that are shown in their final form as silver prints on paper. The idea that the underlying molecular structure of the silver allowed these items to be interpreted artistically was an early part of my conceptual misunderstanding of composition, since composition on a moleculer level is truly the ultimate determinate of the final visual composition. The separation of the molecular to the conceptual is where we are delusional and ultimately duped by chemical based arts.

The reason why photography is valid as an art form is that is no less chemically dependent than painting on the final product. The craft required to make photographic prints is far more complex, but then so seems the honeycomb to the ant hill. Underlying all of these process, including the biological ones, we are in essence dealing with interpretation as the abritrator and therefore we have the problem. ART is not with the making, but with the viewer and chemically we are on the same level as the ant.

I come to this point as I am struggling with where I am and where I how did I get here. I continue to see large paralells with my earlier artistic endeavors which reinforces the idea that when you are younger you should just work, don't ask questions, just work. The work will take you where you want to go, not the questions or answers to questions. Then later you will have something to look at and consume. Now I am at the point where I can deduce that in 20 years I have not gotten very far. I have stopped or I have been in a loop or I am further than I realize or there is no where to go. That last sentence was really fun. I am going to post some pictures now of a variety of works that show that even if I have had 20 years I still cannot escape my own astetic and every thing I make ends up looking a certain way.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

What Have I Become?

These are trying times and I must admit that without huge profits the toiling that is required to keep a business running over the years often removes the fun and joy that having a job should include. I don't like having to be happy that I am still in business as an accomplishment like somehow I have climbed Mount Everest or survived a fall from a tall building, but this is the way things are in the United States in 2010. Especially for those of us in business on the ground, those of us who don't have deep pockets or a govenment bailout, those of us who are not too big to fail, but are too small to care about. Many are gone and the leasing agent for the property is the only one standing around telling the story of the businesses that once were.

I've kept my head low and moved through the crossfire of this economic downturn. I've modified pricing, reduced hours and streamlined my services to limit my exposure to risk, but I have never wanted to be in business just to be in business. As such the slowing economy has forced me to go back to the things I enjoy, to create. In the old days, the nineties, during the off season/winter months after Xmas, I used to take up my screens and play with canvas. For awhile I even used to sell my paintings on the street in San Francisco as an artist until the spring returned and t-shirts came back in demand. At times I look back on those days with nostalgia and wonder just What have I become? Why haven't I turned my business into a successful art gallery or continued to build on my talents instead of scraped for pennies in wholesale t-shirt barrel?

To some degree I have used my business to broaden my skills, but there is always a commercial element that cheapens the results. I always feel like I have to sell or create sellable items. Now I am driven deeper into this valley by having merged my printing with painting and I have finally found the right combination of art and merchandise that entertains my brain in the process. This must be what I have been after all along, or this is simply the result of being thrown back into an economic downturn that lasted longer than one winter break. Usually I don't get to finish my projects because the snow melts and the business returns, but not this time. Last year I waited until spring like Bandini and I didn't have to drop my brushes and return to the Mill. I just kept mixing and painting and stretching and printing. I trained and thought and tested my materials. I discussed the process at length with specialist here and there. I found the right materials that combine economy, color and texture in so many ways that I don't know where I started and I am not sure where I am. This is why it seems like I am at the right point to name, produce and promote these works which I currently call "photfrescos".

The images shown on the linked website is not the most recent work, but some of the results of my summer experimentation. I think I have reached a new horizon by dealing with and overcoming a fragility issue, as well as, going back to the drawing board for creating original artwork that I can use for making these "photfrescos". I don't think I am at the end, but I need to move into a production phase or I won't have enough time left to make the final pieces that need to be created to show this type of work. Basically this item is a faux ceramic, plaster based, print that is made from photographic artwork. In this case the artwork is screen printed paintings, or screen paintings. The pigments or dyes are merged with the plaster in a wet process that often adds back into the work a texture, but also allows me to produce tactile prints that aren't like flatwork and don't feel temporary. I'll provide some photos now that I have explained what I am after here.

In the meantime I am also developing the website for t-shirts and expanding the product line, but since things are slow, I don't feel the rush to get things done. Check out my progress on expanding the cheap blank t-shirt wholesale line here.