Monday, December 27, 2010

Of Physics and Florida

I started my trip out lost in the middle of Miami Beach far away from where I needed to be. Where I needed to be was in Miami proper (where I arrived an hour earlier and took a bus away from), but I was able to route myself and meet up with my friend Yibai at his amazing display in at the Mike Weiss booth at Art Basel. I was going to stay at a hostel but Yibai offered me a couch at the Fountainbleu and so I was invited in to a circumstance of unexpected luxury (quite a nice deal). Yibai busied himself with meetings and deliveries and various orders of business while I took it easy and watched youtube videos of Richard Feynman while sitting in a bubble bath. Now before I continue my story about florida let me talk about Mr. Feynman, who sparked a whole new and interesting chapter of my life (the physics one). Richard Feynman is a physicist from brooklyn who has an incredible talent with relating the complex ideas of science into layman terms. So I went out and read a couple of his books which were not scientific, just him reminiscing about events in his life, and often they would touch upon the scientific. And the more I read the more interested I became. So I went out and got a book of his science lectures, and I devoured it! So I went out and got the next on, but after only a single chapter I found that the mathematics were too complicated for me to grasp... so I've since hit the books and have been studying math voraciously in hopes to get to a level where feynman's basic physics lectures are not too complicated.

Anyway, back to Miami: So at night my friend who happened to live in Miami would take me out to clubs and get me into VIP areas where expensive alcohol was poured freely. A very interesting experience, mind you. You see I did not know what to expect coming in to this whole trip, and what I was introduced to was stranger yet. After weaving through a dimly lit and densely packed club, I am taken to a private table with seven to eight guys sitting around, most of them are exhausted from repeatedly going out and drinking the previous nights, each ogling the closest and most attractive girl. And everywhere I turned there was an extremely attractive girl, it was as if they only let attractive people in, which, as my friend informed me moments later, was actually the truth. Okay thats nothing special to Miami, that's all over the world. Indeed. But this sort of event would become synonymous with my time spent in Miami, and each place I would see the same faces repeatedly, all of them regularly staying out at these clubs until 3 or 4 AM. It was a strange strange place, and (sadly) I cannot make claims that I was above the pale, despite my sitting around and attempting to objectively observe the situation. There is something about these club scenes where it seems to absorb you into this process of de-evolution, where the primal urges of mankind become the sort of common language and actual verbal interaction is completely superfluous. It's like our way of maintaining the animal instincts which got us to this stage of evolution; it's as if Miami is a great petri dish where survival of the fittest is applied to aesthetics.

I might make a very large sculpture incorporating some of the strangeness of this experience, more on that in the months to come.

As for the rest of my florida trip, it was spent relaxing at my grandparents house, watching more videos about physics and science, as well as reading some Richard Dawkins and watching atheism debates (blasphemy!).

Monday, December 13, 2010


"Imagine spending seven years at MIT and research laboratories, only to find out you're a performance artist" said Golan Levit as he introduced his 2004 TED talk .

So now: Imagine spending 23 years of your life dedicated solely and only to being an artist, only to find out that you want to be a physicist.

(Don't worry I'm still gonna keep making sculpture, I just need to figure out how to combine the two.)

Anyway, I have been enjoying relaxing in florida immensely and will give good account of as many of the interesting things I can reasonably fit into one blog entry as possible.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Business Card and a Basel Expedition*.

In order to escape the cold, visit my grandparents, and catch up on current trends in the art world, I'm heading to Florida. I will be catching the tail end of Art Basel and spending a few days in Miami, hopefully meeting with my friend and esteemed sculptor Liao Ybai, as well as a good friend from college.

One issue that I had to address before making this trip was that I have finally finished the massive supply of business cards I printed out some two or three years ago. The last batch of cards was a standard black card with white text, and quite frankly I've grown tired of it, so I decided to do something a bit different. I actually fabricated all the different elements of the business card and placed them on sheet of steel ten times the size of an actual business card, I then had my photographer friend (and talented welding student) Mike Bloom come over and capture the whole thing on his high powered camera. And Voila!

*I wonder if anyone caught that Austin Powers reference.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

The Engine Room.

Despite my complaints about the rough dues paid in the art world it doesn't mean I'm left unequipped to deal with said burdens of the real world. We all succumb to the stresses and pressures of reality here and there, but what keeps us in the race is the ability to dust ourselves off and keep going. Keep on keepin' on. So I've been doing some small commissions and practicing my portraiture sculpting, a realm of work which truly hones my skills. I've also take to studying the literature of brilliant physicist Richard Feynman and thus sparked a new found interest in all things physics (not mention trying to learn the math involved!). It keeps me busy.

I know, I know, it's been a while.

Well let me start by apologizing for the month and a half of downtime. It's these transitional months which truly pry at the tethers of being an artist. It's when sales are slow and bills come fast. It's when we look to our friends slaving away soulessly at a day to day job (some do it soulfully), and it seems so glorious and stress free.

So I have been less productive than my usual output rate, maybe I had a little artistic block, maybe I just didn't want to transition into working in the cold in my unheated shop. In any event I neglected this blog. And I constantly make promises to rigorously update it and post here all the time and yadda yadda yadda, and then I go and ignore it for a month and half. So I'll make no promises. But because it's been so long I'll make this a very well rounded entry, I'll post some pictures, rant a little, talk about art, the state of the union, the Why.


Lets start with the state of the union. The artworld is much larger entity than I am, and as much as we artists think we are entrenched in it, we are all (except maybe Damien Hirst) objective observers, watching the circus go on without us, and it's usually the dead guys that win big. But we living artists are merely allowed our small window of access into the artworld, we see it only from our own perspective, the struggles and the bounty, the dips and the dives, and we paint the landscape of our perceived artworld as it pertains only to ourselves. Of course we can follow economic trends and observe industrial averages of art prices and things like that, but we're artists, so we generally don't. But we can take into consideration the ruminations of our colleagues and that helps us paint the picture of our current artworld, if it concurs with ours it just proves our point, and if it's drastically different well that just proves the chaotic nature of the beast. For the most part the artist life is a struggle, so we generally twitch unhappily at the mention of our spectral "artworld" mistress. But then... what is the artworld? I mean I explained it as a very personal thing, but that doesn't mean anything to someone who isn't an artist... so let me (try to) explain a little. My artworld is a series of attempts at selling art (a bold statement, I know). I make sculpture as much as a can, because that is what I do, and when I'm not making it I'm trying to devise ways of selling it. This often places me in the position of a hustler, hawking his goods on an unwilling mark. But I don't like selling myself, it just doesn't seem right, I end up feeling like a pariah (not to mention one must maintain the cool air that the sale is completely superfluous, so as to give the potential client the vibe that you are an artist for arts sake). Not my thing. So I put my work out there, I make it available for people to see as best I can, and I hope people come to me. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't (it works better when NY is warm). Of course one will say, why don't you get gallery representation? Well the gallery is a dying breed, struggling to sustain itself, and unless you're in the most renowned of galleries, you're likely not to sell much; and if you do sell, the owner gets 50% of the profits and 75% of your soul. No bueno. So sell on the internet you say! Hah! Don't get me started on that one!

So this brings me to Why. Why go through the rigors of a process that is not only labor intensive physically, but also mentally and emotionally. Well I never felt there was a day where I made the conscious decision to be an artist. I was born, and I made little sketches, and I fooled around in my dads shop, and it was just part of life. Now that has grown to be a part of me, and if I go too long without it I seem to lose my equilibrium. So maybe it's an opiate of sorts or maybe it's just all know.... Maybe I do it because I feel like I have something to say that cannot be articulated in words and, because I am possessing a skill which I honed over the course of my whole life, I am now capable of making that known in a much more direct way. Like transmitting a thought. But I don't want to get carried away in heady notions, this isn't an artist statement to placed pompously next to a glossy resume near at the entrance to a white-washed show. I do it because

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Dominic Frances

This World War 2 vet and skilled carpenter took me over a month of mind wrenching work, including around 100 hours of physical labor. Dominic Francis is currently 90 years.

Sculpture photography by

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Sir Dominic's Preview

Well sir is not actually appropriate, but it's better than saint. I've been working on a portrait of Dominic Francis for nearly a month now (it's starting to wear away at me) and I've finally come to the home stretch. With only about two to three more days worth of work here is a sneak preview of Dominic Francis (who is currently 90 years old).

Monday, September 20, 2010

Art Market Conundrums

I am not writing this blog because I'm fiscally hurting, in fact I may be doing better than ever, rather I am writing this because there is a trend which irks me greatly in the vast overarching Art World. You see these days it seems artists fall into one of two categories, post collegiate brooklynites or elite highbrow conceptualists. Of course there are plenty of exceptions, but those are always key in proving a rule.

The post college art students living crammed into small brooklyn lofts working meager jobs as waiters or movers or selling shoes, whatever. They are working hard to survive so that they may pursue something they truly love, a noble venture, one which I embark upon from my own direction, and salute those who sail these stormy seas parallel to my own voyage (did I jump too quickly into that metaphor?). However the second group, the high-art cognoscenti (as Juxtapoz Magazine founder Robert Williams would call them) are playing a very different game. The art being produced at the Chelsea-gallery level is generally so devoid of craft and so interwoven with complex symbolism and meaning and metaphors and conceptualism that the lay person finds it to be almost a mockery (and I will reiterate that many exceptions exist). It seems that the only people who understand the complexities of this post-modern art, are the ultra sophisticated and highly pretentious art critics . These critics, as well as the gallery owners themselves, directly inform the very aged community of art collectors as to which artist they should be buying. So essentially, art is being broken.

Craft is so downplayed that they try and train it out of us in school ( I know, I went to one), consist with drivel you see being produced at the highest level in our current backwards Art World ( I like that, the Backwards Art World, it has a nice ring to it). It used to be the best artist was the best craftsman. He was held as nobility and spoke to kings and popes on an intimate basis. And he didn't just stumble upon his position, it wasn't some windfall because his uncle wrote a column for Art in America, he went through a rigorous training process, apprenticed for many years until he finally could break out on his own and show how talented he (it was fairly male dominated back in the day) was, and then he could make his mark. Now its almost a stigma to try and break out as an artist. It's as if the positions are stagnant, and though the younger generations is teeming with talent, for the most part it goes unnoticed. I think the only way that art markets will be fixed is some grand global collective eye-opening...

Monday, September 13, 2010

Dripping Shirt

Support the arts: buy a shirt.
20 bucks, limited availability.

If you want one, e-mail me.

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Coat Rack.

Well I've got some computer troubles, so photoshopping isn't in the cards at this exact moment (so the photos are a little sub-par), hopefully digital photo-editing will be back soon. Until then enjoy not knowing the difference.

Stay tuned for a few interesting things which I may eventually have to say and , most importantly, new T-shirts!

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

A Beautiful Bitter Pill

The world is currently riddled with problems, where exactly they stem from I can't say for sure. Some have posited that they are results of the industrial revolution, some say the technological revolution is to blame, some say the revolution of capitalism, maybe it was just all the revolutions combined, maybe it's because there wasn't enough revolution... whatever it is: the World's got issues. Though I am not alone in my thinking this way, mine has been a very low-profile sentiment. Maybe everyone feels it to some extent but only a rare few want to whole-heartedly admit to the facts; for the most part the blind eye is faithfully turned, ignorance is bliss and all that. But the only way to start affecting change is to be open to it, you can't change something which you are pretending does not exist. Step one of any Anonymous step-based program is always admitting to the problem. Well humanity it's time some eyes start opening, it's time for step one on the proverbial 12-step. You see maybe I have the "answer" or, more likely, maybe you have the answer, the only problem is: not enough people are listening. However, a wonderful thing is starting to happen, a new trend is forming, slowly but surely: Awareness is getting popular. It's developing a following, groups are forming, like-minded people are getting together and saying "lets expose some problems!" The real wonderful thing about the internet and this trend is that, not only are they doing it in a well researched and eloquent way, but they are also making it really interesting and enjoyable to watch. The people behind RSA Animate are doing some fantastic things and though no real solutions or answers are being posed (nor do I think the timing is right for that) but truths are being unveiled through online speeches in a slow-drip fashion which is gradually building up to a potentially water-fall like pressure in it's exposition of well... "where we've gone wrong".

Though this video is not the best the site has to offer it does give a nice baseline and explains what the goal of this little think-tank currently is, so check it out: 21st Century Enlightenment

or check out all the brilliant thoughtful RSA Animate short lecture series.

And if you haven't already been exposed to TED Talks, well add that to your agenda:

I only have one real problem when I watch these videos:
the fact that they don't have 100 million views, that they aren't the most viral thing on the web!
So go! Spread the word, tell your friends! Awareness is that new shit, get on it!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Trophies and more.

So, I had a very busy yesterday: creating four trophies for the 2010 Skylands Classic Disc Golf Tournament. I usually spend about a day per trophy like this, but for a very special client, with a very tight deadline, I was able to bust out all four in one day.

Included in the shots below is a nice working shot with some cool stuff lying around on the table, the completed trophies, as well as a picture of the Dressage Horse I did at the end of 2007 which took all of my ability at the time and was made over the course of two weeks (and to think, if that took me more than 5 days now I'd be ashamed!)

Also: Igby.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Enraptured by Spiders

I've recently been reading a book called Life of the Spider by John Crompton and it's really quite an enthralling read. You see we look down upon these tiny creatures in our oh-so-human way, but really they are cunning and capable beyond anything we can imagine. The author has a whimsical (albeit old-school misogynistic) tone which is quite funny and delightful. The most truly amazing thing about this book (spiders aside) is the amount of time and energy that went into making it. You see in our current day and age we are so hyper-connected that all research has already been done for us, and the multitude of experiments that are going on are going on in thousands of places simultaneously and have all been done before, new ground is seldom tread. However, when this book was written (1950) there was still so much to learn from hands on research. So what do you have: a small community of dudes who love to sit around look at spiders in jars for hours on end. In one particularly case the author sites another author who had his son stay up all night watching one particular spider to finally figure out its late-night eating habits. Thats what makes the book so interesting, it's intrinsically tied to a world which barely exists anymore. A world which necessitated hands-on experimentation, where people as individuals still made meaningful discoveries and contributions.

Besides the interesting dichotomy that one can draw between that era and our present times, the spiders themselves prove to be inspiring beyond all measure. The things they do to survive and procreate are simply astounding. One character in particular who I was fond of was the Tube spider who burrows into the ground and lives inside a small tunnel which he covers over. The end of the tunnel protrudes above the ground and is a cause for much curiosity amongst other local insects and when they start to snoop around he bursts out of the ground, snatches the insect, and runs back inside to feast. Thats it, thats pretty much the entire life of this spider, sitting in wait at the bottom of a quarter inch wide tube. And to think, he doesn't even have a cellphone down there.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Igby! Go down!

So I had my little festival not too long ago now, and with that festival came the arrival of my very rambunctious new companion, Igby. You see we (my father and I) had not intended upon getting this dog, he merely happened to us. What was the following: I was outside in the courtyard where my festival was held, cleaning up beer cans and husks of corn when my dad yells to me from the window that "Something just ran through your garden.... I think it was a dog!" So I run out of the courtyard to the vast expanse of field directly behind it. Lo and behold, I see something black and white and extremely doglike careening through my fields, so I start running myself. After I ran about half the length of the field (maybe 200 yards) I was able to glimpse the dog again, at the farthest reaches of my property, about to enter into the dense forestland. So I start clapping and calling and much to my surprise he responds! He comes running back in my direction and follows me back into the courtyard and proceeds to help me clean up by eating as many corn husks as he can handle. So I take him down towards the house, I give him a little food and a little water, but I had some friends who I was meeting for breakfast that morning, so we decide it's probably best if we just leave the dog and maybe he'll wander instinctively back in the proper direction (who knows...). After spending a good long time eating breakfast we return home without any expectation of seeing a dog on our property, and indeed he is not there, but not more than 20 minutes later he shows up at the front door and well, he's been ours ever since. Igby, named after the somber movie which sat on my shelf, had a collar but no tags when we found him. We tried to locate an owner, but to no avail. He's been somewhat well behaved with a tendency towards being really hyper, but I think thats largely due to the fact that he's just a puppy....

So yeah, I got dog.

Monday, August 09, 2010

Tread lightly, tread nicely.

For now I proceed with caution as my fingers graze their desired keys... I've left this most wonderful template solitary for quite some time now and I almost fear as if entering into it once more I will find a woe begotten mistress or an old woman with a shotgun (or something equally terrifying)... But alas, it's just good old blank-slate-blog-entry format, and so to hit the ground running (and when I have due momentum I'll post some rather delectable rants) I'll upload some nice new photos of a nice new sculpture, a nice little mural I painted on the front of my house, and some nice old photos of the wonderful event which I had not too long ago (oh and the nice new dog whose backstory will be blogged about shortly)... So without further ado:

Nice new sculpture.

Nice new dog (Igby).

Nice new mural (Severe Thunderstorm Warning) .

Nice people.

Nice little setting for my nice little event.


Friday, July 16, 2010

Maitre' Duo

Here's some pix of my latest creation, a two headed chef (one of the pictures is set to a background of my blossoming Nasturtium flowers), and also me looking silly playing soccer.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

The Flashburn Festival

Come one, come all!

Also I've had some sweet press recently

Inclusion in issue number four of the online based Sodium Magazine

And this nice little interview at the New York Folk Arts Examiner

Thursday, July 08, 2010

ODB is for the children (complete)

Here's a nice array of photos of the newly completed ODB memorial sculpture. The head stands about two feet high and is made entirely of steel. The teeth are coated with brass and the hair has been blackened with a hot oil technique. The word "Wu Tang Clan is for the Children" followed by "RIP ODB" adorn the outer edge of the base and "1968 - 2004" is inscribed in weld on the bases surface. A video of the sculpture's production coming soon.

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

ODB is for the children

First look at the new ODB sculpture: still not entirely-complete.
More pix coming soon.