Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Dreams N' Schemes (The Surround)

I rarely take anything from my dreams if at all, but there is one in particular that really made me think. It began with me in a forest that was paved like a street. I followed the street until I reached a merry-go-round. The creepy thing about the ride was that all of the horses had googly eyes (you know, the kind that are glued to Pet Rocks?). A red-headed girl clung to me saying she was afraid and suddenly I was transported to a Chinese buffet I was currently working at during the time.

They told me to clean up some moldy dog poop and I did (though reluctantly). I finally left the building only to wind up back into the forest. The girl clung to me again and we walked slowly out of the forest into a desert. While we were walking, our lives fast-forwarded until we were both 80 years old and married. The desert we walked into had large awkward statues that loomed over us for miles. When we reached the horizon a witch (yes, she looked just liked the Wicked Witch of the West on a broom) swooped down with a 3-pronged gardening tool. She went ahead and ripped my wife's head in pieces (specifically the back of her head). I was standing there watching in horror while getting blood on my person. After the horrendous scene ended, I looked down and in my hands I was holding the tool used to murder my wife.

Anywho, this dream has always disturbed me though also comforted me in a strange, unexplainable way. It has to be the most visually graphic dream I've ever had. The most visually memorable moment I have ever had during my conscious existence is basically a collection of moments from Busch Gardens in Williamsburg. All in one day I saw the view of the whole park from violent, jarring directions on a rollercoaster as well as wolves for the first time in their zoo habitat. I love wolves by the way. I also remember going into this cafeteria that had an old German environment, complete with visuals, and they had a live band play celebratory music for Oktoberfest. Even though this scene was the least "amazing" it still had an impact on me as creepy and unfamiliar. There was no Nazi reference in the entire building, but I had this aching fear the Gestapo was going to get me any second during my over-priced amusement park lunch.

Progress Makes Perfect (The Surround)

I have been working in my studio for a few weeks now and I would have to say I am about half done with the triptych I envisioned, starting with these sketches:

The ideas are staying alive in my paintings, but I am not going to add the Yarmulke (or Kippah) and shawl (or Tallit) since I feel my pieces will speak for themselves and the vague dualities in my paintings will blend together better. My main purpose is to show a Jewish character actor in a religious state (whether it be praying to, basking in, or fearing God) while the background represents my thoughts on secular and cultural Judaism.

I did discover, however, that I truly enjoy using mixed media to express my work. I have used pastel on top of acrylic to give a material sense to my work as well as textured gel. I can be gentle when painting a figure to becoming forcefully violent with pastel strokes in the background. I am excited to see what will happen with my plans from here. The best moment I had tonight when I worked was when I added pastel to the textured pumice gel. I was adding or "creating," but some of the pumice fell off which felt like "destruction." This situation reflects the controversy with secular Judaism. Some feel like they are creating a new era while others feel like the sacred respect of Judaism is being tossed aside.

These dualities remind me of Christodoulos Panayiotou's audio/video pieces of the before and after. The same situation is introduced, but different reactions occur with the different parts. Out of all of the artists of the weekend I felt this coincided the best with my work, but Hassan Khan's piece with the reflective glass also feels like my current piece. I feel like I am exposing my ideas for the first time on canvas without any restraint.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Sketches of my Heroes.

I did some sketches to pass the time of Tim Curry and Sam Neill. The former is an inspiration to us all and threw our nation into a frantic state of coulrophobia. The latter is best known for playing Dr. Alan Grant in Jurassic Park, too bad I didn't use a picture of him wearing his hat.

Like I said in an earlier post I am interested in character actors. For my concentration I am interested in the Jewish links of myself as well as the real life Jews that play characters. These two men, however, are not Jewish though maybe I can make some links to all character actors and how they face absurd realities in their worlds. Sometimes (especially in Curry's case) they are the antagonist. What does a "bad guy" think in his everyday routine other than wanting to thwart his adversary? What mundane moments are in between building a giant ray gun and capturing the sweetheart of his enemy?

Dr. Grant's case, he does not fight a "bad guy" at all. He only evades dinosaurs who are merely confused in the time period they were forcefully brought into by man. There are thin lines between right and wrong. There are also thin lines about who is doing right and who is doing wrong. Is a man who sells drugs on the street to feed his family wrong? Is a woman who saves animals, but ignores the homeless right?

Sunday, September 12, 2010


To All On The Internet,

I have no idea if anyone reads blog, but they are in for a treat. I plan to link this blog to my very first website. I want to include everything that I find interesting in art and I guess just type up little ideas about them. I am also doing some class assignments, but they go along the same lines.

To give you an idea about what inspires me, let's talk about what is on my desk right now. The second season of Columbo (an amazing mystery/thriller series about a wily detective who stops untouchable rich people from getting away with murder), The Wolfman (2009 remake of the classic horror film), the first season of Dragonball Z (an anime that follows an alien's life and how he fights to protect Earth), and the first season of Peewee's Playhouse (one of the most creative children's shows ever). As you can see, I am interested in a variety of things and I take ideas from numerous sources.

Thank you for anyone who reads this blog and I shall keep posting! So hold on tight!

Monday, September 6, 2010

"What is it??"

This summer was different for me since I worked on research instead of working at a Chinese restaurant where people asked why I wasn't Asian. Though, being a host can be fun at times I was much more content working at the University of Delaware by painting Jewish Comedians. I wanted to connect the idea of past events that were important to Jews such as Heinrich Heine (who created self-ironic satire for Jews), the Yiddish Theatre (was like a second community Temple for some people), the Holocaust (how people used humor to lighten the already dark situation they had to live within), and the struggle with censorship of identity. My final piece led to Larry David who was wearing women's underwear, this image showed everything that I wanted to describe in my work. Self-humiliation is an important aspect in Jewish comedy because as a minority they had to deal with people already putting them down, so why not laugh at oneself to ease any tensions?

This semester I want to focus on Jewish character actors. Specifically, for my first project I want to use Peter Falk (Columbo), Henry Winkler (The Fonz), and Paul Reubens (Peewee Herman). I also want to tie in historical contexts into them as well. Maybe to show how Jews have strengthened over the years and give a visual example of the vitality within these people.

Two specific artists that I want to look at and study while I paint is N.C. Wyeth (illustrated Treasure Island) and Norman Rockwell (Saturday Evening Post). Their work is amazing when a person's expressions are being illustrated. Wyeth has the ability to compose people in various abstract situations (which is something I am interested in) and Rockwell gives life to drawings/paintings with ease.

In the end I want a painting that has dual messages and using stark black/white people is misleading because people never have one clear situation to deal with, they always have gray areas. People always have choices to make and maybe fate leads each path a different way, but there is always an action that decides what will occur. My aspects will deal with religious thought and secular thought mixed with a historical reference that is relevant to the particular person being portrayed.