Below are archived articles and images from when I first started the website in fall 2011 to fall 2013. This archive is a timeline of my work from the last couple of years.
Inspired by the end of summer and onset of winter "Wisconsin Autumn (Numbers 9-12)" tributes all northerners too familiar with the realities of change. The plastic composition is non objective in form but alludes to an abstract fall landscape and lake relection. True of other examples in recent work, "Wisconsin Autumn (Numbers 9-12)," attempts to push and pull the line between non objective and abstract representation.
The title, "Wisconsin Autumn (Numbers 9-12)", pays homage and responds to Jackson Pollock's "Autumn Rhythm (Number 30)" (1950) and somewhat "Number 5" (1946). In "Number 5," Pollock labels his work solely as an artifact rather than a window of representation; inversely "Autumn Rhythm (Number 30)" possesses similar aesthetics and form as "Number 5" however the title is a direct reference to the natural world.
The tactic of form based/ non representational titling was used by many modernists before and after Pollock throughout the 20th century: ie Mondrian "Composition II in Red, Blue, and Yellow (1937–42), Malevich "White on White" (1918), Albers "Homage to the Square" (series 1950-1976). Whereas these same artists and their Modernist contemporaries used similar non objective aesthetics in form yet based their titles in representation: ie Malevich "Suprematism Composition: Aeroplane Flying" (1915), Mondrian "New York City I" (1942), Kenneth Noland "Bridge" (1964). Comparing and contrasting the significance of non objective v. representational forms and titles is subtle yet substantial; it has been the basis of much of my wonder in recent art and research.
Though delving into nuanced differences within the development of abstraction, I attempt to primarily uphold content and expression as the most important element of my art making. In "Wisconsin Autumn (Numbers 9-12)" I explore form through geometric abstraction and scientific color as a means of expressing my subject's context: autumn as the feeling of summer's end barreling and stagnant on winter's doorstep.
Being first inspired by Milwaukee's changing season seen outside a window, I rushed to record the essence of my memory and its attached symbolism in a digital format. Though it wasn't until I completed the work and title of "Wisconsin Autumn (Numbers 9-12)" when I began to develop relationships and ties to other historical artworks. The primary connection was Jackson Pollock's "Autumn Rhythm (Number 30)," which come to find out was painted exactly 63 years ago in October 1950. This odd fact led me to consider how human thought is patterned and repeated throughout time. And in regards to my own attitute and analysis of representation v. non objection I will leave you with this fitting Pollock quote explaining the artistic philosophy of abstract expressionism, "I'm very representational some of the time, and a little all of the time. But when you're working out of your unconscious, figures are bound to emerge. … Painting is a state of being. … Painting is self-discovery. Every good artist paints what he is."
These works are reactions to post-painterly abstraction and inversely the role of gesture throught the artist's hand in abstract expressionism. I reference the influence of suprematism, abstract expressionism, and post-painterly abstraction to convey expression versus art as simply object. Primarily, I focus on CMY/RGB color theory but attempt to comment upon how expressionism devates in digital medium, opposed to painting, due to the artists hand being removed from 'physical' making of the object. In this sense I compare what is understood as "post-painterly" by revealing its most basic elements in digital process.
Referenced artists: Frank Stella, Kazimir Malevich, Jackson Pollock, Johannes Itten, Josef Albers. Enjoy!
Practicing essential design techniques while prepping lessons. These pieces are influenced by basic color theory, Mondrain, Matisse, Malevich, Rodchenko and El Lissitzky. Styles influenced: Russian Constructivism, Suprematism, Neoplasticism, Fauvism. Enjoy!
In part, I see art as a giant conversation between artists of the past, present, and future. This is why I value art history as part of my own creative process, I thoroughly enjoy chiming in to this conversation when I see fit by adding and responding to the ideas presented throughout history. For example, light fields respond to non-objective movements of Color Field, Neoplasticism, and Supermatism. In early drawings, I reference elements of post-impressionism, expressionism, cubism, futurism, and abstract expressionism. In addition, the title of a prided early sculpture is “Hobby-Horse” that translates directly to “Dada”; this piece challenges if a formalist sculpture can possess the ideals of Dadaism that in theory “dismisses” formalism.
I consider myself an advocate and enthusiast of art history as it applies to thoughtful art making, and in recent studies, I have been researching the nuances between movements and theories surrounding the contemporary era and post-modernism. I came across post-modernism, transmodernism, altermodernism, remodernism, post-postmodernism. Analyzing the subtleties was both captivating and exhausting. I concluded that these emerging theories are both vital towards portraying the contemporary era, and inversely arbitrary and bogged down by petty details that express nothing except for an insignificant difference in opinion.
More to consider/ enough is enough.
The feeling of embracing importance of these contemporary theories versus the rejection of their entitled influence led me to ponder a new theory titled Istism. The name is both necessary to describe itself and redundant in its definition. “Ist” refers to an individual ascribing to a particular or set of theories (cubist, Dadaist, modernist) and “Ism” refers to a movement or array of theories one can ascribe to (impressionism, formalism, postmodernism).
The theory, in its foundation, sets out to allow an artist to simultaneously accept and reject every movement, idea, artwork, and perception relating to art or otherwise. The theory attempts itself from pigeonholing itself into one ideation but is open to all ideas as they relate to each other in an effort to become an all-aware thinker, simultaneously the theory promotes the ability to reject all ideas (even its own) to avoid naively accepting perceived certainties as inherent or absolute truth. In ideal application, the theory is almost a type of mediation or mindset where once can possess absolutes of acceptance, rejection, and indifference applied to generality and the specific. Outside of art it can serve as an ethical bearing when evaluating choice and action in human objectives.
Istism is influenced by the psychological state of “cognitive dissonance” which is the experience of simultaneously holding two or more conflicting cognitions: ideas, beliefs, values or emotional reactions. Generally, cognitive dissonance is perceived as a negative and unbalanced state, in part, Istism agrees but also advocates that the discomfort experienced in upholding opposing ideas can be channeled into a larger state of harmony, balance, and understanding.
Set within the idea of the paradox, Istism can interpret absolutes as polar opposites rejecting one another as well as necessary to define the other. Example: a person has a conflict in believing in a god or set of higher powers. The person both believes that there could be some sort of higher power, while inversely is skeptical of the notion of a god based on the lack of physical evidence. This conflict of opinion does not mandate that one is a believer or considered an atheist: I infer that one can simultaneously reject each side while upholding them both as tentative or absolute truths. Agnosticism is perceived as an abstention of either side but in fact acknowledges both possibilities and therefore is not removed, but is placed as a centralist position between religious and atheist. True agnostism would be an absolute of indifference (triad of acceptance, rejection, and indifference)- which may not be within a human capacity due to limitations of bias and expression.
Of two minds: defined/ as it is not
In art, the main influences of this movement (as they apply to my unique understanding) come from Dadaism, the essence of De Stjil, and other elements of modernism and contemporary art. I interpret Dada as a movement that challenged what was considered “Art” thus expanding its possibilities. It promoted paradoxes and upheld the concept over the artifact or mere aesthetic. De Stjil, interpreted as “The Style,” inferred its self as “The style that ended all styles” by deducing its application to geometric lines and shapes and using basic colors of red, yellow, and blue and the absolute values of white and black. These basic colors and shapes inferred that anything could be possible through an extended manipulation of line, form, and primary color. De Stjil simply reduced itself to the essentials of aesthetic elements.
Suggested by the influences Istism base becomes, “the style that begins and ends all styles.” Istism favors these two movements and accepts them fully, but inherently rejects them due upholding all movements and ideas even if they are contradictory or contain paradoxes. Though Dadaism and De Stjil movements are crucially influential to Istism’s stance that infers that anything (and nothing) is considered art and significant, and the basic mandates the complex (and vice versa).
Istism is sort of a joke onto itself. Having high contempt and validation (and every feeling in between) for academia as it defines what is significant art and its corresponding movements and key works. Academic means in criticizing art are as subjective as they are objective in relation to what was uniquely bias and previously “influential.” I believe serious artists are inherently attracted to the major works and movements throughout art history interpreted by historians. If you go to the Louvre for the first time, could you just pass up the chance to see the Mona Lisa? We have it in our heads that certain works are more influential, valued, and overall more important than others, this due to a number of factors: innovation, technical application, period, subjects, the list goes on. While this norm of hierarchy is upheld, should one uphold one work over another? I have my own reservations regarding this question, but I feel that its root comes from an ethical standpoint and refers to even larger questions- can you uphold one person as more important than another? And, is art essentially an extension of oneself making one more valid than another?
mine/ yours/ no ones/ everyones
Formal aesthetics are not to be stringent and can be inferred as non-characteristic of the Istism: The movement is intended to be inclusive or open towards all works and ideas while it is also exclusive or elitist in its analysis related to influences of art context. Istism is primarily present in works or within retrospective bodies that are paradoxical in context while revealing a strong reference to historical influences, individual and collective investigation, ambivalent social and ethical issues, and the extents and confides of the imagination versus the perception of reality. An example of paradoxical contexts seen in a retrospective body of work is Marcel Duchamp's comptempt for formalism in his dadaist works, "3 Standard Stoppages" (1913-14) and "The Fountain" (1917), opposed to his final installation "Etant Donnes" where formalism and naturalism are seemingly embraced. Other examples of paradoxical context could be viewed in Magritte's "The Treachery of Images" (1928-29) and "The Human Condition" (1933), as well as Mark Tansey's "Innocent Eye Test" (1981) which all present commentaries regarding representational art.
Istism is for everyone as it is for no one. Any artist or any work can be interpreted through an ismist lens but the theory is allusive and at times undefined and ungrounded in firm values aside from spectrums of “absolutes” adhering, rejecting, and abstaining contained contradictions and perspectives. Let’s compare gestalts and the elements and principles of design as an attempt to describe Ismistic properties. Proper balance of the gestalts as well as the elements and principles of design within a composition in theory create harmony and variety that in turn equals unity. According to the elements and principles, “unity” is achieved with proper and deliberate use of every compositional choice as they relate to one another within a form. Istism values this description of unity as seen in formalism but again fully rejects it and challenges it to a further degree. Istism resides almost entirely in a conceptual (non-formal/physical) application of an object in which its relative significance is determined by its context. Say you have the world’s most extravagant painting and exquisite marble sculpture aside one another, both are beautiful by possessing the ideal of formal unity. The viewer can praise each work for their formal elements but if the object lacks substantial context does the artifacts begin to lose perceived beauty according to formalism? In strict formalism, context is secondary, in Istism the instinct is to modify the work (L.H.O.O.Q.) to provide substantial context, provide a contradiction, and/ or create added layers of “unity” on its own/shared terms.
If the formal painting and sculpture lacks significant content, the forms will remain meaningless regardless of their high attention to aesthetics. This crisis can apply to the full range of formalism and can occur from naturalism through non-objective works if overarching contents are not applied. To create content one must challenge their work though an expressive inquiry or statement of layered belief. In the case of the painting and sculpture, there may be an approach to solve this crisis: one could deface or dismantle the works to showcase a demystification of formal aesthetics. Even though the point and context is implied through deconstruction, a new standard of formality can be inferred through analysis. So was the change necessary or even made? The original works upheld formalism that could serve as a context in itself similar to the compared deconstructed works that simply denotes anti-formalism. I do not believe that each case alone carries significant content unless they are directly associated with the other suggesting a juxtaposition of conflict and unity regarding formal aesthetics.
Absolutes: obtainable or not?
The absolutes of acceptance, rejection, and indifference represent virtues in thought and perception. I question whether these virtues can be truly obtained in thought and application or are they simply outside of our ability to comprehend. I compare true absolutes in Istism to the absolutes of color theory represented in additive primary colors. True primaries cannot be seen with the human eye and lay outside of the visual light spectrum. The colors that we know to be primaries (RGB) are not true primaries but are simply the closest we can get based on what is visible to the human eye. I compare this dilemma involving human perception of true primaries to our ability to possess acceptance, rejection, and indifference in their truest form. Does this dilemma involving the human condition suggest that we can strive to possess what is understood to be “absolute” but still may not be able to fully comprehend absolutes (virtues) in their truest, most pure forms?
Burn your paintbrushes and smash your chisel.
The following geometric and color field inspired images include unseen contexts and meanings that are interpreted through atypical objective understanding. If you read some of my recent posts, you may notice I am quite interested lately in attaching meaning and context to what appears to be superficial “non-objective” works. The work that I have created recently has ebbed and flowed between modernist interpretations of color theory and form, responses to 20th century non-objective and minimalist art, a challenging of contemporary aesthetics and the authenticity of physical-labored forms, and the application of an array of personal, subjective, and atypical objective interpretations within each “non-objective” form.
Non-objective works (specifically geometric abstraction or neo plasticism and post painterly abstraction) characterize abandoning representational subjects leaving only color and form to be subjects in of themselves. This may imply artwork that rejects representation do not possess objective context. However, objective context typically derives from superficial representation, but many non-objective artists often refer to nature, spirituality, and some form representation in their suggested contexts. 20th century artists working in the non-objective, I believe, attempted to rid their compositions from trivial representation but still upheld atypical objective contexts through their works overall meaning and interpretation. Thus can non-objective art truly free itself from objective context?
Atypical objective contexts refer to deeper implications of a non-objective work whose subjects, abstract forms, and content directly relate to objective meaning that requires very little subjective perspective to interpret as the artist intended. It is the very fine line between objectives as they cross over to subjective interpretation. Example: traditional objectives derive from rendered subjects in representational art. Representational art includes subjects that are never real or natural; they are merely renderings symbolic of an objective. “Non-objective” art that includes abstract forms that symbolize representational subjects can be atypically objective through implied context.
Spirituality, abstraction of nature, the supremacy of pure artistic expression, and other implied or subjective meanings become the objective/ representational contexts in themselves (even color and form become secondary to these atypical objectives). Though these objectives are implied and symbolized through total abstraction, the viewer and artist can become aware or construct an artifact’s subjective, sometimes limitless, interpretations. With that understanding, non-objective art on the surface does not possess representation or objective context, but though interpretation and imagination true non- objective forms have the capacity to carry very complex and dynamic subjects and narratives.
Interpreting representational art is static and limited in comparison to non-objective subjective interpretation. Representational forms interpret select subjects and places connected to feelings and ideas but non-objective art can be about anything and everything (like a dream). On the flip-side representational art has the advantage to be more descriptive and less ambitious in interpreting contexts and meaning.
This brings me to share some my latest works that are non-objective in nature but refer to specific atypical objective contexts that serve as a jumping point for deeper subjective investigations and analysis. The following images where made possible by investigating various aspects of color theory, mainly the differences between additive (light) and subtractive (pigment/paint) color. In the comparison between additive and subtractive color I applied to the differences between people in their cultures, races, genders, interests, opinions, so on and so forth. This first image, “Differences,” I place both additive and subtractive colors to their respected places in the composition. When additive primaries (RGB) mix they produce white light, inversely subtractive primaries produces black pigment (CMY). Furthermore, I placed a color hierarchy in the composition. The primary colors are on the far left and right sides of the image, then staggered closer to the center are secondaries, tertiaries, and finally quaternaries.
“Differences” superficially appears be about unity, symmetry, color, value, and other nonsense. However, this image illustrates a standoff or conflict between additive v. subtractive colors that comments human nature in terms of inclusiveness v. intolerance for those different from ourselves.
Let us start with how digital art affects contemporary aesthetics, while explaining why I chose additive and subtractive colors as symbols for conflict v. harmony. In traditional art, color presented itself in paintings through various pigments (a symbol of subtractive CMY colors). Throughout history, paintings have reigned as the supreme voice of artistic application and color definition. But just like the camera challenged the role of painting seen in modernism, the invention of the computer is challenging the role of the contemporary artist. The development of the computer brought the phenomenon of digital art to life. With the birth of the camera, painters were forced to abandon naturalism because the camera could catch the exactness of reality in ways a painter could only dream to achieve. With the birth of the computer the role of the artist is again challenged, for example why would I take my recent designs and place them on canvas when I can make them on the computer in a matter of seconds with perfect, crisp, undeviating forms accompanied with unaltered colors. Any effort to reproduce them manually in paint would be frivolous and redundant. Perfection is seen again in the computer (symbolized by additive RGB colors). And as it happened with the camera, the computer poses as one of the biggest factors for painters to consider today. The camera brought the birth of modernism, which redefined composition and color as a tool for expression and abstraction. I cannot predict the true ripple effect the computer will have upon painters in this era. I can only predict that the computer will be a great tool for painter’s research and investigation. With the presence of the camera and recently the computer naturalism, especially photorealism, seem to be redundant methods of production. I also believe that the elements and principles of art are less significant in regards to contemporary aesthetics: form and composition are less important than context (meaning).
In “Differences”, I attempt to create meaning by heavily relying on symbolism, juxtaposition, expressionism, and abstraction. In “Differences,” additive and subtractive colors personify as two armies in a standoff protecting their primaries and territory. The two sides are measuring each other up comparing the opponents strengths of qualities compared to their own. If brought to the test would subtractive or additive emerge as the victor. With the loss of one, could you have the other? The forms are set in unity and balance as indication that their differences make them individual, unique, and whole.
Other implications I wanted to address in this image is how color symbolism compares two individuals that are different from one another. The most obvious interpretation is black and white in reference to race. Yes racism is implied but it is not the only way that I am trying to suggest differences among individuals: variants of age, gender, religion, and beliefs are too implied through atypical objective interpretation. Each half of the composition symbolizes two individuals that are different from one another. Depending on the viewer’s perspective elements of judgment, conflict, segregation, and intolerance are interpreted as well as the virtues of acceptance, inclusiveness, respect, and harmony. I use black and white and as symbols of superficial characteristics indicating outward differences. Then I use color to indicate a person’s internal qualities, which can boil down to three primaries indicating individualism and collectiveness.
These rationales are just the basis for interpreting the image through an atypical objective lens. However, the viewer will ultimately draw to their own subjective conclusions based on personal experiences, imagination, interaction, and investigation. Note: the same occurs in representational art. The kicker is that if the viewer can see or is aware of the implied context atypical objective understanding will occur. Example: if I painted an entirely canvas with tones of dark blue the viewer may assume the atypical objective of the paintings context to involve depression and isolation. The viewer must use some level of subjective interpretation to decipher the works contexts, but form and color intuitively assume specific atypical objectives suggested by the artist.
The second image “Somebody that I am not/ I am” refers to adaptation of identity and perception self during times of personal growth and change. Throughout one’s life people change depending on interests, environments, time, actions, and wisdom. Other social aspects also influence peoples’ personas: popular culture, economics, interpersonal relations, etc. When people’s identity develop or are influenced there can be a delay in uncertainty regarding adaptation or disruption in one’s flow. Say I have a set of beliefs regarding my own identity, then a factor challenges my beliefs which may result in a change of identity. Mostly this phenomenon occurs rather naturally and goes without notice, but through reflection of all of your beliefs you may find incongruities or contradictions of beliefs and perceived identity. This can produce self-doubt and forces you to question your own identities and beliefs. Can you be two things at once? Are you someone who you are not? Am I not who I used to be?
This questioning of acceptance v. denial of one’s thoughts influenced by constant change is the basis of “Somebody that I am/ am not.” I attempt to illustrate this concept through the process in which this image was developed. First, I created the composition using a CMY color square and gamut strip, then converted the image to RBG to invert the CMY color fields. The result produced a very interesting array of unusual hues like tan, salmon, and magentas. Adapting the CMY image in RGB format creates a clash or melding of two forums that are opposite in nature. I try to compare this change imposed by environmental factors to display uncertainties people undergo when change is created within themselves or according to their surroundings.
The final image that I want to highlight is “No Harm No Foul.” At first I was just trying to create an image that compared a 12 point scale between additive and subtracted colors, but after a little bit of exploration I began to attach additional contexts and historical references to the composition. Each half accompanies a symbol in the background. The RGB side has a large white plus sign or cross to symbolize additive (+) properties of light, whereas the CMY side has a black minus sign to reference the subtractive (-) properties of pigment. The letters RGB and CMY also reflects this motif: RBG is overlapped vertically and horizontally to form a plus sign and CMY, displayed horizontally, represents a minus sign. Each letter corresponds to its referenced hue (the letter C is cyan). Bordering each set of letters are the 12 step color squares, RGB on the left and CMY on the right. I use this element to reinforce that this image’s is primarily about color theory and highlights properties between additive and subtractive colors.
In this image is also a response to Jasper Johns “False Starts” (1959) whose title was appropriated from a photograph of a horse race titled “False Starts.” Alternate titles for “No Harm No Foul” (“Foul Play” and “Open Gate”) also reference the idea of horse racing with particular attention to the differences between Johns image and my own. From John’s painting, I have derived an entire set of subjective interpretations involving my composition “No Harm No Foul.” Some of the same Neo-Dada elements are present in each works form and atypical assumptions. Though the major differences that occur to me are that the color labeling in “False Starts” is intentionally misrepresented (he writes the word “gray” in red) in “No Harm No Foul” the letters that symbolize each color are true (again “C” is or cyan). The aesthetic in “False Starts” is mostly expressive and painterly where “No Harm No Foul” falls into a geometric and delineated digital style.
The content and aesthetics displayed in “No Harm No Foul” as well as my other works serve as a response or continuation (through a contemporary lens) of the ideas presented in Dadaism and Non-Objective/ Post Painterly Abstraction. To close this article, I will question assumptions regarding the nature of painting. Can light be considered pigment? Though set in a digital format, are these images actually paintings in disguise whose physical properties are merely transparent? Can they manifest themselves in the physical world through imagination? Is that urinal art? Is that pipe real? Is this memory a painting?
Pull your brushes and chisels out of the fire- work with a purpose calls.
After taking a bit of a break in adding content for the website I am excited to present a couple of digital self portraits.
The first image, “All of the Above,” identifies personal associations of self and environment. To create the portrait I used the T.V. test screen pattern layered with the film grain filter to create a static. I associate these motifs with the digital generation and technological revolution. Being a byproduct of the television, internet,cell phones, and the over abundance of media these influences define the person I am. The portrait is multiplied and includes various forms of stylization; these techniques are a continuation of pop art aesthetics and refer to the paradox of possessing a true and/ or multiple selves. The actual transition between each form of self is gradual, somewhat subtle, and familiar throughout the piece while in comparison also contains stark differences within each portrait.
The portrait’s digital motifs and format emphasizes the environment that influences my personhood. Much of our lives are spent in front of a screen or in contact with modern technology (whether good or bad) either researching or surfing the web, typing an article, watching a football game or movie, texting or calling a best friend or family member, purchasing groceries with a card, or plugging in headphones. This time spent in association with digital technology directly effects how the human being functions day to day. This image reflects the emersion of modern technology in many to all aspects of our daily lives and changes how today’s generation are to be perceived and represented
The second image, “Pixels in Space,” is an extension of “All of the Above” as I manipulated the levels and output of my self-portrait to create a non-objective ‘portrait’. I distorted the image to the point where a subject can no longer be distinguished or recognized to challenge the properties of representation vs. non-objective. This investigation, like my last entry concerning Obama’s presidential portraits, targets if representational subjects can still be inferred through non-objective art based on their source images and content. This work serves as a commentary on contemporary aesthetics as it challenges the black and white difference of what is considered as being representation art.
The source images for these two displays are taken from my renditions of President Barrack Obama in previous digital work. The first set "Presidential Portrait" is a revision of my Obama 2012 campaign poster that further explores its original themes of ambiguity vs. uniqueness of the modern self. The original campaign poster has little to do with President Obama’s administration or campaign but was designed to portray the figurehead as a distinguished individual but more importantly to depict him as a collective or selfless entity. With this interpretation of the image the subject of the depiction is just as much the President as it is the American people represented by motifs that symbolize our generation (static, pixels, T.V. tests). Furthermore, the campaign poster’s original format the subject's overall form is present but specific traits are unclear; this idea is further portrayed in this revision which continues to challenges the relationship between representational and non-objective. In this format the subject is unrecognizable but remains a representation of the president. Overall, the lack of clarity helps to expand the capacity for subjective interpretations meanings and contexts within a singular image
The exploded perspective the original image brings to surface (literally) a couple of details and associations that are interesting to me. First to view the image in its finest detail exposes that digital images in general, no matter how naturalistic they appear, are a result of systematic abstraction. This affect can be compared to the painter’s fallacy that no matter how dedicated one is to faithfully represent reality on canvas their efforts will result in an inherent shortfall of what is truly seen. Another interesting element of this depiction is the values in the president’s image which is comprised of black, white, and grayscale. In a few of the attempts I have taken to represent the president I could not help but highlight the influence of his multiracial background. The president on a superficial level possesses the same characteristics of our multicultural nation which is black, white, and all that is in-between. President Obama being the first multiracial president has served as a beacon of progress, tolerance, and cohesion within this nation. To me, the black, grey, and white individual pixels represent the richness of diversity that is present in America, though the unfocused, blurred affect of the values symbolize the increased unity of brotherhood amongst all citizens despite apparent differences. In this image the arrangement of values infers that everyone serves a purpose in this nation as individuals and as the collective entity.
The second image "Unkempt Waters" again uses prior images depicting president Barrack Obama that are exploded to expose individual pixels and to suggest alternate meanings. In this image I captured zoomed in sections of previous Obama Portraits, “Enter, Enter, Escape (Nine Presidents)” and “Black as Pitch/ White as Milk.” I targeted one of the presidents eyes in each portrait to generate a new version of his glance. Seen especially in the right panel, I wanted this work to again represent the events of the BP deepwater horizon oil spill disaster. The dark pupil of each eye is to represent the epicenter of the disaster in which millions of gallons of oil were rushing into the Gulf of Mexico. From the center of each eye rings of grey radiate to represent the spread of contamination into the pure waters.
I believe that the pixel rendering of the event poses a unique commentary between nature and man. In a way our everyday oil and energy usage has impart resulted in an event like the BP oil spill of even occurring in the first place. Fossil fuels, like petroleum and coal, are the driving forces behind production and manufacturing. Fossil fuels make our modern conveniences possible (a new laptop or phone or driving to work) but sometimes I feel we turn a blind eye to the consequences of our reliance of energy demand. The pixilated eyes (on top of representing the oil spill) suggest of our latent apathy for the condition of our environment. Though it is human nature to desire the cleanest world for today and the future our conveniences seem to have priority above the preservation of nature. The apathetic glance suggests also that if something does not directly affect oneself that we can go about business as usual. The only ones even remotely touched by the effects of the disaster were those in the coastal communities of the gulf involved in the clean up and relief effort. Even in the face of a colossal disaster such as the one seen in the gulf we will continue to carry on our lives as normal; aware but unaffected.
Finally, when creating this second image I tried to see the set of eyes as belonging to not only the president but of the American people and of an all seeing being (such as God or a creator) that could see this disaster and human dilemma for everything its worth.
For those of you who were unable to attend the Art of Marcus Exhibition for Milwaukee's fall gallery night at the Pfister Hotel let me fill you in. 16 artists participated in the night long exhibition which included a fun filled evening complete with friends and quality artworks during the reception. This show was special to me because it was the first exhibiton that I was awarded a Best of Show honor (on behalf of Intercontinental). Congratulations again to friends Charles W. Nickels who won Overall Best in Show and UWM friends and Alumini Ali Barnick (Pfister Best of Show) and Daryl Stoll (Hiton Best in Show).
09.02.2012. President Gerald R. Ford on many levels was a unique individual: he was the only president that ascended to the presidency without being elected as president or vice president. He was approved to fulfill the vacant vice president after Spiro Agnew resigned in 1973 after criminal charges were placed on him involving political corruption. Then after evidence surfaced pointing Richard Nixon of being involved in the Watergate Scandal, Ford took the position of President of the United States in 1974 following the Nixon being the first president in history to resign from office.
At 93, Gerald Ford lived longer than any other President. He had the shortest term as president other than a President that died in office. And of particular interest to me, Gerald Ford was the only President who earned the rank of Eagle Scout.
These images were created to highlight some of the most notable events in Ford’s Presidency. The end of the Vietnam War is represented in the “Rise of Pipe Smoke/ Fall of Gun Smoke” along with Ford pledging the Oath of Office. The military boots and helmets placed on top of guns planted into the earth symbolize the loss that occurred during the arduous Vietnam War and to indicate the finality of the US involvement in the Vietnam War marked by the fall of Saigon.
A week before the fall of Saigon on April 23, 1975, Ford gave a televised announcement that brought an end to the Vietnam War and all U.S. aid. In the immediate aftermath of America’s retreat, the US was relieved of its 10 year of involvement in Southeast Asia, but the long term consequences of America exiting the conflict resulted in millions of innocent lives lost, led by communist takeovers, in South Vietnam and then Cambodia. I do not claim to know what the right or moral action the United States should have taken in concerns to this sensitive issue, but the fact remains that Ford took the course of action that he believed best served the American People.
The Second Image “Extents of Capable Concern” again refers to the end of the Vietnam War with an image taken from the evacuation of Saigon as well as an image representing the protests promoting the Equal Rights Amendment which was designed to guarantee equal rights for women. This was a major domestic issue during Ford's administration but was not added to the constitution after passing through the congress and senate but fell just short of the required 38 states to pass the amendment. Though these two issues do not directly relate, they do describe the domestic and foreign influences that Gerald Ford fought for to help mold the US to a more progressive and prosperous place for generations to come.
08.31.2012. Walking into the Presidency in 1953, Dwight D. Eisenhower was already burdened with the weight of the cold war on his shoulders. The dust that was intended to settle upon the conclusion World War II was quickly stirred up by two allies victors turned rivals: the United States and the Soviet Union. After WWII these two countries became the worlds clear superpowers. Both the USSR and the US possessed very different political beliefs, communism and democracy, which manifested its self in a 4 decade long military tension known as the cold war. Though the US and USSR never officially engaged in formal conflict, the war was defined by military expansion, a nuclear arms race, and various US/ USSR proxy wars such as the Chinese Civil War, the Korean War, and eventually the Vietnam War along with the Soviet Invasion of Afghanistan .
Due to the USSR annexation of the majority of countries within Eastern Europe including East Germany, the USA became concerned over the fate of democratic Western Europe. The threat of a potential Soviet invasion of the weakened countries in Western Europe motivated the US to increase financial aid and maintain a military presence during the European reconstruction in West Europe, Turkey, and Greece to help contain communism. The spread of communism in Asia led to the establishment of the People’s Republic of China in 1949 and the Korean War; this along with the concerns in Western Europe made a third World War a very real possibility.
In regards to an impending conflict, President Eisenhower took a position of "nuclear deterrence" which rationales the development of nuclear weapons as being a viable strategy for US defense that would deter the USSR from engaging in war due to the threat of nuclear bombing. Nuclear deterrence was designed to be more economical option instead of investing in the development of traditional forces. Eisenhower made clear that the result arms race spending in both the US and the USSR would come at a devastating cost to the people by stating in his “guns and butter" speech, “Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed."
The images represent the presidency of Dwight D. Eisenhower and were influenced by the Cold War, the Eisenhower coined Domino Theory of communist containment in Asia, the US/ USSR nuclear arms race, and the 1959 admittance of Alaska and Hawaii into the Union under the Eisenhower administration. Also
these images are a second attempt at creating a portrait of our 34th president; this is because I wanted to have made a depiction that better addressed the direct contribution of
Eisenhower during his presidency. I believe that these images are more true to Eisenhower’s person and leadership, and I think they provide a clearer narrative among the existing Post-War
08.25.2012. The following images “The Dream” and “Man” showcase President John F. Kennedy and his role within the Civil Rights Movement. Throughout the 1960s, racial tension had peaked due to continual injustice, inequality, and discrimination of African Americans. These influences led to the rise of the Civil Rights Movement in America which demanded equality of rights for all Americans regardless of skin color.
Kennedy’s support of the Civil Rights Movement is best noted in his civil rights address (June, 11, 1963) given after Alabama Governor George Wallace blocked a doorway for two African American students at the University of Alabama from attending. Kennedy’s civil rights address and support of equal rights was influential in formation of the Civil Rights Act which was passed July 2, 1964. The Civil Rights Act abolished public, federal, and employment discrimination. Though the Civil rights act became law seven months after Kennedy’s assassination the bill is debatably attested as being his administrations greatest contribution to American history.
The image “The Dream” refers to Martin Luther King’s infamous “I Have a Dream” speech and depicts Kennedy above the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom (August 28, 1963) where over a hundred thousand people gathered within the National Mall in Washington in support of civil rights. Coded behind Kennedy are the words “I have a dream” which have carried throughout history as being a symbol of equality among men. The second image “Man” depicts Kennedy integrated among African American protesters and civil rights advocates bearing an American flag and signs stating “I am a man” which illustrates the demand to end racial discrimination.
08.24.2012. Similar to the depiction I created of Harry S Truman, Lyndon B. Johnson is the second Post-war President that is represented though images of war. Thought the images are emotional and at points unsettling, I attempt to faithfully portray the Presidents in relation to events or influences that best illustrate their legacy or contribution upon U.S. history in a way that creates a visual narrative or timeline of the Post- Modern era in the United States.
Succeeding John F. Kennedy’s assassination, Lyndon Johnson’s Presidency was dominated by the escalation of the U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War. The US objective of the war to contain the North Vietnamese from invading South Vietnam and potentially other southeast Asian countries. Seen for other reasons the rise of U.S. involvement was attributed to containing the spread of communism, which could have been seen as a confliction of Vietnam being a just war due to its political implications.
During Johnson’s administration US involvement turned from being a defensive effort mainly supporting South Vietnamese forces to an open ended U.S. offensive. The Vietnam War was excruciating for all involved and was seen as a war of attrition on both ends. The U.S. engaged in heavy aerial attacks throughout North Vietnam and committed to increased deployment of men. The efforts of the U.S. did not produce results and the war was more of a stalemate or a back and forth, though the media has assured, and broadcasted, that the U.S. efforts were successful. Tet offensive by the North Vietnamese, which over 100 cities were unsuspectingly attacked, was seen as the major intelligence debacle of the war and resulted in the turning point in the war. It was revealed to the public the state of the efforts in Vietnam which resulted in the loss of LBJ’s popularity, credibility, and American support of the War.
08.22.2012. This image represents Post War President, Richard M. Nixon, in relation to the landing of the first man on the moon. On July 20, 1969, exactly 6 months after President Nixon’s inauguration, the world was glued to televisions in hopes to witness one of the most historic moments in human history: humans landing on the moon.
Shortly after Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong landed on the moon they received a phone call from President Nixon to commemorate this monumental occasion. Nixon starts off the conversation by claiming their conference is to be the most historic phone call ever made. He goes on to say, “For every American this day has to be the proudest day in our lives,” and “On this day all the people of the earth are truly one.” Listen to this phone call here.
The U.S. moon exploration program dates back to the Eisenhower administration and continued in the Kennedy and Johnson presidencies. The work of these predecessors made it possible for this significant event to be made during Nixon’s term in office. And though there were countless people associated with the success of this expedition there will only be a few individuals who will be contributed with its significance. For this reason I have constructed this representation of Richard Nixon, because as president he served a symbol of American and worldly achievement and in a way represented all Americans and their time.
08.13.2012. During the National Order of the Arrow Conference, over 5000 individuals came through the OA museum at the Michigan State University Union over the course of 4 days. During museum hours I was stationed aside a display of the majority of the drawings; I had the chance to explain the project to participants, sign postcards, and personally meet thousands of Arrowmen from all across the country. I couldn’t begin to explain on how great it felt to finally see the culmination of all the hard work put into this project.
The drawings were displayed throughout the museum especially in the beginning of the museum with the Founding of our Order and Treasure Island exhibits, the art gallery in the concourse, and the OA physical timeline. The icing on the cake was that the main display of the drawings where I was stationed was directly adjacent to the paintings of Joseph Csatari, BSA’s official painter. Over the past few years I have studied the Boy Scout art of Norman Rockwell and Joseph Csatari intently and referenced their work as a starting point for the OA Timeline Drawings. This event got me pretty excited about the possibility of making more BSA and OA inspired work in the future, in which I hope to capture my interest in the content by exploring the medium of oil similar to continue the tradition set by Rockwell and Csatari.
NOAC 2012 was a major success with the museum being one of the major highlights which was completely revamped from years past. Again I want to again thank the National Order of the Arrow Committee and particularly Bill Topkis for trusting me to depict some of the most significant and renowned moments in the OA’s history. Click here to view rest of the OA 100th Anniversary Timeline Drawings.
04.25.2012. This post is an extension of the "White House Goes Pop" article I posted last week. This installation features a mug shot portrait of Presidential assassination suspect Lee Harvey Oswald and Oswald's assassin Jack Ruby. This image juxtaposes the two individuals next to one another in homage to their infamous connection.
The alteration and combination of both Oswald's and Ruby's mug shots is in reference to each individuals similarities and differences. Both men are allegedly considered assassins; if Oswald was in fact the lone shooter in the School Book Depository his act would have been surely premeditated where as Ruby's attempt on Oswald’s life is seen more as an act of passion considering his devotion to President Kennedy.
I do not consider myself a conspiracy theorist by any means but I do believe that if Ruby did not kill Oswald two days after he was arrested for Kennedy's assassination, a lot of mystery surrounding this controversy would be answered. but the fact remains that these two had an impact (however chilling, tragic, or accidental) upon American history. Captured in a pop style composition, this image refers to the consumerism and of the assassin figure: those of the past and future may vary in thier act, motivation, and personhood but will ultimately remain same as their counterparts (mere duplicates).
04.04.2012. In this installment I compiled a portrait of the 33rd President of the United States of America, Harry S Truman. President Truman was sworn into office as Franklin Roosevelt's Vice President as he has passed away slightly after the beginning of his 4th term in office. After Roosevelt's death in April 1945, Truman stated "I felt like the moon, the stars, and all the planets had fallen on me," considering he had assumed the presidency in the high time of WWII. Slightly after taking office the Germans declared their surrender on May 7, 1945 and America's focus was set on defeating Japan to bring conclusion to the most devastating conflict ever seen- the means of victory would forever change the world.
The atomic bombing of Hiroshima occurred on August 6, 1945. After news of the bombing began to spread a Japanese radio announcer described the devastation as, "practically all living things, human and animal, were literally seared to death." After receiving no surrender or other notice from Japanese officials, the United States dropped a second atomic bomb over Nagasaki on August 9. Casualties of these attacks ranged from 90,000–166,000 killed in Hiroshima and 60,000–80,000 killed in Nagasaki. During the bombings Truman stated, "If they do not now accept our terms, they may expect a rain of ruin from the air, the like of which has never been seen on this earth." Japan surrendered on August 14, 1945.
As most know the justification of the bombings was to avoid a land invasion of Japan which would cost insurmountable causalities. This was a Trolley problem on a global scale, and ultimately it came down to President Truman's authorization to destroy many lives in hopes to save even more. On August 9th President Truman commented on the bombing of Nagasaki, "I realize the tragic significance of the atomic bomb... It is an awful responsibility which has come to us." So where does Truman stand as a result of his position and actions- a patriot, mass murderer, a peacemaker, a coward, a great man? The answer is more complex than a black or white, right or wrong, ethical or immoral.
A man who was defined by these catastrophes and the consequences that resulted from his decisions, Truman wrote later in life, "I knew what I was doing when I stopped the war ... I have no regrets and, under the same circumstances, I would do it again."
Our 28th President, Woodrow Wilson, is regarded as one of our countries greatest leaders. in this depiction, "Motionless Claim for Attrition," Wilson memorialized for his leadership in as President during WWI. an image of Wilson in his youth and another in his Presidency make up the central figure. Below the President include several soldiers which represent the forces that went to Europe to stop the efforts of the Central Powers during the Great War.
Also in the low center of the image there is a canon which is firing an explosive round which is seen behind Wilson's head. The cannon is a symbol for Wilson's reputation as being a Wartime leader as well as indicating the changes in warfare technology that were seen after the industrial revolution.
04.03.2012. Here is the second installment of work involving pop icons. Somewhere from where I left off in the "Still Dead and Breathing" Beatles portrait my brain decided make an unsettling turn to another public icon Charles Manson. This could be due to the fact that Charles himself was undoubtedly a Beatles fanatic (as crazy as they come) and regarded the White Album more as a prophecy than a piece of rock and roll. Also in "Still Dead and Breathing" I confronted the issues of childhood v. Adulthood and life before and after stardom- these concepts are addressed in Manson's age layered portrait.
"10 or 15 so Killers" involves three stages of Charles Manson's life: adolescence, middle age, and senior. These points in his life appear to be quite different from one another that range from a seemingly outright young adult, a crazed sociopath, to a desolate man. I explored the similarities and differences between these life stages and reflected on how our choices and situation change, add to, or separate us entirely from our younger or previous selves.
If you know me well you would know that I have a special fondness for the music of the Beatles. In the past I have created works influenced and subjecting the bands members and songs. When I was 18 I sat in my dorm listening to my record Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band on loop as I made a drawing of the highlights of each song to create a pictorial album on a piece of cardboard. A few years later at 23 I created grayscales of both a collage using paint, song lyrics, and images to capture the Mark David Chapman assassination of John Lennon as well as an allegorical triptych painting on paper of Lennon's life.
Though I haven't used a Beatles theme in my art for since early 2010, the subject seemed fitting as I pursued the idea of pop icons. The Beatles are debatably the most influential band that has defined popular music today. Since their rise to popularity the band members’ lives have been in spotlight of the public's eye. Due to the bands unmatched success in music the legendary members are sometimes seen more as gods than actual people: untouchable and only to be witnessed during musical prophecies accompanied by an epic narrative. The digital depiction of the band "Still Dead and Breathing" includes the four Beatles as seen on the 1970 "Let It Be" album with each members childhood photo superimposed. I included the childhood photos to signify each member’s life before and after stardom. The superimposed effect notes the members as men (in this case as children) but does not necessarily distinguish them as not being legendary, iconic, or god-like.
The color symbolism in the work identifies the bands British roots and American influence, but more importantly notes the status of each member. The deceased members of the band, Harrison and Lennon, are cast in red whereas the currently living members, Starr and McCartney, are cast in blue. Though red is the color of blood and blue is often associated with loyalty, there is no major difference in why I chose blue and red to symbolize life vs. death, the colors were chosen primary on patriotic claims. Anyway, I am giving away my secrets and possibility my angst, Enjoy this work for all it's worth!
Introducing the self-proclaimed raddest/ hippest logo you'll find this side of the Mississippi. It now belongs to my friends at Hearanow Records with their "Live from Cloud 9" project. Hearanow Records emerged in 2012 as a non-traditional music label that promotes live music from across the Upper Midwest. Hearanow and the venue Cloud 9 based out of Winona, WI have been working closely together to bring bands from Wisconsin, Minnesota, Illinois, and beyond to record live shows and make them available to the masses online. to learn more about Hearanow Records and Live from Cloud 9 please visit hearanow.com and check out the WWSP Club Wisconsin interview on this DIY label's initial pursuits.
02.27.2012-Take a look at this picture and describe how you perceive the person in this image. Is the man looking up into the sky with his arms behind himself or is he twisted about looking down toward the ground as his arms are enclosing around him? This drawing, “Exalt / Abase,” is my version of a psychiatric ink blot test with the reasoning that an esteemed individual will have seen the man looking up toward the sky whereas the more withdrawn person would have seen the man looking toward the right side of the page at the ground. This drawing represents our challenge as humans to capture enlightenment and meaning in our lives- So again is your glass half full or half empty?
On a side note I am headed off to New York this Friday (03.02.2012) for the first time to have fun, make connections, and get a chance to see the greatest works of yesterday and today in hopes to help kick start my art career's aspirations. While I am in New York I plan on at least attending exhibitions at some of New York’s most respected galleries, the opening week for the Whitney Biennial, the Armory Show, The Metropolitan Museum, and the Museum of Modern Art. I hope to document my New York experience with a review or two and/ or a couple of drawings while I am out there- Please stay tuned for my upcoming updates- Bon Voyage!
The newly founded music label, Hearanow Records, based out of Northeast Wisconsin and Cloud Nine Studio in Winona, MN asked me to construct a logo to represent their new company. I put my skills to the test and created this geometric based design that consists of an altered hearing device with a sound plug coming out one end superimposed over a vinyl. Thanks again to the guys at Hearanow Records and best of with their upcoming recordings and shows at Cloud Nine Studio.
This summer the drawing series I provided for the Boy Scouts of America’s National Honor Society will be on display at the National Order of the Arrow Conference at Michigan State University. This will be the first time that all 14 of the OA 100th Anniversary Drawings will be shown. The Drawings will be a part of the NOAC Museum which will be held at the Michigan State’s Union July 30-August 1, 2012.
My work will be displayed alongside paintings by the Official Painter of the Boy Scouts of America Joseph Csatari. At the Conference Csatari will be revealing his BSA commissioned painting to commemorate the Order of the Arrow’s upcoming 100th Anniversary. It will be an honor to have my work shown in the capacity at the NOAC at Michigan state University this summer- I want to again thank the National Order of the Arrow Committee and particularly Bill Topkis for trusting me to depict some of the most significant and renowned moments in the OA’s history. Click here to view rest of the OA 100th Anniversary Time-Line Drawings.
In this series of “American Landscapes” I investigate the role of human morality and its impact on social obligation in a contemporary world. The images in this series compare and contrast the relationships between nature and man, right and wrong, and freedom and oppression as they affect the diverse range of individual motivations and choice. In this project I attempt to identify and challenge modern ethics as our world enters a new frontier of responsibility toward ourselves, others, and our environment.
These are my initial thoughts toward the images that will be included in this series. Notice the diversity of each depiction; right now I am exploring different styles for the final product. I plan to take these studies and use them as the basis of future paintings. I am excited about this project because I feel that it demands the most of my conceptual and technical abilities. Already in this series I have grown as an artist, my experimentation and devotion to this topic has helped me mature as an artist. Look forward to future developments and milestones as I set out to complete this project.
Check out my artwork on PortalWisconsin.org.
Featured on the main page are a collection of cut paper visual narratives that I made last year. The Book of Tim(e) 1 and 2 describes a charaters adventure throughout history as he tampers with art history as we know today by creating the first known ancient artworks such as "The Venus of Willendorf" and "The Lascaux Cave Paintings." In addition I included the sole edition of Goldilocks and the Three Bears Band: The Tale of the Frieghtened Frontman which captures the story behind the founding of the renowned quartette. Enjoy.
The day has come that I have finally graduated college and am now bound for bigger and better things. Last Thursday (1.19.12) marked my last day of student teaching which leaves me open to take on new projects, commissions, and other exciting endevors. I want to note that I learned a great deal from my experience within my time at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. The way I go about making art has been largely influenced by UWM faculty, students, and the Milwaukee community. I plan to use the knowledge I've gained at UWM in all of my future artistic, educational, and occupational pursuits.
I want to thank all of everybody (family and friends) who supported me me along the way. Graduating college means a great deal to me: my deepest graditude goes out to you.
Here I leave you an image of a mosaic project that 8th graders at Thomas Jefferson Middle School completed as a part of a lesson I lead during my student teaching. These students are graduating themselves this year, but as they are going off to high school this mural will be left behind as their mark for the future students of TJMS.