I’m an art director, graphic designer, video editor, and website maker. I’m always interested in taking on freelance work, so if you like what you see, drop me a line firstname.lastname@example.org
I love art. I’ve loved it for as long as I can remember. Well, I have earlier memories that didn’t involve art, but almost always involved creativity. I was the one that rounded up the neighborhood kids, casted them in my plays and invited everyone to come see them in the garage. By the time I was 7 I knew that theater wasn’t my calling. Then came the ice skating, piano, guitar, singing and tap dancing, with my parents drawing the line at the violin since I was on a spontaneous creative soul search they could no longer fund. It seemed like the most cost-effective hobby I could take up next was art, so they put a paintbrush in my hand and prayed to God it would stick.
It did, so I went on to study painting and art history in college, and then photography, theory and criticism in grad school. Between the many restaurant jobs, adjunct teaching positions and freelance advertising gigs, the same question kept coming up—why does art seem like it’s in a separate world that has little to do with the regular one that I really like living in? That’s how it felt to me, as I saw so many connections between art and life that never seemed to make it into the academic critiques or onto the pages of most art magazines.
Art is profoundly meaningful and has so much to do with everyday life. Like the great people you cross paths with at different times throughout life, it sticks with you, and can help you see the world in different ways that help you understand yourself and what you’re doing better.
I moved from Chicago to New York City in 2009 and felt so inspired here. The ideas kept coming, and I had so many thoughts about art, life and creativity, it started to make my head spin. Needing to keep them together in one place, I started this blog. Thanks for reading!
[my top 5 guys] I love Robert Irwin because his work is about perception and beauty. Among many things, he is known for the famous title of his book, “Seeing is Forgetting the Name of the Thing one Sees.” I love this, of course, but I especially like the way that he sums up his sincerity to the practice of art as, “an inquiry of our potential to know the world around us and our actively being in it, with a particular emphasis on the aesthetic.” He believes, as do I, that “we perceive, we shape the world, and as artists we discover and give value to our human potential to ‘see’ the infinite richness (beauty?) in everything, creating an extended aesthetic reality.”
In 1998 my life changed. I went to Dia to see his show Excursus: Homage to the Square(3). I went a few times, and to this day I think that it’s the best show I’ve ever seen. I guess it would be my Pick #1 in Fantasy Art Collection if such a thing were possible. The postcard from this show has always been on my refrigerator as I apartment jumped through my 20′s and into my 30′s. I look over and see it right now. Ok here, I just scanned it … pretty incredible, right?
[my top 5 guys] When I was in art school I was so irritated by crits where I had to discuss bad paintings about nothing with no idea. Eventually my professor, who I’m pretty sure found me humorous by my determination to come up with artistic standards to make our crits more productive, threw me a copy of The Shape of Content by Ben Shahn. If you know the book, you can imagine how elated I was by this discovery, holding in my hands the proof to backup all of my 19-year-old art beliefs.
Eventually I went on to pursue an MFA in photography at Columbia College in Chicago. I had been living in Brooklyn after college and spent a lot of time wandering around taking photographs, due to lack of space and direction. So I entered this program with no previous training in photography and no knowledge of the history of photography. I had been a painter and art history student, we hardly covered photography. Long story short, I was in the process of applying to MFA programs when I was struck with a brilliant idea. If I am going to take out a million billion student loans, why don’t I get an MFA in something I know absolutely nothing about since I already know how to paint? Three very long years ensued.
In one of my first photo history classes we covered Ben Shahn, the photographer. I was like, “the what!? the who?” Well, there must be 2 Ben Shahn’s, and now I’m learning about the other one. Of course I wasn’t, but I went and read The Shape of Content again. No mention of photography. This is what I wrote my grad school thesis about.
But I love Shahn for so many reasons. Like me, he uses photography as the basis for all of his work, and I share many of his beliefs about art. Its hard to pick one image to put here, but I select Handball since it’s based off of a handball court that is still in use at 1st and 1st today, a few blocks from where I live.
[my top 5 guys] How can you not love a guy who makes it look like a party to be slaving away in the studio? I think there is something about these California artists, they just seem so happy. Baldessari seems to have a grand old time and I think Irwin claims to never have had a bad day in his life, or something zen and crazy like that. It must be the sun, the space, and everything non New York about working there.
But in all seriousness I think that Diebenkorn is the best painter ever. I was lucky to go to a college, Eastern Michigan University, where my professors were amazing “old school guys” and the Bay Area painters reigned supreme. I learned to paint by studying Diebenkorn. By the way, how lame that the Abstract Expressionists stole all the thunder when these guys were tearing it up on the west coast? I mean, come on!! Park, Oliveira, Bischoff, Wonner, Weeks, Brown, Neri? Amazing, and what a way to learn how to paint looking at this group of artists.
I am stumped as to what to pick here. Diebenkorn is most definitely going into Fantasy Art Collection, but I can’t decide which one yet so I’m stalling. I love the Ocean Park series, but I equally love the figurative work. Abstract or representational, they’re all exploring the same thing. Ok, I pick 2, love these. “Seated Figure with Hat” and “Ocean Park No. 67.”
[my top 5 guys] In college I had a drawing class where the assignment was a self portrait. When all eyes turned to me in the critique my professor said, “well, you must be a big fan of Giacometti.” I had recently transferred into this school, to a room full of advanced art students, and it took all the strength I could muster to keep from saying, “well of course I am, I love him, who doesn’t love Giacometti?” But I swallowed my pride and said, “who’s that?”
Feeling like a fool I went straight to the library after class and turns out we draw very similarly. We also share similar ideas. I like his saying, “Every time I look at the glass it seems to remake itself.” This is how I see the public “in between” spaces that are the subject of my work. I think that this belief is also how he was able to basically make the same thing over and over for his whole life once he ditched the cultish surrealists.
To be honest, he doesn’t really inform my work or ideas very much anymore, but he was so influential to my growth as an artist that I can’t turn on him now. I still love you, Alberto.
Plus he inspires me because apparently he spent four decades in the tiniest of all tiny studios which I like to believe was smaller than where I live and work in the East Village. So, sculpture or painting? … what to choose … I go with sculpture. If you check out my work you can see his influence on me by this image here.
[my top 5 guys] The greatest professor ever.
Here he is, the mystery professor I’ve been referring to. He’s the one who tipped me off to The Shape of Content, he was channeling Diebenkorn in drawing class, he called me out on the accidental Giacometti copy. He cut me a ton of slack when I couldn’t exactly follow assignments, knowing that I would always come through for final crits.
John Pappas is the best and I want to be like him. He truly loves art and is an artist and teacher to his very core. Although as an artist hard work is key, he never fails to stress the importance of family and friends since we only get one shot at this life, and it better be fulfilling.
I was sitting in his class one day nearly 15 years ago when I realized that I was an artist. He helped me discover this, and I can’t thank him enough. Truly a great man.
Check it out, he even casually poses for photos and dresses like a master.