Friday, March 30, 2012

B.F.A. Artist Statement

Pretty much the same ideas I've been working with, but placed in a more cohesive manner. Enjoy.

Every day, I alter my natural look by using makeup, skin and hair treatments, and fashionable attire. I consider this practice a form of self-defense. Humans display fears about their personal appearance in ways that no other species does, but I see similarities in the desire of animals to camouflage and defend themselves from predators and to change physically in order to attract a mate. One such creature is the decorator crab. When threatened, the decorator crab collects bits of its surroundings like vegetation, coral, and smaller organisms and covers its entire body, camouflaging itself. Inspired by this creature’s practice and my love/hate relationship with altering my own appearance, I paint stylized, androgynous human figures that are almost unrecognizable with all the oceanic patterns and forms covering their bodies.

To convey the idea of self-defense on the painting surface itself, I use complementary color palettes and strong detail work to confuse the viewer’s eye. The use of flat acrylic paint handling on the surface allows the patterns and shapes to play against each other all the more. This flattened and depthless aesthetic discourages the desire to spend an extended amount of time looking at the piece, while the repetitive details within each simple shape aid in leading the viewer’s eye around the figure’s body and its environment. The surface is inviting, but also confusing and tumultuous, challenging the idea that decorating oneself is as advantageous as many of us have been led to believe.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Eibatova Karina

I just really like this video. It reminds me of the concepts I'm dealing with in regard to my decorator crab people. See for yourself and find more of this awesome artist's work on this website.

Dwayne Butcher: The Politics of Inclusion

When I went to the David Lusk Gallery to check out this show last week, I was confused by the Robert Rector pieces in the front room and believed Butcher’s show to have passed and cursed myself for not attending his opening reception. However, after moseying past the decorative Rector paintings, I finally noticed Butcher’s show nestled in the back space of the building. 

Robert Rector
I liked the inclusion of both video art and painting, which were tied together thematically by humorous text. One of my biggest flaws when checking out a show is that I don’t often take the time to pause at video setups to watch films. I usually get frustrated when I catch them right in the middle and don’t get the chance to watch from beginning to end, so I just glance and then leave. But the films consisting of text against colored grounds made me stop in my tracks. I can’t recall ever laughing out loud in a quiet gallery before. I just love Butcher’s sense of humor and his way of poking fun at the art market (as shown below) and found his "Letters" hysterical.

Dwayne's "Letters" in progress

Overall, very refreshing stuff that thinks outside the normal conceptual painting style and is art that, quite literally, says something.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Meet Stiffy

I did not take this photo, but it looks just like him!
This is a creepy, broken ventriloquist dummy I found at an antique shop on Summer Ave. I decided to be tacky and name him Stiffy and unfortunately, the name stuck. Huh. Spell check says "stiffy" isn't a word and tried to autocorrect it to say "stuffy" just now. Anyway, look what I did to him!

Now he's a decorator crab dummy. Hopefully, contrary to popular belief, ventriloquist dummies and dolls harbor no ill will against those who mistreat them and Stiffy won't come after me for revenge armed with a butcher knife. 

I'm not having a whole lot of luck getting those baked Sculpy forms to stay on his plastic head and completing the painting job is going to be nightmarish, but I'm excited to see this through. Thanks for taking one for the team, Stiffy!

Allison Schulnik Animation

I mostly know Schulnik from her paintings. They're so thick and textural, they just blow my mind. Completely different from how I'm used to working.

Aren't they delicious?

Anyway, she also does sculptures and animations like this one, a Grizzly Bear music video. I have become interested in stop-motion animation this semester, and love stumbling upon inspirational films like this one. I got to see it at the Frist Center on Monday on a big projected screen, which was better, but luckily, with video art, it is easy to access. Enjoy, my friends.

Also, this one. "Hobo Clown."

Friday, March 23, 2012

Le Bonheur Commission

So the Le Bonheur Children's Hospital is renovating a new research wing and they partnered up with MCA's Give Back Work Study program to enlist the talents of a few students in decorating the wing with sculptures and paintings inspired by what the hospital does. I decided to do my piece about neurons in the brain. I was glad to be able to emulate the forms of neurons while still maintaining an aesthetic I'm used to. The pattern work isn't bad either. The image shown below is a work in progress, so stay tuned for updates. Did I mention I'm getting paid to paint this? I sure love making a living on art-makin'!

New Way of Thinking and Painting

This post is about my recent experiments. They're not great, but it is fun to play around with variations in thickness and drawing into the paint to create new shapes. I also did one in a neutral color palette, but I think I can't get away from my love of bright colors.

Many apologies for the glare.

Painting on Fabric

Inspiration for this one came from the "Chloe Jr." painting

Collaboration Fancy

These are a few pieces I made alongside painters Magyn Darmstaedter, Jesse Nabers, and Stephanie Kern. This being my first time collaborating, I had my doubts, but was very ecstatic with the way these "Four-Way Babies" turned out.

Jesse Jr.

Magyn Jr.

Chloe Jr.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Nashville Trip

       On Monday, I was able to travel to Nashville for a mini-vay. I feel compelled to talk about this wonderful show we saw and was kind of the reason for us going in the first place, not to mention the sweet Andrew Bird concert we saw later in the evening. The art show to which I am referring is called "Fairy Tales, Monsters, and the Genetic Imagination" and took place on the second floor of the Frist Center, an art museum placed in a renovated post office. I only knew a few of the artists that were in the show before we went (like those fantastic life-like sculptures by Patricia Piccinini), but I was amazed and excited to see works by Kiki Smith, Cindy Sherman, Inka Essenhigh, Allison Shulnik, and Yinka Shonibare, whom I was already familiar with, but had never actually seen an original piece by any of them.                                  
      The exhibition had paintings, sculptures, video, and photography and I was blown away by how well all the artists' themes and pieces tied together. I wish they'd been able to snag one of Shulnik's paintings. Her animation was nice, but I could watch that anytime. It would be awesome to see one of her paintings in person and check out the texture and paint-handling, but oh well. I had a great time checking out the freaky and deliciously grotesque imagery by such great artists. Here, see for yourself how great it is in this video or better yet, go see this in person.

BFA Show Piece in Progress

This mother of a painting is about 4 feet wide by 6 feet long. I've enjoyed working on it so far, but I know it's going to take forever to get all the details in that I want.







Friday, March 16, 2012

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Chicken Pot Painting

Come if you are in the Memphis area. Show features work from young, awesome Memphis painters. There will be some painting, some installation, and all-around wonderment. Come see what's cookin' in MCA's painting department!

Sunday, March 4, 2012


This is what my show ended up looking like. Unfortunately, I had tons of competition with the multiple other openings around town so the turnout was a little weak, but I truly appreciate everyone who came out.  Live music by Michael Joyner and Barbara Lester was a welcome treat and I sold a few pieces. Not a bad night. Not a bad night at all :)