Tuesday, September 30, 2008
I am just a few days away from moving into my new studio, so the excitement level is pretty high. As I begin to pack up the cramped mess I currently occupy, I stumbled across these "test prints" that I created earlier this summer. They functioned more like working sketches than actual test prints, as the final piece was a 4' x 8' screenprinted collage of imagery and techniques. The 'final' piece was an editorial illustration of Elvis, John Wayne, Bruce Lee and Evel Knievel...the test prints above, on (***gasp***) 18" x 24" newsprint, were used to work out color and image compositions as well as test/empty screens. Of the thirty or so test prints, I consider 5 or 6 of them 'strong' enough to be finished pieces in their own right, despite the ragged edges, pinholes and non-archival paper.
Sunday, September 28, 2008
We all need 'Heroes'; people that we (subconsciously) make bigger than life, people that inspire and enrich our lives. I rarely speak in hyperbole, but I can say, without doubt, that John Cage has had a more profound impact on me than any other artist I have ever known. His involvement with indeterminacy and chance operations as well as his employment of structure/discipline in the highest order are absolutely fascinating. His history is also rich and complex with other creatives; Duchamp, Rauschenberg, Johns, Merce Cunningham, Karlheinz Stockhausen, etc...Cage is limitless in inspiration, techniques, curiosity, questions and solutions. He is a truly fascinating individual. I have been studying his work (as well as his many collaborators) for nearly ten years, and it never gets boring (although often very complex and challenging).
Poet, public speaker, mycologist, printmaker, painter, filmmaker, macrobiotic, performer, composer, Zen Buddhist, this guy did it all.
To summarize, his work is REALLY beautiful stuff.
Friday, September 26, 2008
Thursday, September 25, 2008
Stoppages, screenprint, ink on paper, 19" x 24", each 1/1, 2008.
Earlier this year, I spent several weeks exploring the possibilities of using silkscreens as a 'drawing' tool. By that I mean, I am using the medium (which is typically used to mechanically repeat the same image over and over) to slowly weave a unique and indeterminate line, in a linear and mobius-like fashion. Each print is unique.
The screens are essentially photograms; they are 'composed' by using gravity and dropping a single length of string onto a sensitized screen. It is then exposed and cleared, leaving me with a single, arbitrarily-composed line. I repeat that process a total of three times to create three separate, individual screens, each with a unique form. From there, I begin printing, one screen and one line at a time. It's a very slow process to arrive at 'finished' prints like the ones above; each shade of gray represents a single pass of a single screen, so there are roughly 12-15 passes per print.
These prints were conceptually inspired by Duchamp's '3 Stoppages Etalon' work of 1915, where he used similar elements of chance and gravity to compose a line. I really had no idea what the finished line was going to look like, it was changing and evolving with each pass of the squeegee. I feel like the result is a little reminiscent of Brice Marden's Cold Mountain works, and I don't think I mind that at all.
Monday, September 22, 2008
If you 'dislike' the Drip Paintings, then I am sure the Action Drawings will further irritate you. Obviously, the titles of both series are tongue in cheek references to the 'great' modern American masters.
I think that there IS a conceptual connection between these Action Drawings, the Drip Paintings and the Nonrepresentational Photographs; they are all speak to/of/from the inherent syntax of the materials from which they are made. Certainly, each work questions the preconceived function of the respective medium; instead of being presented with a trompe l'oeil mirror or a window, the viewer sees a seemingly informationless, flat, physical object/plane.
( And yes, I know I have posted this time lapse link before, but this time I wanted to embed it to make it easier to find/reference. And yes, it IS stupid to draw with a dumb hat on your head, so don't do it!)
Thanks to Geoff Pitchford, proprietor and webmaster over at ArtistADay.com, for putting some of my stuff up on his site today. Also, thanks to all of the artistaday.com members that have been visiting my blog page. Many of them have posted some very interesting comments on the Drip Paintings, so thanks to those of you made the time to post a comment there. (Maybe I will address some of those comments in a future post, which could be interesting.)
With that being said, I thought it would be good to show a macro shot of one of the paintings, because at 72 dpi, that flat, hard-edged detail and canvas texture is lost. It's ironic that such simple work reproduces so poorly in digital format....above is the standard 10" x 10" x 3" canvas shown up close and personal.
Thursday, September 18, 2008
Diverse Chorus opens today at the Neurotitan Gallery in Berlin. I thought it was kind of nutty to see my artist statement translated into German...
Trotz der grossen Bandbreite von Medien und Techniken, folgt JRF immer einem konkreten Konzept, um die endgültige Ästhetik der Darstellung zu bestimmen. Sich wiederholende minimalistische Formen werden dabei typischerweise benutzt, um den viel komplexeren Inhalt zu verdecken, der sich direkt unter der Oberfläche befindet. Die Bilder der "Drip" -Serie lassen die Tendenz des Künstlers erkennen, vorgefasste Meinungen wie ein bild funktionieren sollte, spielerisch herauszufordern. JRF wurde 1971 geboren. Der Künstler lebt und arbeitet in Los Angeles.
Photos above of/from correspondent/curator, Kevin E. Taylor, on location in Berlin.
I just received an email from good friend, Kevin E. Taylor, who is in Berlin putting together the Diverse Chorus show at Neurotitan Gallery. He attached a few photos of the weeks' activities and I was most intrigued with these; interior shots of the German flat he's been crashing at. Upon seeing them, I had immediate associations with Cuba, William Eggleston and, of course, The Lives of Others.
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
I had a strange flash of inspiration a few days ago...a friend of mine has a birthday coming up and I happened to remember he's fan of a certain East Coast ball club. With a little research, I was able to dig up some appropriate and authentic team graphics from the 60's. I busted out the pencils, brushes and ink to craft up a worthy gift...detail of 22" x 30", ink and graphite on paper.
(P.S. If you happen to know the intended recipient, please don't tip him off! hahahha)
Once again, more skateboarding nostalgia. This time, the classic Vato Rat.
Even before I knew much about skateboarding 'culture' (or the 1980's phenomenon called Powell Peralta), I was familiar with this image, and it was already synonymous with skateboarding. Probably 20 years went by until I learned that the artist was also the same mind behind the visual identity of the Future Primitive graphics, among many more. I know that I have personally drawn the Vato Rat a thousand times or more, and none of them as good as the original. Something about those drips....ahahhaha. Thanks Stecyk!
Photos above from my autograph-peppered copy of Disposable, "Nostalgia sucks, but I can't stop the affliction!" Sean Cliver.
Monday, September 15, 2008
I guess when you're camouflaging color as subject matter, you gotta make it count. 150+ homemade color swatches created from the stock of on-hand aerosol help to scoot the process along.
I am beginning to think that previsualization isn't always the preferred method, but I do know that wearing latex gloves is a must.
Sunday, September 14, 2008
Since moving to Los Angeles four years ago, I have been without a real studio workspace. That has been tough and I have been making do with a converted garage the past two years, but it's been very cramped and limiting. Now, after months of searching and negotiating, I am finally closing a deal on a new studio space (just in the nick of time, too, with 4 upcoming group shows in the next 3 months). It will become the nerve center for all my creative endeavors, functioning as both my commercial design office and my fine art studio. There's still a lot of preparation work to do before I am completely operational, but expect to see a public, open studio event later this fall.
Saturday, September 13, 2008
Thursday, September 11, 2008
There's a fantastic new shop in my neighborhood, it's called Fresh Pressed. It's essentially a DIY screenprinting facility and they hosted their first art show/event last week. The participating artists were on hand to do live screenprinting on T's and paper for the masses; very fun, very cool.
The shop has a great vibe and is a fantastic resource for anyone who is creative and motivated.
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
Drafting up artist statements still remains a painful procedure; despite years of practice, it never seems to get any easier. A good statement should be short and concise; give the viewer enough introductory information to set them along a worthwhile path. Don't make it a doctoral thesis; it will bore them. Besides, the work should be able to speak for itself. Hopefully, my newest statement is close to the target...
"Depsite working with a wide variety of media and techniques, JRF always allows a concept to guide the final aesthetic. Repetitive and minimal forms are typically used to disguise much more complex content lying just beyond the surface. The Drip Paintings are indicative of the artist's tendency to playfully challenge preconceptions of how a painting should function."
Information for the upcoming exhibit in Berlin, Diverse Chorus, is now up on the venue's website, Neurotitan Gallery. The show opens September 19th, 2008 and continues until October 11, 2008. I have 4 new Drip Paintings in the show, each 10" x 10" x 3", and a detail of one is shown above.
Tuesday, September 9, 2008
Deathbowl to Downtown made it's west coast premiere at the Directors Guild of America (Thank you to the DGA for hosting us) here in Los Angeles last night. Directors Rick Charnoski and Buddy Nichols (editor Noah Goldsmith, too!) were on hand to talk to the press as well as the audience. The last rough cut that I had seen dated back to late April and the film has come a long way since then. Jocko Weyland did a great job on the script/story, Chloe Sevigny's narration was actually pretty decent and some of the rare footage of Gonz (one of my all time favorites) was amazing. It was great to see a thorough mix of young and old, east coast/west coast skateboarders in the audience, from Lizard King to Andy Kessler, Felix Arguelles to Lance Mountain. It was also encouraging to see Fuel TV on hand (with my poster design as the press backdrop) conducting a few interviews.
Again, many thanks to Bud, Charno and Goldie for allowing me to participate in their project. Congrats, guys; "LABOR DAY 2008 AND JUST FINISHING THIS THING!!"
Sunday, September 7, 2008
...starting to prepare for several upcoming art shows this fall. Time to crank 'em out; 'Drip Paintings', each 10" x 10" x 3", enamel on gessoed canvas. Above is a commission of 25 individual works I recently completed for a west coast patron/collector/enthusiast. Thanks for the support!!
Friday, September 5, 2008
Last summer, my friend and fellow skateboarder, Greg Roman, invited me to participate in a series of artist time lapse films he had been making. After a few weeks of brainstorming, I finally came up with the perfect solution; to continue a series of drawings I have been doing for a number of years. After discussing it with Greg, he came over late one night (after the studio had cooled down to a tolerable temperature) and we proceeded to make this piece together, at one sitting. I also created the accompanying audio track for the short, recreating my own previous performance of Steve Reich's 'Pendulum Music'.
Thursday, September 4, 2008
Wednesday, September 3, 2008
Copper Diptych, 20" x 20", toned silver gelatin prints, push pins, 1993-94.
Violet Square, 20" x 20", toned silver gelatin print, push pins, 1993-94.
These pieces are slightly older than 'Bleached Rectangles', during a time when I was still making most of my own toners from scratch and intentionally dinging the prints. These were also some of my first square-format, single sheeters. It was always amazing to see how the toned prints oxidized and began to develop an actual patina upon the metal. The surfaces of these things look like 19th century Daguerreotypes or wet plate collodion prints.
Somehow, both of these pieces managed to sell back in 1995. Two of the three sales TOTAL I had that year...
Here's a selection from my most mature, cohesive and comprehensive body of work, which I refer to as Nonrepresentational Photographs. I started making them in the summer of 1992 and have continued them in various forms ever since...formally speaking, they are all conventional photographic materials (light sensitive enlarging papers/films) that have been exposed to light in some manner (sometimes controlled, sometimes arbitrary) and then fixed/recorded/processed in conventional photographic chemistry. No camera is used, no negative is produced, no image is present. They are completely devoid of any representational imagery (hence, the title). The finished works are typically collaged/assembled and combined into some sort of overall installation. Of course, the running joke in art school was that I was the 'photo major who didn't use a camera'.
Bleached Rectangles, above, is 90 silver gelatin prints and push pins, measuring 72" x 100", and was created in the summer of 1995, shortly after acquiring my first, real art studio (on west Congress St. in downtown Savannah, GA). This particular piece was some sort of 'breakthrough' for me and served as a keystone to a whole related series of subsequent works.
I am starting the process of digitizing/archiving my slide portfolios of this work, so I image I will be sharing selections here as needed to break the monotonous procedure...
Tuesday, September 2, 2008
I recently saw this great short 'doc' that features a fantastic editorial rant by designer Aaron Draplin, a man with a real passion about signage in America. A lot of what he discusses in the video really resonated with me, but unfortunately, it's not limited to only the genre of roadside vernacular; it pretty much extends into about 90% of the more disposable consumer goods in the US. Of course, all of this seemed extra poignant while spending the previous week in (visual) Sin City, aka Las Vegas. The city is a disorienting visual nightmare/assault resulting in a groggy, ocular hangover. There are only a few of the classic signs (Frontier, above) remaining along the Strip these days, and there seems to be less and less neon (and more and more horribly animated LED screens). All of which proves to me that poorly-conceived animation is no substitute (or competition) for more straight-foward, well-executed, graphic design. (I strongly believe that it's one of the moral 'duties' for designers NOT to send more crap out into our visual world). Clearly, many of the sign companies doing business in Las Vegas are contributing this 'Why America is F*cked ....(Graphically at least)" syndrome...
My good friend Kevin Taylor came to LA last weekend to visit. I have been telling him about this really fun skate spot up at Griffith Park for months and as soon as he pulled into town, I made him go ride it with me. It was a fun session and Kevin shot a few photos....frontside stand up on my 10" x 30" snub nose Powell re-issue, loose Indy 159's and super soft 85A Rat Bones. Thanks, Kevin, and let's skate again soon!