Saturday, December 9, 2006

Los Angeles

I'll be at the Copro Nason Gallery 15th anniversary show tonight.
most of the artists that have shown there over the years will be exhibiting, . . . a few of them will be on hand, . . .I will have 4 pieces there, including the new piece I finished earlier in the week.

I flew into LA on Thursday and visited Gallery 1988 for the show Luke Chueh was curating. Met Greg Simkins, Bob Dob, Thomas Han, Mark Bodnar and Joe Ledbetter , . . .that was a solid show, . . . I was impressed with the quality of the work, . . . Amy Sol and Greg Simkin's pieces were my favorites.

On Friday,
I went to Chinatown, had some breakfast/lunch, . . .and met some people at the Chinatown Chamber of Commerce, . . . they helped me get some directions and asked about my artwork and the possibility of coming back to exhibit there next year, . . .
My next stop was at the Forrest Lawn Memorial Park in Glendale, to see the Bougereau painting "Song of the Angels"
Almost walked out of the gift shop with a few hundred dollars of jewelry, . . .the cashier accidentily handed me the bag of new merchandise she was supposed to add to the glass display case, instead of the 2 postcards I just bought. I was still so excited about seeing the painting, I almost didn't notice until I got to my car, . . .
Later, I visited La Luz De Jesus, . . . I went there to look at Scott G Brooks' paintings(always fun stuff) and also found Lesley Reppeteaux and Jason Houchen's work there( a pleasant surprise. They have a really neat store there too!

Sunday, December 3, 2006

One of my favorite Norman Rockwell paintings was found behind a false wall in the home of late Donald Trachte(cartoonist and illustrator). He bought the painting from Rockwell and very carefully painted a copy of it, hiding the original behind the false wall along with other paintings he collected. I'd seen the copy, which was loaned to the Norman Rockwell Museum by the Trachte family years ago. I think we were all fooled(which is a testament to Don Trachte's skill as a painter).
The only person I can recollect to have any suspicion about the one that hung at the Norman Rockwell Museum , was my friend James Gurney
he noticed some things were little "off" from the printed version.
Trachte's sons had the painting auctioned for 15.4 million dollars.

Thursday, November 23, 2006


Well, it's here again, . . .
Thanksgiving, . . .an American tradition that always seemed a little weird to me, . . .being from immigrant ancestors, it's always been an odd holiday, . . .I think my grandparents only celebrated it to fit in. It centered around food , so it isn't the most difficult holiday to deal with, . . .My in-laws believe it is a religious holiday, because they are thanking God, . . .somehow, I don't think they celebrate Thanksgiving at the Vatican, . . . whatever.
I'm reminded of a Norman Rockwell story (it didn't take place on Thanksgiving day, but the theme was there)
One day, Norman Rockwell discovered that his Illustration idol, J C Leyendecker lived in the same neighborhood in New Rochelle, NY.He got up the courage to invite him and his brother Frank over to his house for dinner. He was troubled over what to feed them. He decided on a Thanksgiving dinner with all the trimmings, he thought to himself, "Who doesn't like a Thanksgiving dinner?"
He hired a cook to prepare the meal and anxiously awaited the arrival of one of his favorite living artists. After pacing back and forth, they finally arrive at his place, . . . poor Norman clams up, . . .doesn't know what to say to these guys, . . .there's all the usual polite gestures of course, but they are basically just staring at each other and Norman was getting somewhat uncomfortable, . . .he needed an "Icebreaker", . . .the dinner bell rings and the turkey is brought out. Before it can even be placed on the table, the hired help takes a fall and the turkey rolls under the table, stuffing and all. Norman and Joe Leyendecker meet under the table trying to salvage the remains of the turkey from the dining room floor. Joe takes a taste of the fallen stuffing "Chestnuts?" he mutters, . . .and then he starts talking about how difficult it is to paint the shiny, glazed surface of a cooked turkey convincingly(he had done a cover painting for the Saturday Evening Post that featured a roasted turkey) After the mishap, they talked for hours about all kinds of things, . . .they became good friends. Shortly before Frank Leyendecker passed away, he gave Rockwell the secret formula for the painting medium that he and his brother Joe used.
Well, . . . maybe it doesn't have too much to do with the holiday apart from the turkey.
Drink a toast and have great Thanksgiving!!

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Michael Richards

Talk about career suicide!
Wow! I sure didn't see that coming, . . .by now, everyone who ever watched "Seinfeld" must know about the unfortunate, disgraceful remarks that Michael Richards will regret until the day he dies. . The worst part about it for him , is that it was caught on video. Now he has no choice but to try and do as much damage control as possible. I understand he's had contact with Reverend
Jesse Jackson and tried to contact Al Sharpton. He should contact the people he insulted openly and apologize to them.
And what about those people he shouted those awful words to?, . . . it appears that two of them are doing the News show circuit with their lawyer in tow. As horrible as it may be to have racial slurs spewed at you, we all know that if it wasn't a celebrity saying such things to them, they wouldn't be after their "15 minutes". Why do they need a lawyer? Are they seeking reparations? They weren't even on camera, in that video clip I saw online.
I've had people yell racist things at me in public, . . . I didn't run to my lawyer, . . .I hope they aren't going to make a mockery of this, by asking for money as punishment for the hurtful things said to them.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

New work

I've been working on paintings for a couple of different shows
I just finished framing one of them this morning with some convex glass. This one is called "Uncle Six Eyes"
It's 11x14 and it will be at the 15th anniversary Copro Nason Show, opening Dec 9th.
there will be two other pieces there, . . .I'll be attending the opening.

Keeping myself honest

So I go to drop off my daughter to her dance class, . . . and as a little break, I decided to go next door to this fancy antiques shop. I ask the counter person if I could look at this 19Th century am bro-type, . . . it was in pristine shape, . . .in a 24 carat gold frame, . . . then I dropped it!!!!
Being a nice guy, . . .I said I'll pay for it, . . .yikes!
She gave me a break on the price (still overpriced)
I felt good about doing the right thing. I couldn't honestly walk(run) out of there without paying for it.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

The Arcanum Show

I have some work up at the Strychnin Gallerie's New York space.
The show opening was the weekend before Halloween and it was lots of fun. It was a large group show and I met most of the artists in attendance that night. One of the recurring themes that evening(however unintentional), was how nobody seemed to know I was there. When I say this, . . . I mean that I just don't look like the person that would paint the images that I come up with. I toyed with the idea of hiring a model and training him to be me( only more charming). In reality, I'm about as Goth as Jackie Chan(or Charlie Chan for those of you old enough to remember)
Anyways, I was asked to paint something "dark" for the show, . . . so I figured putting some of my characters in dresses would do the trick. I used to go to a school that had a really creepy janitor, I remembered a conversation I had with my friend Bruce Dunston, . . .and how, " Al the custodian would be really creepy as a cross-dresser".
Where was I?, . . . Oh yeah, . . . anonymity, . . .
Artist Matthew Bone, thought I would be a large Samoan person. I'm still not sure where he got that from. I've had contact with most of the artists through the internet prior to the opening and the anonymity of this world made it difficult to pick out who was who. Perhaps we should have worn name tags. There was a film crew there, interviewing the artists. I didn't get interviewed(must not have looked enough like an artist). Had I known, I most definitely would have hired that model, trained him to be surly and pissed off like those celebrities, punching out cameramen and such. I did sell a painting that evening, . . .that's always a plus! Interview or not, that's the real point of an art show, to sell the work!

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Timing is everything

I've been making art (paintings, drawings, art objects, etc.) for most of my life, . . . professionally for the last 17 years. Along the way, I've learned a lot of things about this business. One of the most important lessons learned, is that "timing can be everything". This applies to all of the creative arts, . . . music, acting, dance, writing, etc, . . . It's not always about "How good you are, . . . or who you know, . . . it comes down to having an opportunity and making the best of it", . . . not only do you have to market your skills and allow yourself to be in situations that can present opportunities, . . .you have to be ready when one is presented to you, . . . being in the "right" place at the "right" time and having the ability to deliver.
There are so many talented individuals out there, who are never given the chance to show what they can do. It can be frustrating.
Of course, there are also plenty of mediocre people out there who simply do a "serviceable" or " a good enough" job and are successful at marketing their reliability as something better than it actually is. They can "deliver" for sure, . . . just not something great!" One must know what finished work looks like (that's a start)
That said, I consider myself fortunate to be making a living in this business.