• January Biannual 03 Interview

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    Last year I was interviewed by January Biannual:  A beautiful crowd-funded publication with no advertisements.  I enjoyed answering the questions very much.

    Here is how they describe themselves:

    “JANUARYbiannual is a publication with small dreams.  We are inspired to touch just a few, but in a way that is lasting and profound.

    JANUARYbiannual is fascinated by substance, by depth, by fortitude, and by integrity.

    It is our humble ambition to slow things down, for just a little while”.

    I think that’s wonderful.  Please check out the publication.

    Here is a link to the interview (a pdf file)

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

  • #73 Getting Finishing Touch

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  • Connie and Bill

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    Last week I was helping a painter friend, Connie Fox, document her work for a magazine article. It’s always nice to feel a connection through what artists do in our studios. Quite often, the generation gap, cultural gap, or anything that usually could be in between two people just vanishes when we talk about art. Since I wrote a bit last week about what I want my work to do, I was curious what she’d say about the artist’s contribution. She’s survived as an artist much longer than I have. In fact she turns 88 this year. And she is still a very active painter.

    I heard what she said and I decided to record it so that I could remember. Here is what I recorded:

    “The artist is involved with the spirit of the human being. And it’s very necessary to have that part of human life be in existence in any society to help keep it on the track so it’s not all matter of who wins, who loses, who makes the most profit, who comes out on top or who has the most power”.

    I told her that that’s pretty much what I wrote last week. We laughed. I felt good sharing a moment with her standing on the same ground, believing what we do. Very special moment actually.

    Then, of course, it made me think if we’ve done any good… She was born in the 1920s. She’s seen the whole growth of corporate domination and the expansion of western neo-colonialism. And in our cultural sphere, she’s seen the whole process of the mystery of our being and our sacred relationship to the universe being replaced with the substanceless marketing ploy of mystique which ultimately serves the status quo of our time: commercialism, militarism, alienation and apathy. Where are we going? As artists, and as a species?

    But seeing 87 year old Connie proclaiming her vision was more than enough to make all those concerns irrelevant for the moment. I should also mention that her husband, Bill King, is also an artist–a wonderful sculptor, still very active. He is also turning 88 this year. I should write about them sometime. I sometimes think of them with a sense of awe and reverence. They are the living proof of art providing life with beauty and dignity.

  • Power To The Artists

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    A few months ago a friend of mine called to tell me that he saw art works at an art fair that could only be described as copies of my work.  I saw the photos and to my surprise, the artist used many vocabularies I use–not just one, two or three–and with unmistakable resemblance, and the result should be described as nothing short of genuine ripoff.  I was fascinated as to why anyone would do such a thing.  What is the point of putting that much effort in repeating what someone else already has done when we have a rich abundant source of awe and amazement buried in our psyche waiting to be shared and added to our collective asset of art.  Then it took me about 3 seconds to realize that this person was probably hoping to capitalize on my efforts.  Knowing how hard that would be myself, I told myself “well good luck with that lol”.  My friend kindly wrote to the artist and to his gallery pointing out what was going on.   He received a reply from the artist basically saying that he will stay away from pursuing those works.

    I was not going to make the incident public but I realized that it is important that we be open about problems in art communities so that we are given opportunities to contemplate and self-regulate ourselves for smoother and more productive interactions.

    Art making, whether it’s literature, music, visual art or any other form, to me, is one of the most important humanistic attempts to reconcile the gap between our secular, practical self and that being which nature endowed as a powerful, mysterious existence as big and complex as nature itself.  I take it seriously although with a great amount of playfulness and freedom.

    The art world or art community has a peculiar position in today’s societies.  Although some artists or art works function with significant weight in corporate dominated societies, most of us–artists and art lovers–do not participate with much power.  The art market is not regulated with the same standards based on rule of law as other fields would be.  The infamous financial system recklessly putting forth its self-serving agendas to our political system, judicial system, and economic system seems rather orderly when you look at how selected art works are priced to function as something which they were never meant for or how big art institutions collude with financial powers to set agendas regardless of intrinsic values of art they show, often involving financial gains of parties involved.  And beyond all the fanciness and the ugliness, there are countless artists, art dealers,  curators and all the people who love art trying to make sense out of our daily struggles often encountering shadiness which you are less likely to face in other fields.

    The reason why I’m talking about our predicament is not to despair or even to suggest the need for governmental regulations.  We are outsiders.  But with the power.  We are connected to the power to guide our future based on our intrinsic values deriving from the mystery of nature.   I hear people laughing.  I hear people renouncing the cruelty of the society.  But there is no way around the fact that we are special with the power.  Let’s respect that fact.  And let’s be respectful to each other.  And when we share, do share with courtesy and intention to contribute to our collective asset of art.   We are here to ground humanity to the depth and richness of the universe which only our hearts can touch.

     

    My son, Cosmo, drawing on beach.

     

  • #75 in progress

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    Here is a surprising development with #75. A few months ago I noticed a sculpture by a friend, Kim Matthews, which had an interesting color and texture. She described to me that she casted paper pulp to make the shape and she used a special paint which had metal powder in it. The painted surface reacted with rusting agent to make beautiful orange and brown rusty surface. The result was very effective in creating a curious blend of rough paper surface with rusty metallic hue. I’ve been wanting to try it out and when I thought of making #75, I knew it was going to be the piece. It’s a rather small piece but it also has a large, monumental feel to it. I thought the weight of rusty metallic look might be perfect for it. And it looks like it’s working very well.

  • Ron’s ArtBBQ 2012

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    One of my favorite sculptors, Ron van der Ende, has an annual event of gathering artists’ music lists.  Here is a link to my list.  So far there are 45 artists in it.  Enjoy.

  • Tentatively titled #72

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    One of the new pieces…

     

  • Drawing

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    Drawing has been always an essential part of making for me.  It can be a sketch to remember ideas.  It can be a brainstorming process to come up
    with ideas.  It allows me to be physically connected to visual ideas.  It’s fun.  It’s also a making process to share the results of course.  In fact, that’s
    how I started.  But I haven’t been so productive in that way lately.  My drawings became paintings and they became sculptures.  But I’ve been hoping
    that I can bring back some drawing.  They are faster and more flexible.  It might show me more ways to explore.  Here are a couple of such attempts.
    The first one was published in “Sensorium”, a first publication by Skowhegan Alliance.


     

  • An Interview on Japan and Creativity

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    Recently I was interviewed about Japan and creativity.  It’s a part of Richard Galbraith’s project at Cementum.
    I enjoyed the interview very much.  Here is the link.



     

     

     

  • Elise Ferguson at Halsey Mckay Gallery

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    I really enjoyed Elise Ferguson‘s work at Halsey Mckay gallery.  She’s very good at clarifying her message
    without killing the subtle flavors.  In fact, there are lots of flavors in the work.  Not many artists really
    understand that those subtle things can give life and integrity to the work.  It’s highly recommended.

    It’ll be up till the end of the month.


    C Sticks by Elise Ferguson
    2011; pigmented plaster and silk screen on mdf panel; 24″ x 18″


    Inverted Formal by Elise Ferguson
    2012; pigmented plaster and silk screen on mdf panel; 24″ x 18″


    Black Joey by Elise Ferguson
    2012; pigmented plaster and silk screen on mdf panel; 24″ x 18″


    Crab X by Elise Ferguson
    2012; pigmented plaster and silk screen on mdf panel; 24″ x 18″