Friday, January 28, 2011

A HOPPER, skip and a jump!

As posted previously, I took my snow day from SVA yesterday to walk some slushy miles around the upper part of Manhattan. Specifically, from Spanish Harlem (SphaHa) down to Hunter College and The Whitney Museum of American Art. I went for the Edward Hopper show, as his prints have always been hanging in my parents house, making these particular few paintings feel like family, for as long as I can remember. There was even the slightest sense of shock, walking around one of the corners in the gallery and seeing this:

Which I know in my logical, college educated brain that this is Hopper's 'Early Sunday Morning' which he painted in 1930. However, in my immediately nostalgic and naive brain I thought 'When did we bring that here? How did they get it?' As this print has been hanging, actual size, in the living room in SoHo since I was born. Duh. Its a print (slaps forhead). I did not actually speak this aloud to the guards and museum goers, or the boy with the loudest swooshy snow pants running about the hall, but I still felt my face get all hot and blushy when I realized yes, I thought this classic american painting was from our collection of prints. I can be such a fool in love when it comes to American Classics. Remember this baby?

Another painting so familiar to the masses that it could be old relative who falls asleep in the same chair every Thanksgiving, and we just let them. Hopper's 'Gas' painted in 1940. I feel like we've all received a postcard at some point in our lives from a friend traveling not too far, but far enough to send one, down some back country bumpkin road in what could be any state, and it being this image of Mr. OverAlls at the red pump. Do you not agree?

I very much enjoyed this show, and got my weekly dose of Americana just being there. What I liked probably the most out of any of these works, were the watercolors. Noticing the paint discrepancy in a lot of the oils, the watercolors stood out to me. In his oil on canvas pieces, Hopper painted some almost as if he was short on paint, or running out, or just very stingy with it. Very very thinly applied, to the point of transparency in some of his work, while later ones seem to show more of it gobbed on there. That may be the case with oils, but not the lighter watercolors.

Watercolor is one of my favorite mediums to work in, and to see these fresh, crisp watercolor on paper works was breathtaking! It looked like they were all painted yesterday, dried on the kitchen table, and hung up today. I could close my eyes and SEE them being painted, they were so clear. But watercolor is just like that if you ask me. There are no tricks, not really anyway, no smoke and mirrors-everything shows. Each and every time Hoppers brush touched down and came off of the paper, the entry and exit of each stroke, was right there, before Manhattan's eyes. Really incredible feeling.

I had some good feelings yesterday and some bad ones. The bulk of the bad ones really being the failure of my boots, which I bought in England to keep my feet warm and dry in inclement weather such as yesterdays, and they just did not stand up and do their part, at all. Kind of a bummer. But along with bad weather, comes good photos. Here are some I took on my Alaskan walk thought uptown yesterday...

Doesn't this just scream snow angels? It was sufficiently fenced off to the public though...

No hoops for Upper East Siders todayyyy

Could it have been any slushier? 7 million wet ankles say no, it can't.

Some soccer mom (turned hockey mom this time of year) is going to be pisssssssed!

As if New Yorkers aren't destroying enough wildlife themselves, heres a nice kick in the pants brough to you by the phenomenon know as thundersnow.

Whats a good day without some new friends?

At first thought these little guys were all that remained of an abandoned fruit cart, but I guess they were just made by vegetable hating children.

I dont know how this man got in there, but he looks far from ever getting out :-/

I will save the other show at the Whitney for another post, where I can dedicate much much more time and energy to describing it. Please go see it. Any fan of Godzilla or Polly Pocket will LOVE it, and you'll see why when I do post it on here.


Thursday, January 27, 2011

Holy SNOW DAY Batman!

I understand that this blog is supposed to be about art and my work and my process and yadda yadda yadda, and not particularly about the weather, which it seems to have some emphasis on recently. Let me explain.... Its January, and New York City really has been getting bent over by Jack Frost and receiving a hearty dose of snow nearly every night now! Give it a rest! We're not like the rest of North America who prepare every year for this crap, and it puts a real damper on every situation.
My school is closed. Blessing? Not quite. I stayed up last night slaving over a hot laptop to produce an acceptable Artist Statement, which I was going to promptly hand in today, as it is due this week, its already Thursday, and I don't have class on Friday. WELL! Now that Manhattan is the north pole, I won't be able to get my work in, and will have to go to school on a day when normally I wouldn't. Minor blunder, but still entirely annoying.

Perhaps I will take this day to see a museum, once the guys on my sidewalk finish shoveling, that is. Preferably The Whitney, to see what all the hub-bub is about this Hopper show, and some weird performance that goes on in the main hall, what ever that is.

Anyway, to keep spirits up, here are some photos and a review from a few months back when I attended this silly but amazing show in the Lower East Side. I think it is pretty self explanatory...

TEN THOUSAND CUPCAKES an installation by Leah Foster

CON Artist Gallery at 116 Ludlow Street

Review by Alexa Strautmanis

The title of this show is literal, and in actuality is an installation of ten thousand cupcakes. The chosen site for this piece is an unassuming basement in the lower east side, which you access through those doors in the sidewalk we are all afraid of falling into when left open.

The aroma of baked goods wafts up and hits you harder than the ‘CAUTION! LOW HEAD CLEARENCE!’ sign on the way down the nearly vertical, accident-waiting-to-happen staircase. Once descended, you enter the front room, which acts as a retail space, full of items totally unrelated to anything muffin. Just clothing, jewelry, assorted accessories, a kind of haberdashery if you will, full of ties and pretty little things to adorn to clothing, including a quite fetching turquoise scorpion broach.

Through the doorway you can already see the treats inside, cupcakes upon cupcakes upon cupcakes, creating a colorful crumbly wall, cemented with frosting. Each vertical column is suspended from the ceiling by what seems to be a high test fishing line of some sort, but the weight of the cakes have stretched out the string, leaving a few of the bottom ones slack on the floor. Cupcakes form floor to ceiling walls, creating a hallway leading to an inner room, completely enclose the viewer in a cake cubical.

At first glace, no two cupcakes are exactly the same, completely individualized with different frostings, sprinkles, and baking liners. It brings to mind snowflakes, in their uniqueness, and Christmas time altogether, threading popcorn after popcorn for decoration, and how you always end up eating at least a few along the way.

For such an overpowering, larger than life scene, there is an undeniable innocence in these confections as a whole. It takes a girl back to the days of EZ bake ovens, and making necklaces and bracelets of colorful plastics, selecting each bead with conviction to form a beautiful pattern when it hangs. Using a medium like cupcakes, which are so iconic in and of themselves, leaves the piece open to interpretation. It could very well be a simple nod to childhood, or even a more confrontational topic like the obesity epidemic present in America today. One can even look at this installation as a memento mori piece, as the cupcakes go stale, hardening and crumbing over time, losing their taste and aroma, they lose life.

Whatever the message is, if there even is a set message, this piece is a sight to behold. Few people will ever see this amount of cupcakes, unless they happen to work in a Hostess factory. This show is definitely worth a visit while its still warm on a windowsill, and will leave you perfumed in angel food.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Studio Visits and MUSE

Hello all, yesterday I had my first studio visit. As a new senior though, of course there was nothing actually in my studio to be visited, besides myself, and a lukewarm cup of coffee. Luckily enough, Ms. Alice Aycock was happy to look at my past work via laptop.

I was very wary at the notion of starting something up from scratch for my senior project, but Ms. Aycock was very helpful indeed in assisting my decision of things to come for me, painting wise. So, a mere preview of what is to come: instead of what I'e been doing lately, which is diptychs of performers, to branch out into not only larger canvas, but into larger scenes, such as, oh, I don't know... WHEN I SAW MUSE AT NASSAU COLISEUM IN OCTOBER??

I'm gonna be frank, its a little ambitious, and she agreed, but also said 'Just take it slow, you don't have to tackle painting an entire stadium of fans right away, you can always do smaller practice ones before the real deal.'

Here are some of my favorite pics I took at that show, for inspiration. More to come, of course.

Don't hate on my lesser-than-general-admission-seats, I felt like I was in a newly discovered dimension the whole time! Also I wouldn't have been able to get these pictures...


Friday, January 21, 2011


Here are some pictures I've taken myself of some of my recent work. They are all from the past 12 months, which may not sound too recent, but its the most focused and cohesive my portfolio has been thus far into my life, so, enjoy :-D

^This^ is the first piece I did for what is turning out to be a long series of music-based diptychs. I put my shoes in there for scale (my feet are quite large, to give you some idea of the massive scale of this piece). I painted it based off of two photos I took during a :::hangs head::: 3OH!3 concert I went to a year or so ago. Guilty pleasure! Alright you GOT me! But it was a pretty awesome show. The opening bands were dressed head to toe in barn animal costumes. Also I got to meet the band, ahem, two dudes and their iPod, after the show.

^These next two^ are of the wonderful band Frightened Rabbit. If you don't know who these guys are yet DO FIND OUT, because your life will be forever improved upon hearing them. They are absolutely incredible, and I've seen them on 4 (four!) separate occasions, in different venues, with old and new band members, electric sets and one acoustic only show. Don't let all the beards and flannel shirts fool you, they are not your everyday vaguely folkish scottish indy band. THESE SCOTS KNOW HOW TO ROCK!!!

^These next two^, not that anyone can tell, are of the band Plants and Animals, who played Webster Hall with Frightened Rabbit this past fall. These paintings hang vertically, over each other, and are about 6' high when together. Can you tell purple is my favorite color?

I'm going to be honest, ^these^ got a little out of hand, color wise. Other than that they are seemingly passable as finished pieces. Also of Frightened Rabbit, although its really more like an "inspired by" piece. Like when a movie is very very loosely based around some kind of real life happenings but they take a lot of liberties with every factor? Like that.

Last but not least, the smaller, singular piece of the singer in The Phantom Band. This band played to a sold out Terminal 5 show with FR the day before Halloween. The best show yet, if I do say so myself, other than the fact that I missed the handing out of tickets for ladies in costume, thought I clearly was, as everyone behind me could see (which was everyone 'cause I was front row center, standing nearly 6' tall, with an extra 6 inches of rabbit ears on, sorry short people!)

Here's a link to a review of that EPIC show, and if you'll notice the 4th thumbnail, the girl in the rabbit mask making the OOOOoooooOOOOOOooo sound is yours truly.

Don't be shy with comments people! I can only improve what I do with constructive criticism, so don't hesitate to dish it out. I can take it. But keep in mind, I too can dish it. Even if you're not an art fan, look up the bands and share your thoughts, everyone has an opinion, share it!

Signing off for now,

Yet another snowy Friday

Good morning everyone! Snow has once again graced us with its slushy presence over all of New York while we slept off that 40oz last night. Today is Friday, and tomorrow morning I will be departing to Atlantic City! To get my gamble on.

I really am just trying on blogging for size, to see if I can indeed write a down to business blog, that hopefully one day people will read, and look forward to. I promise I will do my very best to post often, about interesting and beautiful things and about subjects which ideally people will share my passion for. Because I'm not on social networking sites, I don't have dozens upon dozens of photos online documenting many (any) events. That being said, I have some catching up to do!

Some past events that I shall post in the near future:

-My first gallery show, at Apostle Studios, Greenpoint Brooklyn, Nov. 20th

-Kick Ass MUSE concert in October (SO kick ass that they had a minor blackout)

-Frightened Rabbit Photos from multiple shows. They are amazing.

-My portfolio, which includes works OF Frightened Rabbit. Yes. I like them THAT much.
-Various gallery show reviews and images, with links.

Alrighty then, as soon as I re-learn some html links I will get right on posting these events.
Thanks for stopping by!


Thursday, January 20, 2011

First Blog!

Yes, it's time for a blog. With so many hip social networking sites out there, ruining friendships, relationships and careers, all the while enabling cyber stalkers, not to mention cyber-bullies, there has been no better time for a safe, organized list of thoughts and events, brought to the public google users via I'd like to take a moment to thank you, Had I never taken that media course junior year, I'd have never realized the ease and pleasure of pouring out my brain goo all over my keypad and into your waiting html windows, so, thank you.

This blog will be a chronicling of my so far demanding journey through my senior year at School of Visual Arts. I am a Fine Arts major, and for those of you who aren't, which is most people, that means I have attained my own cubical of a studio with which to fill with whatever it is I choose, all the while working toward OPEN STUDIOS which happens at the end of each term.

I'm working in oil, on canvas, in a fairly large scale, in a theme featuring music and its many performers. Vague? Yes. But hey, thats why I'm still a student right? Right.

As one of twelve first semester seniors this year (out of 80 altogether), my first draft of my artist statement is due in 7 days time. As soon as I crunch this thing out I will be sure to put it up here, and risk embarrassing ridicule and judgement from anonymous viewers. If there will even be any.