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.

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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
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Is The Osteodontokeratic Hammer Built Or Grown? part 1

Developing the ODK Hammer as a structurally strong sculpture while achieving an organic look has been a long process.

Once I had decided to use the various types of Sculpey to create the hammers, I began crafting some small test sculptures to see what techniques would work best to produce a realistic skin surface. The polymer clay I was focused on using, Super Sculpey, already went a long way in achieving a defused, skin-like luminance. However, there was still a great deal of work that could be done to push the medium even further towards appearing like real skin. I was hopeful to have the majority of detail sculpted into the clay to pull off the final look.

The early tests started off as solid pieces of Super Sculpey. I would push in a texture stamp to create realistic looking wrinkles and pores. After baking the clay, I used thinned out acrylic paints to add color variation and heightened surface details such as veins, freckles, and sub-dermal colorization. Since the post baked clay was already hard, painting in such details tended to sit right on the surface, not sink in to preserve and enhance the translucency of the surface layer.

Back to the drawing board.

As I was tackling the colorization issues, I was also brainstorming ideas on how to maintain the sculpted surface details while holding the hammer. An early solution involved a set of three armatures the hammer would rest on while I applied the texture stamping. The points of the armature that were in direct contact with the hammer would also have texture built in to preserve the details. This didn’t work out though. As I sculpted the base form of the hammer, the heat from my hands caused the clay to flex and bow under its own weight. (Remind me to talk about the heat issue again later. There’s a specific season that is ideal for making an ODK Hammer.)

My solution was to create a core form that would be baked without any surface details. Once cooked and cooled, I would then apply the surface texture without the issue of the hammer bowing. After a couple tests, this seemed to be the ideal technique. Yet, I still had the colorization issue to figure out. Then a solution finally dawned on me! I could make the core sculpture more detailed with color regions that simulated the muscle tissue, vein structures and bones. Then the surface texture wouldn’t need as much paint to pull off the full effect of looking alive.

Confident, I went into a mini production of five hammers. I sculpted and baked the five cores, plus the horn/claw portion for each hammer. After these elements cooled down, I sculpted on the skin texture with a greater detail and baked the sculptures a second time. These hammers looked amazing, better than I had expected.

I just realized that out of context, all these references to hammers must read as a rather peculiar blog entry.

With five completed ODK Hammers finished, I went right back into another production of five more.

However, it was now May. The Coachella Valley is home to an obscene number of golf courses and resorts. A large percentage of the population only reside here during the winter months, which for us is “The Season”. The Season ends around mid May, and the Snow Bird Exodus begins. Want to guess as to why? If you remove all the resorts and golf courses, take away the track homes and swimming pools, the Coachella Valley is actually a desert in southern California. May usually sees the onslaught of tipple digit temperatures. Those of us who live here year round can do so only through the prolific assistance of climate control technology; air conditioners! Yet, the AC only creates the “air” of comfort (pun intended), through the actual blowing of cool air. The heat still remains at the core of everything. If the cool blowing air stops, the heat becomes all too apparent.

Sculpey doesn’t work very well in the heat. It becomes too soft and slightly gummy. It’s near impossible to work with Sculpey when the heat kicks in, especially if you’re trying to add texture detail. There is a season for which an ODK Hammer (produced in the Coachella Valley) can be created. It is the winter.

Production was put on hold. It would have to wait until the following October, when the temperatures start to fall.

ODK Hammer Prototypes 02ODK Hammer Prototypes 010042542000000-st-01-super-sculpey

Media Attention!

I have some great news to share!

Last Thursday, September 27th, Janice Kleinschmidt with Palm Springs Life Magazine interviewed me for an article to be featured in this December’s Art + Culture publication! We talked about my artwork and creative process, plus highlighted my experience launching and promoting my In A Place Kickstarter project. The interview even followed me on a photo shoot in downtown Palm Springs where Janice and her photographer, Elena RayAntaratma, were able to observe first hand how I select a scene and set up a shot for In A Place.

I am extremely grateful to Janice and Elena for their enthusiasm for my project. The whole day was a fantastic experience to share with them!