Feeling Exposed.

There’s a small window of time each month when the gazes of Sol and Luna are at rest, allowing me to become particularly mischievous.

Cover image for coachellamagazine.com interview. Photography by Jorge Perezchica

Cover image for coachellamagazine.com interview. Photography by Jorge Perezchica

This season’s solo exhibit has provided me with a strong dose of exposure, both outward and inward.

Outwardly, I’ve connected with a great many like minded and creative people. So refreshing, so illuminating. Four articles came out discussing my work, amplifying my voice to be heard within my community. In the month running up to the opening of the exhibit, Linda Stoddard graciously wrote an article for our local newspaper, The Desert Sun, allowing me a chance to entice people to come see the work of a local artist they had likely never heard of before. Shortly afterward, Christine Lang volunteered a similar article for The La Quinta Arts Foundation to help broaden awareness of my work and the exhibit.

Imagine my excitement when another very talented local artist, Luna Fora, filmed, edited and featured a video interview of me and The Suboken Project on coachellamagazine.com (somewhat surreal to watch myself in that format). One of the most satisfying experiences this opportunity gave me was participating in an interview with Kate Buckley for her blog on palmsprings.com. Kate really dug in to uncover the philosophy and inspirations that fuel my creativity.

And the exhibit isn’t even over yet! My heartfelt gratitude to Deborah for your enthusiasm and championing of my artwork.

Looking inward, the exhibit afforded me a chance to explore how The Suboken Project has influenced my creativity and productivity, and what it might offer me moving forward. For the first time, I sought out curious and enthusiastic individuals to participate in creating art. To Calista, Micheal, Brenda, Chris and Kannon, working along side you, I was able to explore my process, and explore the dilemma of authorial intent from a more objective perspective. I can only hope that the experience enriched your lives as well. Thank you for jumping into the chaos. You are welcome to come art with me anytime.

To the universe I say, there is much more to come. I hope you’ll join me.

Hello 2014, can you come out and play today?

Discovering a Visual Shorthand: The Making of The Cartographer’s Dilemma

continued from part 1

A Series Of Dilemmas

“Cartographers use an illustrative short-hand to describe geographical features of the real world. This short-hand form of communication is designed to allow the viewer to have an easy baring on the contours and layout of the area depicted on the cartographer’s map. Exaggerated color palettes, lines of various weight and solid fields of color all act as simplified yet concise forms of communication informing the map viewer of the geography depicted. Instead of focusing on the actual details of the full terrain, the user of the map can rely solely on the map to find her way around the area.
“Spoken and written language serves as a way to describe the real world as well. Words are used as a concise method to describe all the vast facets and features of the world and the ways in which we interact with and within it.
“However, are words also just another form of short-hand, simplifying or exaggerating how we see the real word? A culture’s vocabulary has such a huge impact on how it’s members regard the world in which they live. Could it be that the more complex and sophisticated our lexicon becomes, the more removed we are from simply seeing the real world?”

– as described on suboken.com

The ideas and dilemmas philosophy introduced me to were the perfect concepts for me to explore through my art. Creating art wasn’t about making a thing, it was about exploring an idea. Visual art in particular become a new voice through which I could explore the world. During the process of building The Cartographer’s Dilemma (TCD), the individual elements became metaphors of the different aspects of the theme I was tackling. With regard to the completed piece, the more refined the artwork was aesthetically, the clearer the question posed by the artwork’s concept became.

Continue reading

Discovering a Visual Shorthand: The Making of The Cartographer’s Dilemma

The Cartographer's Dilemma

The Cartograper’s Dilemma

I’ve written how hesitant I am to explain the art pieces I create. However, this past year I have become more comfortable participating in conversations about my work.

While being on-hand during the hanging of the current show, I enjoyed a spontaneous conversation with Abel Floris, owner of Desert Signs and Graphics, and the artist responsible for creating the vinyl lettering for the exhibition. He was curious about my process; in particular how I came to create The Cartographer’s Dilemma (TCD). I summed up the amount of work that goes into each TCD sculpture into a few sentences. I wasn’t trying to be deliberately coy, I was simply eager to hear more of his thoughts on the pieces currently hanging in the show.

After my brief answer, however, Abel replied with a comment that arrested me with enthusiasm. I can’t recall his exact words, but the gist of his comment went something like, “…and just like that, you came up with the idea for the piece.” It wasn’t just the explanation on the concept behind the artwork that he was looking for, but the journey behind reaching the final presentation!
Continue reading

Hanging The Exhibit

Today was the second day hanging the show. I knew I had dropped off a good number of art pieces for the exhibit, forty-two pieces to be exact. (I’ll steal a smile with Douglas fans, and don’t forget to bring a towel.) But walking into the space this afternoon with almost everything now hung on the walls made this whole adventure all the more real.

The moment that shifted my perspective was when these letters were revealed on the wall.

ImageThe show opens tomorrow, but here’s a sneak peek at some of the work featured in the exhibit.

Image

Image

Image

If you noticed that The Cartographer’s Dilemma is mysteriously absent from this post, there’s a reason. It’s in the show, but there’s something additional involved in its presentation. I’ll leave you with a coy hint, an update is long over due for The Cartographer’s Dilemma page on the website.

Speaking of web updates, our local newspaper wrote up an article on yours truly. You can give it a read online at: http://www.mydesert.com/article/20131114/LIFESTYLES0104/311140006/

Letting Go.

For the past month, I’ve been hoping I wouldn’t find myself writing this post. However, after four weeks of technical consultation, today I received a text message that made my heart sink.

All of my digital media has been lost.

A major component to my digital studio is my external storage device. I use a product called Drobo.

Drobo
Continue reading

The LEGO Infiltration.

Since April, production on new artwork, music and writing has been locked in overdrive. So much so that about two weeks ago I finally hit a creativity levee. Calista and I had so many things on our plates that, for my part, something had to give.

However, the factors that have been pulling my attention in different directions are 100% positive.

Factor One: An Old Friend Returns.

A great friend of mine, Tyler Maxey, landed back in town for a brief time. He and I were philosophy students at the same college, and it was great to have him hang out with Calista and I, waxing philosophic about life, health, the universe, careers and entertainment. The three of us went on many hiking adventures before the summer heat finally baked us into staying indoors. A highlight of our adventures was spending one Saturday morning bombarding our senses with sonic frequencies.

Painted Canyons Painted CanyonsPalm Desert: 6:25am 97°
Dome
I’m not much of a new-age soul, but the experience was well worth the drive to Landers, CA.

Continue reading

A Suboken Project Special Report

We hope you can join us on November 25th, 2013, at the Palm Desert Community Gallery for the opening reception of a two month solo exhibit featuring The Suboken Project’s: The Cartographer’s Dilemma and In A Place: Coachella Valley.

The exhibition runs from November 25th through January 21st. Gallery hours will be from 8:00am until 5:00pm Monday through Friday. Calista and I are hoping to organize a couple of artist talks during the show’s run for anyone interested in touring the exhibit with Suboken (that would be me), and share in a conversation about the process and themes featured in both projects.
Continue reading

There’s A Man Down, In A Place!

 

This past weekend, Calista and I went out to capture a few new images for In A Place. Little did we know just what sort of experience the weekend had in store for us.

Over the past two months, I’ve been testing the new camera, taking updated and new In A Place photos. Part of this process was about comparing some of my older lenses and lens attachments with the new camera. My excitement was centered on the large increase in megapixels the model has compared to my older camera. Outside my never ending curiosity in exploring the IAP concept, there’s a new development for the project that calls for new images, a development that will be detailed in a future post.

In_A_PlaceThe first location we visited was Big Bear, California. The days were sunny and the snow was clean. I had shot in the snow a couple times before, Mammoth Lakes and Mt. San Jacinto, but wasn’t very excited with how the images turned out. I think only one of those images ended up in the art book. With the new camera, I was determined to land some better shots.

In_A_PlaceDuring this shoot, I noticed a change in how I was addressing the picnic table scenes. I tried to focus on taking images right at the miniature level. As proud as I am on how the older collection of IAP images have turned out, quite a few photos look like aerial photography. This time around, I was eager to get right down on the ground (in this case, the snow) and create/capture the illusion of a full scale picnic table.

Once we arrived back home, I didn’t hesitate to transfer the images to the computer. I was extremely pleased with the results, not to mention relieved with the quality of the higher resolution.

In_A_PlaceNext stop on my list, San Francisco. Calista and I spent a week in the city, visiting many of the original locations of IAP as well as discovering a couple new scenes. This trip also allowed Calista and I to tour some print houses and get a better handle on how to print and display a select group of IAP images for gallery and home spaces.

In_A_PlaceAs usual, the San Francisco trip was a huge success in capturing some great IAP images. We have tentative plans to return to the city in September to take more pictures.

Back in the desert, I started seeking out specific places that I wanted to return to, re-shoot some older shots with the new camera. As it has been during the entire project, some of those locations no longer exist. These situations remind me to pay attention and appreciate the little everyday moments, for “the now” may be ephemeral. So soak up as much of it as you can.

In_A_PlaceIAP locations that are the most susceptible to severe change are places where the images relied heavily on blooming plant life. As mentioned in earlier posts, we live in a resort centric community and landscaping is an ever changing aesthetic. When new plants and flowers are planted along the streets and sidewalks, it is best to take advantage of those scenes for IAP as quickly as possible.

This past weekend, some strikingly vibrant flowers were on display along a stretch of Highway 111 in Indian Wells. This length of the highway cuts between two large resorts, and there are no commercial buildings in the area. The highway is also flanked on both sides by long winding sidewalks and lots of trees. In regards to the IAP color palette, natural blues and purples are rare to come across in settings fit for miniature picnic tables. These flowers along the highway were the perfect answer to fill in the lack of those two colors.

So, Sunday morning, Calista and I set out to get some shots of those flowers, turn them into official IAP scenes.

After surveying several flower beds, I found the perfect location for the shoot. Calista and I compared several tables to decide which would fit in best with the landscape. After selecting the old weathered red and white table, I cleared the spot of debris, placed the table, laid down and started snapping shots.

Calista stood nearby, looking for alternative IAP locations. The sun was warm. The traffic on the highway was steady but not heavy. And, after about five minutes, a car pulled up and parked next to us. Keep in mind that there are no designated places to park along this section of the highway, although there is a bike lane. We had to park down the street in the city hall parking lot. I didn’t feel like I was on display, but it was odd that the car chose to park right next to us. The only concern that I had in that moment was whether or not the car would be in the shot I was taking.

The car then pulled away, but was almost instantly replaced with a new car parking next to us. Realizing how unusual this situation was becoming, Calista walked closer to where I was. The passenger rolled down her window and held out two bottles of water. She was concerned that I had passed out on the ground! She asked if I was okay, and offered to call for help.

I quickly explained that I was simply taking pictures of the flowers, and Calista thanked them for stopping to see if we were in trouble. With a smile of relief, the passenger said goodbye, and the car pulled away.

Calista and I realized that the first car was probably equally concerned, and chances were that many of the cars driving by might also assume that I was in need of medical assistance, laying there on the ground.

I laid back down to try and quickly land the shot, but it was already too late. Just as I adjusted the focus on my camera, Calista let out an “Uh oh. Here comes a cop car.”

The officer pulled up and got out of his car. A friendly yet concerned Officer Colsari of the Indian Wells Police Department walked over to check on us to see what the situation was. I stood up, dusted off my shorts and Calista and I explained what we were working on. Officer Colsari informed us that someone had called in and reported that a man was on the ground and that someone was giving him CPR! He added that the paramedics were already in route. No sooner had he said it, a fire engine and ambulance drove up on the other side of the street. Officer Colsari waved them on, and Calista and I apologized for all the confusion. I formally introduced myself and shared some of the details of the IAP project. Calista even handed him a business card and invited him to check out suboken.com.

Satisfied that all was well, Officer Colsari drove off. I returned to getting the picture, although my diligence in quickly getting the shot was certainly heightened.

Our faith in humanity restored, confident that I had taken some great images for IAP, we wrapped up the photo shoot and walked back to the car. Of course, as we approached the car, I had my traditional IAP face palm moment. I should have asked Officer Colsari to pose with me for a blog picture!

IMG_1943s IMG_1945s In_A_Place

Is The Osteodontokeratic Hammer Built Or Grown? part 3

One day I was sitting in the Palm Springs Art Museum, waiting for Calista who was attending a Leadership Coachella Valley meeting. I had some lined note paper, a mechanical pencil, a healthy dose of boredom and an eagerness to push the design of the ODK Hammer into something more exciting than it currently was.

Up to this point, the differences between each hammers’ shape was pretty extreme. I wanted to create an internal system or structure that they could all share. I imagined what the skeletal system of an organically grown Osteodontokeratic Hammer could look like. How would the bones fit together? How many bones would the hammer even need? Would there be areas or spaces for internal organs? Most importantly, how would the entire osteo-donto-keratic concept be distributed throughout the tool.

IMG_0726

It’s uncanny how the very first sketch of a concept often ends up being the final design, even after hundreds of sketches have exhausted an artist’s exploration of the subject. So it was that the first sketch of the skeleton of the ODK Hammer became the structural system I would base the core shape of every subsequent hammer sculpture.

Mostly comprised of bones, the sketch included the antler-claw, a ribcage section, a small spinal column as well cartilage and ball socket joints to help absorb shock impacts. What was missing was a system that would suffer the blunt trauma in the use of the hammer’s head.

IMG_0760

The business end of the hammer needed something special to express the purpose of the tool. I imagined that a great deal of scar tissue would accumulate in and around the impact area of the head. What the hammer needed was a substance that could be strong enough to withstand hard impacts. I’m not sure why the answer took so long for me to discover, but after mulling over my copy of Grey’s Anatomy for a day or two, the answer became clear. Teeth are the hardest elements of our skeletal system. Of course the hammer head would be reinforced by teeth, molars to be more specific.

In the time between discovering the fractures in the second set of hammers and Jonathan’s suggested solution, I decided to turn the sketches of the hammer skeleton into an actual sculpture (I guess I just needed to make things harder for myself). The challenge of pulling off the skeleton sculpture did help reignite my excitement for the whole project.

IMG_0766Each skeletal element is sculpted individually and assembled after the baking and painting process. Similar to the fully realized ODK Hammer, there are medium gauge wire frames to which each bone is sculpted over to give the pieces extra reinforcement.

The only thing missing from these versions of the ODK Hammer is a sturdy yet unobtrusive display stand. I’ve designed several different structures, but non of them really show off the sculptures in a flattering way. There’s always work to be done.

That pretty much brings us up to date with the whole project.

IMG_0875Ten full ODK Hammer sculptures will kick off the official production of the project. Five wall mounted fossil art pieces will follow next. Depending on the response from these pieces, five to ten full skeleton hammers will be created along with another five wall mounted fossil sculptures. Then, to wrap up the entire project, a final set of ten full ODK Hammers will complete the project.

If successful, I may eventually revisit the Osteodontokeratic project. I have a stack of sketches where I’ve applied the ODK concept to a large inventory of common tools, screw drivers, saws, wrenchIMG_0067es, pliers, files, e.t.c. However, as with In A Place, I need to make room in my schedule for new projects. Currently, I have a strong interest in further exploring The Cartographer’s Dilemma as well as an all new conceptual project involving the creation of a brand new species of life. Not to mention the continued production on my next two albums.

IMG_0856

After sharing in this journey, reading how this conceptual art project evolved, I post the question to you. Is the Osteodontokeratic Hammer built, or is it grown?

ODK_Skeleton_02ODK_Skeleton_01IMGP0773aP1030826

www.suboken.com/Osteodontokeratic_Hammer.html