Wednesday, February 18, 2009


I've completed my 5x5 early this year. early JP? But, JP! You don't do early? well no... I don't, however, after being asked if I wanted to participate in some press releases for the event, in which they wanted to show the artists alongside their pieces, I said SURE! Because if there's one thing I am learning about being successful as a self employed artist, it is that it's a constant hustle. And I'm always game for a good publicity stunt! 

So here's the little beast. It is a self-portrait, colored pencil on board, measuring 5"x 5" in the frame, which my dear father built for me, (he's a gem). 

You may choose either of these two reasons why I chose a self portrait; 
1. I am the easiest model to get a hold of on short notice. 
2. I wanted my picture taken twice, a picture of me, with a picture of me.

I got a great deal of flack in college for doing self portraits, The logic being, I assume, that, if you are a semi-attractive young woman, the only reason anyone can think of that you would choose to draw yourself is because you're totally into yourself. 
*Insert me screaming expletives at imaginary critiques, here.*

There are several reasons why I chose to portray myself in various works. Each time the reason was different, and it's really just luck that I happen to be a semi-attractive young woman. When I am old, I suppose everyone will assume the work is about my own death, or a commentary on aging... I bet it won't be.

As I've explained above, I chose to use myself for two reasons, 
1. I was the easiest model around. I still have a great deal of trouble directing my models, and getting the mood right. I am working hard on finding the cure of this... I'll keep you up to date.

2. Because the work was about my experiences, and I didn't want someone else in there mucking up the catharsis of putting my own image through that experience again.
Now it could be argued, that number 2. is in fact narcissistic. But! Lets get real. If we deem that all artwork about the artist's experience is narcissistic, then all art is so. And that, I can agree with. All art is for the artist first, and the patron/the public/the mesuem/etc., second. I've said it before and I will continue to say, that art is a masturbatory event. It is firstly self-serving and self-satisfying, and rightly so. In my personal experience artists that try to ignore this truth, try to make it about something bigger, better, holier, progressive-ier well, those artists annoy me greatly, and are also never happy... or, satisfied. It is us exploring our own world, not their world, ours, and it can only ever be our personal experiences, and interpretations that inform our hands to draw what they do. So go forth my little painting friends, and rub one out on the canvas! Just don't go calling me a narcissist, I can do it myself, and for the right reasons.

Self Portraits (a revisiting)

In the post above this one, I went into some length about how vexed I become concerning the misinterpretation of self-portraits. One of the issues I mentioned being frustrated with, narcissism, stems from the fact that I am very touchy about being labeled self-centered. This deeply upsets me because it may be a wee bit true, and I put a good deal of focus into keeping it from being so... after all I can't help that I am kinda awesome now can I? The point is, that my awesomeness is not the reason I use myself in my work. I shall go into a few brief examples...

"Self" this 24"x 18" panel is painted with nose bleed blood. Yes, you read that correctly... it was early in 2005, cold outside (heater induced nose bleeds) and I was in a rather dark place in my human development. I was rebelling against a gentleman whom I had deeply respected, who, having just dumped me, his judgement was in great question. One of the opinions in question was that all female artists who painted themselves nude were just looking for easy slutty attention. Several other topless pieces were to follow. bottom-line, what else would you paint with your own blood?

"Upon the Penultimate" this roughly 30"x 24" collage piece is as literal a snapshot as I could creating of my return from Eastern Europe. The emotions psychically felt like my neck opening up into a great Elizabethan collar. I rode the moving sidewalks all over the Chicago Airport waiting for my flight. I could never use someone else to express such a personal experience.

"Another Anticipation of Toads" 18"x 24" This is the second of two pieces dealing with the fiary tale idea that the good daughter is rewarded with diamonds and rubies and pearls falling out of her mouth every time she speaks, and the bad daughter having toads etcetera fall out of her mouth. I am totally into the weirdness of this tale, both times I have planned to have toads falling from the mouth and both times it didn't seem to need to be happening once the pieces were designed. In this case I knew exactly what pose I wanted and what shirt and what bathtub to use. I was easy to use, and that was why I was it. sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Whipping it out!

This is Jessi Lively, I drew her in a matter of days... this is quite an accomplishments for my methods. 20"x 16" Colored pencil, paper collage, conté and ink on board. Let us hope things continue this lickity split!

I've been debating in which ways to display this new body of work online, if at all, until its unveiling later this year at my shows. However, I must admit to a deep hunger for feedback. It is so difficult to create a piece of art and set it aside for later, it requires something of which I do not excel, the suppression of my own excitement. 

The other side of the coin is that I am letting the cat out of the bag. I am showing work that must rest here with me until at least August. For now until I have stronger feelings about how stingy to be, I'll only post work here, not on my other pages... You dear blog reader may enjoy, a lengthy preview. Thank you for joining me here.

Monday, February 9, 2009

We Have Come Full Circle

This is the finished piece, (as of yet untitled) that I teased you with, dear reader, in my very first post. I finished it just before the weekend, and I am very pleased... 

The specs are: Colored pencil, with an acrylic background on board measuring 24"x 36" I still have a majority of the pencils I used on this piece sitting out on my desk, I shall count and then share with you exactly how many pencils it takes to get to the center of a tootsie pop.

For some reason this work has felt like it took an especially long time to complete, even though it has been pretty average, and gone smoothly. I believe this is in part due to having transported it on many of my travels, making it feel... almost like a ball and chain. Making it much more of a literal physical burden. BUT! Here we are today, and I have that nice sense of accomplishment chirping inside me.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

This is Victoria Reynolds work. I love it, it's so beautiful and visceral without being gross... or at least I don't find it gross, (these things are subjective). I love that the frame is so integrated into the piece, some of her other work has more basic framing and those don't sing as well as they do when the frame itself becomes the stuff of cartilage and bone. I love that it is just a big unapologetic pile of meat. love love love. Life, death, self, nourishment, sanguine, goodness.

Let's talk about gross... I'm really not into it. Not in art. I think shock value is sort of what losers resort to, if I may put it so bluntly. I believe this is because it's the easiest way to get a reaction. Art is supposed to cause feeling, Art doesn't survive unless it gets noticed,  but what a sad state, for an artist to have to resort to horror in order to grab at you. Think about it. Try and make someone feel love, feel desire, feel compassion, make them feel these emotions by putting them in front of a painting. Well, good luck to you. It is almost impossible. These emotions are guarded, we're all so very suspicious of a piece of Art that wants to make us happy. However, in any situation, the fastest reaction, emotion, feeling you can evoke from someone, fully, honestly and completely is, disgust. Wipe one of your boogers on your sister and you're done. Message received and achieved. Reaction full, reaction bodily. So. Easy.

Yes, yes, horror and the grotesque have their rightful and respectable place in art. These things do need addressing, from booger wiping, to genocide. They are worthwhile, some in their own right, some importantly so... but the shock is so over used. Since it is so easy to shock why can't we have a slow and thoughtful reveal? If you want to deal in the disgusting, the vile, the violence and the cruel give it the respect it is due, give it beauty, give it bravado. Perhaps in a light example, the way Ms. Reynolds gives her dead animal parts provocativeness... Sexy dead animal parts. That nuance alone makes me think about it much more than if I were, in fact, presented with a pile of slaughtered elk. Another more heavy handed example might be Andres Serrano's Piss Christ which is a beautiful photograph! And that is one of the reasons it works so very well at delivering its sucker punch message. 

What I am trying to express is best described in the cliche, the dark looks the deepest against the dawn kids. If you're going to make big angry artwork about awful/gross/violent/sanguinary topics, I demand that you give me my damn spoonful of sugar to go along with it.

Sunday, February 1, 2009


"Nurturing the Fertile Spirit" the central piece, 24"x48" in a series of new works created by myself and tribalbot, the figure is mine, the setting is Mr. bot's:

Greeting in the New Year... yes... I realize it is now somehow February... I have no idea how that happened. But let me tell you this year is off to a roaring start and I am feeling like a flapper at the worlds fair. Speaking of Worlds Fair, which is the name of the Flaming Lips record label, Friday night, Jan. 30th 2008, I sold one of the below collaborations to Wayne and Michelle Coyne. This fills me with a certain glowing pride, knowing that something I had a hand in creating is uplifting and will be hanging out in the home of two such Dreamy Dreamers as TFL's lead singer and his wife.  I feel cool. 

It couldn't have happened without the help of my lovely coconspirator and collaborator tribalbot. The piece is centered around his tweaky twiggy black and pink flower, and the Coyne's have expressed interest in Mr. bot's work in the past, all that plus my flashy gold background sealed the deal. Yay for us.

The show opening where all this went down, was the annual fund raiser for City Arts, and it was fantastic. Great energy in the room and great feed back on the paintings. I feel that the hard work I put into this body of work, has paid off. Cheers 2009, I'm totally into you!

"Fitful Flora" 10"x 6.5" the sold piece in question:

"Ode to Bee" 5"x 5" which sold to the talented artist Ryan Cunningham, I drew the bee tribalbot painted the glowing yellows and purples:

"Converging Trails" 10"x 10" My bit in this piece would be the snails:

"The Natural Order of Things" 10"x10" I did the background in this piece, tribalbot painted the centipede:

"Kiss Me!" 8"x 10" I drew the pretty pocky toad:

"Pink Moon" 12"x10" I drew the trees and the soft pink and grey background, tribalbot applied the glowing fowl: