Monday, March 22, 2010

Saturday, December 19, 2009

not sure what she sees in me

Larry Sultan-3Larry Sultan died this last sunday of cancer. Heres his NY Times obituary. His was one of my all time favorite artist lectures to date. He came to Portland not too long ago. Something in his face just showed a pleasure in what he did and a genuineness I admired. His work contained a lot of things I like; it challenged him, it's subtle meanings were something you had to search for, and each piece had as much a dark side as it did a beautiful. The other thing about him was that I could tell he had a lot of the qualities I look for in a teacher (he taught at CCA) the main one being the ability to empathize with someone way different from himself. Being a new teacher myself, I was looking closely at what made him so effective.
Anyway, I was glad to catch him before he went out. Best to you Larry.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Monday, November 30, 2009

West Coast Turnaround

Its true sometimes hearing an artist talk about a piece can sometimes ruin it. It can turn something complex and elusive into something you can catch, kill, and categorize like a butterfly. But I don't mind giving some of our process away.

Crystal and I wanted to embark on a collaboration and we sat down during a walk one day and arrived at the idea of a semi coming out of a wall. I don't even really remember how but it was spontaneous and we both were struck by the thought. We also happened to have extra drywall around and realized it was the perfect material for a large object that was going to integrate with architecture that was made with the same stuff. To walk around it is really like moving through a hall with a particularly dominant wall. It really feels permanent. But it won't be. We are taking it down this weekend after 2 weeks of final display. My dad made an apt connection to Moby Dick and I really love the allusion.

We went to a truck fair south of Portland and photographed hundreds of trucks so we could pick out details we liked. We combined those details into our own custom truck to help it become an allegory for a trucker. The rows after rows of trucks somehow personalized to be unique seemed to be a big part of the culture. Even if that doesn't really come across that was on our minds.

Along the way, for me at least, there entered in the story of the trucker and it became more about that. The final piece doesn't say much about it other than in the hood ornament and the fact you can actually sleep in the sleeper cab, but I am really in to the last cowboy idea and the truck for me is just a big symbol for the mystery surrounding the person in it. The sleeper cab became a huge challenge for me and I wanted to put another somehow humanizing installation in it to get that across but in the end I didn't want to detract from the impact of the actual thing we spent so much time on. The truck. So we just slept in the cab and made it our own little mystery.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Paintallica, Bark Savages

Here's the log we decorated then destroyed in LA.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Nice Piece by Dan


All my paintings and neon come from a process of creating a new image every day. For seven years I did a painting every weekday, now I do daily drawings. This is partially out of respect for all of the people I know who work regular jobs, because I don't consider myself different from them. It's also partially out of an enjoyment of the freedom I have in my practice and a desire to push myself and see what I can come up with next. Finally, it's because I have an interest in maintaining a record of my intellectual development, for myself, and for anthropological purposes.

As part of my commitment to all of these things, it's my opinion that honesty plays an important role in choosing the images I make. What I take to be "honest" is a matter of paying attention to things that I'm genuinely interested in. To me this means listening to my biological and intellectual needs without worrying about looking socially unacceptable, smart, out of touch or pandering to my conscience. From any given series of ideas to draw or paint, I'll choose those that have a certain "electricity" to them, that hold my attention and get me excited or engaged.

In order to maintain vitality my process has to remain flexible. I can't hold myself to any one line of thought, a style, or subject matter. At the same time, I'm a slow learner, and there are certain things that seem to be limitless in their value to me, such as: wilderness landscapes, sex and violence. These particular subjects are due to things I imprinted on in my rural childhood, things I have attraction to as a male human and things related to social and cultural anxieties.

At this point in the evolution of this daily process (I'm about at the twelve year mark) most of the images that hold my attention come from a place that is best described as "peripheral". These are things that my deliberate mind is a little too dumb to run into on its linear path, but it can sometimes help out. Often, it's hard to recreate these images because it's like they're in the corner of my eye, and if I look directly at them, they change shape. Sometimes, I watch them roll through my head right before I go to sleep.

Almost all of my images are entirely invented. I only use photographs or other source materials as reference (in most cases), the way a writer would use a dictionary. It's my belief that invented images contain more nuanced information related to development. In addition, there's a pure rush of excitement that comes from making an image that didn't exist in the world before.

Over time, these peripheral images have gotten more complicated. Things like atmosphere, depth, dimension and details in character of people and places have gotten more specific and increased in their range of complexity (some of them are still pretty simple). The result is that I've broadened the spectrum of art that I look at to inform my painting. My painting process owes much to early American artists like Thomas Moran, Frederic Edwin Church and Albert Bierstadt, as well as other "traditional" painters like Frederic Remington, Caspar David Friedrich, Edward Hopper and Andrew Wyeth. I feel a huge respect for their facility with paint, and I respond to their ability to create an environment and convey character.

Of course, the meat of my work is actually very little about standing on these men's shoulders, or even about relating to the art world at all. Far more important to maintaining vitality and "usefulness" to myself, and anyone else who may be interested in the development of someone from this time and place is the part of my process that I call "Field Research". By this I mean just going out and participating in the world the way a guy my age, of my upbringing, who lives where I do, would. This part of my job is pretty hard to do wrong. I just get to do the things that I want to do: hiking, surfing, taking road trips, spending time with friends, etc. The things that set my work apart from someone such as Thomas Moran, other than my interests (some might say quality), are in many cases simply products of my time: I can travel places in shorter time than he could, I have access to technology that allows me to see the world in different ways, maintain dialogs with many people easily and offer insights into things that might never have occurred to me otherwise, I also have an awareness of the changing of the world socially and environmentally ˆ all of this contributes to the sensibility of my work. I understand that the information in my work will be received in varying degrees by different viewers, but I hope that some usefulness can be obtained by anyone.

Peres Projects

Friday, August 21, 2009


I buy a new bar of deodorant roughly every 2 years.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Too many aspirations

I don't really feel like a writer, but as I get more and more intrigued by different kinds of stories the more I find I'm trying to come up with them. The work I keep doing lately seems to mirror little elements of stories and the more I add these little developments like segments of a plot or little glimpses of a character the more interested I am in the skill it takes to make them up.
I think writing takes great empathy, diligence, imagination and just as much self indulgence as it does to do what I do. And the things I have been reading lately have been really inspiring. I like to read several things at once, usually a magazine article or two, a piece of fiction, and a piece of non fiction. Right now I have The Monkey Wrench Gang by Edward Abbey (my first of his), David Quammen's The Reluctant Mr. Darwin (a biography focused on post Beagle voyage when he was stewing so hard on everything, and an interview with Robert Gober from an old Modern Painter I have in the bathroom. All of them are good so far and each have a little something that I want to copy or emulate in some way. That is usually my indicator of a success. Sometimes the parts I want to ripp off might be just that the author was so obsessed with understanding someone else's train of thought or how they observe something and then find the right adjective to put next to it.

So I'm going to keep on making elements of my sculptures seem as though they are from different narratives, or maybe the same, in hopes that I can soon come up with a good piece of writing soon. It will be a round about way to get to something but I think whatever happens it will make the process tough but fulfilling.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Paintallica Video

I'm in this art group and its awesome. Paintallica was in the Time Based Art festival in Portland last September. This video was compiled by Jeff Fedge. I'm in the elephant mask.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

mini revelation

There comes a point in time when you simply can't get any more tooth paste out of the tube.

Friday, August 22, 2008


This is a collaborative art group made up of a bunch of people from all over the place. Last year some time I got to be friends with a bunch of the members at Dan Attoe's wedding party. My buddy Gordon had invited me along and they seemed cool with letting Gordon and I join in the group. It is going to be a killer experience. We pretty much have free reign of a space on Burnside for a bunch of days. No one knows what to expect, least of all me.
But it should be damn fun.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Dan Attoe

A friend and classmate, Cyrus Smith, does a radio show at school. Here's an interview with Dan. I'm regularly struck by how clear he is about his influences. Good painter. Nice guy.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Good ole Vanguard

Here's an article on my thesis show.