In July, I traveled from Paris, with Nite Owl, to Lurcy-Lévis in the center of France to participate in Street Art City. Street Art City is a complex of buildings that were once some kind of training facility for the phone company (or something like that), and has long since been abandoned. About 3 years ago the new owners started inviting urban artists to come to the complex and make murals, do installations and create a room at hotel 128. Hotel 128 is an old dormitory type building containing 128 small individual rooms on 4 floors. Every room has been taken over by an artist. Below is mine.
I worked, as much as possible, with existing materials from the room. Shower doors, broken sinks, clusters of light bulbs. An important aspect for me was to reapply sections of the removed wallpaper over areas of the portraits. I didn’t want these to feel as though they had been installed, but rather that these images were always there, under that veneer of wallpaper. I wanted the images to feel as if they perhaps predated the buildings utilitarian phase and were now, after all these years, uncovered. That idea runs parallel to the idea of the salvage portraits. Presenting not an evolutionary change, but a regression. Presenting atavisms. Traits in people that had long been dormant, strands of DNA that still exist is us, but have become obsolete in a post modern civilization. Traits that still exist under the facade of civilized society, which can be reawakened, given an extreme environmental change.
On the radiator in the room I wrote “Entering a period of consequences” as a sort of warning about the fragility of all these structures we have grown dependent on.
It was an interesting week, surrounded by these images in this tiny room, in an abandoned building miles from anything.
Lurcy-Lévis is centered in the middle of absolutely nowhere. Getting cigarettes was a 90 minute walk round trip. Surrounded by Corn and Cows, an ironic place to showcase urban art. It offers many artists a place to work free from the distractions of ordinary life, urban life; it’s peaceful. That said, places like this scare me, rural places. I am not a country person. It’s too quiet, it gets too dark at night- it’s too summer-camp slasher movie for me. It took some acclamation on my part. But being outside of your comfort zone is always a good thing.
I got to spend some unrushed time with the homies Nite Owl and Rachel Riot. Also got to know a few solid guys from Barcelona Sebastien Waknine, Simón Vázquez and Zeso. Making art is obviously the reason I travel as much as I do. The thing I value the most about that travel is the people I meet, the stories they tell and these unlikely little places like Lurcy-Lévis that I would have never seen if I wasn’t making art
As a Pow Wow Hawaii Alumni I was asked to be part of 1xrun’s Pow Wow Hawaii Print Series this year. I decided to do an edition of the piece I did at Pow Wow 2012.
I produced 2 versions of the “Ambition” image as chemical etched metal plates. Each plate is .030″ and 16×20 inches They are available in stainless steel, edition of 100 and Brass edition of 15. Each edition is signed and numbered and comes with a certificate of authenticity from myself and 1xrun. These drop Monday, February 22nd at 12noon PST. The brass edition is available HERE and the stainless steel edition is HERE
The etching process gives the surface an engraved or intaglio of the image which is then filled with paint. I choose this process to give the pieces some weight and dimensionality and create an object more than a print.
There is very little to be said about Paris that has not been said before. It is a city of stunning beauty created out of endless care and pride. Rather than attempt to describe it adequately I’ll sum it up in one story.
At the recommendation of my friend Steven Ballinger I had lunch at Musee Jaquemart-Andre. It’s a beautiful place to have lunch. However, at the end of the meal I ordered desert. It was some kind of rose flavored meringue thing. Actually I’m not sure what the fuck it was, the menu was in french and I don’t speak french. What arrived appeared to be more ornamental than edible. It was this beautiful pink and gold sculpture, so beautiful that it seemed wrong to plunge a fork into it and destroy it. I do though, derive some pleasure from doing things that seem wrong. Keep in mind, I am not a foodie in any way. I consider 7-11 a restaurant. With the first bite still in my mouth everything became clear. I thought “holy shit, if I could bake something like this, I too, would look down at America”. It was that good. It was a fucking pastry that negated 200 years of American exceptionalism. Paris gets things right. Period end of story.
Last December D Young V and I decided we would go to Thailand. There wasn’t any real reason for this, but there wasn’t any real reason not to. Bangkok is hot. It’s hot in December, it’s hot at 3am. Bangkok also never stops. It’s busy at noon and it’s busy at 3am. It’s one of those cities that doesn’t require you to have any energy, it has it’s own current. All you have to do is step into it and you’ll get carried along. To that extent the trip seemed less like 16 days and more like one really long day punctuated by intermittent naps. That was 4 months ago. I would describe all the things I did and saw, but it’s a dense kind of experience and honestly, I don’t remember a lot of it. There is this sort of high humidity fog over that part of my memory and I do remember some things that may not have actually happened. We’re very isolated in the U.S., something I never really cared for. For a few weeks while Dave and I were in Thailand the world was big again. Really big and really strange.
Last month I did the artwork for the cover of this Month’s Sierra Magazine. This was really an ideal situation. It’s a rare opportunity to get to work with a group as important as the Sierra Club. I also had the freedom to simply take this project and do what I do. Really, it was an ideal working environment. It’s always satisfying to be able to do your art while contributing to something you truly support. Some of you from San Francisco’s art community may recognize the model I used for the cover.
D young V and I collaborated of this piece in November. The Original piece is a 16×20 foot mural that was created as a part of Oakland’s First Fridays gallery walk. The Mural was reproduce on a 1 inch to 1 foot scale as a 16×20 inch Giclee print on 300lb Itlaian made cold press watercolor paper. This VERY limited edition print is a run of 20 only. Each print is signed by both artists and numbered.