News Archive
Good Bye, Hello

Bye, Stanford studio. You were good to me. 

Hello, Minnesota Street Project Studio. We're going to be tight.

Just want to give a quick update. I’ve said my good byes to grad school and have begun cookin’ a new art life in San Francisco’s Minnesota Street Projects. The studio has always been the heart of my practice which means I’ve been nesting hardcore in my new space. New buildouts, more and more shelving, a hot label maker, LEDs, etc. More to come….

!! SHORT NOTICE !! Opening reception tomorrow, Friday, Aug. 5th at Black Crown Gallery

Please come to the opening reception of a two-person show with myself, Masako Miyazaki, and Tanja Geis at Black Crown Gallery.
The reception will be from 6-9pm in the Chinatown section of Oakland, California.

——> 814 Alice Street, Oakland, California 94607. 

This event is a coalescence of many exciting elements—the inaugural show of a new gallery space in Oakland, my most recent sculptural work, and the work of Tanja Geis who most recently completed her time at the Headlands Center for the Arts. 

The show will be up until September 10th.
Would love to see you there!

Great opening night!

Thank you, everyone for coming out to the opening reception. Attendance was fantastic! My colleagues and I are proud of what we've put together. We've also proved that a "dark show" can still work, meaning, there were some concerns about the appeal of a dimly lit show. The gallery continues to attract a good number of people walking through during open hours. 

The gallery manager has now had to put a rickety "Please do not touch the art" computer printout signage next to my work as it's been enticing people to palm and handle the sculptures. This is a good and bad thing. I feel good in that the sculptures lure the viewer enough that one wants to touch it, yet the handling freaks me out because the pieces are fragile and I don't have molds of them yet. The idea is to edition each "Temple" after the show is down.

For those who have yet to see the show, please come on over. You must experience the "aura."

Thesis show is finally up and open!

Come check out the Stanford MFA Thesis Show, "my only heroes are phenomena"! My art children will be on view until June 12th. They are in good company with the rest of my mates' work. You've got 2.5 weeks to see them. DO NOT MISS
Click on the image above to get directions to the show.

The title of the show comes from a lovely H.P. Lovecraft quote.

"Individuals and their fortunes within natural law move me very little. They are all momentary trifles bound from a common nothingness toward another common nothingness. Only the cosmic framework itself — or such individuals as symbolise principles (or defiances of principles) of the cosmic framework -- can gain a deep grip on my imagination and set it to work creating. In other words, the only “heroes” I can write about are phenomena.”

Letter to E. Hoffman Price, August 15, 1934

Graduation Thesis

There are two parts to completing a thesis at Stanford's MFA Art Practice program. One half is a written thesis and the other is the work. Page number wise it isn't bad at all. I've written longer papers in my first year here but writing about your own work is very difficult.

My first pass at writing the thesis was basically a research paper. I was quoting Marx, Whitehead, Dewey, Benjamin, etc. I packed it with references to other artists and art history. Then, at my first thesis review, I was told that I needed to include more of myself in the writing. In response to this feedback, I proceeded to go through my life's sob story for the next two drafts—not particularly interesting to other people I suspect. Finally, from the fourth draft on I started on the real writing.

Writing about your work requires a certain amount of self-awareness. BUT trying to articulate thoughts while the art is being made is inordinately difficult. How did the thesis work come about? What are its conceptual underpinnings? Is there a logic and if so, what is it?

Such hell, but I came out the other end. Sure enough, I feel much more equipped to talk about my work, especially my most recent work that will be in the thesis show. 

It may sound cheesy but I mindmapped my thesis. I used a small app Delineato Pro for the mapping. It was great to be able to move things around and make new connections. I realized there were contradictions in thought. But because of this finding, I was able to preserve the argument and make a point in addressing it in the thesis.

I had blurb for printing the short book. 
Message to blurb: 1. offer a matte finish option for trade book covers.
2. offer text in colors other than pure black.

Designing the thesis was another rabbit hole I went down. The writing is delirious and I'll probably poke at it for a round 2 after the show goes up. Right now, I'm in full production mode until the 16th.

All for art

Perhaps, if I post about this I will start working out again. Back in August I COMPLETED P90X. Which now I guess is called P90X Classic because there is a P90X3 out. You may have heard about this exercise regimen since it began as infomercials back when people were stuck watching whatever was on TV.

I did not buy this. Technically, my partner at the time bought it and so I will dash images of me watching late-night TV, sitting on an oversized, basement couch, in mid-chip delivery to my mouth.

After 90 days, I felt awesome. I felt great. I made it a point to talk about how my shirts felt tight around my shoulders. My form was good. Tony Horton should've annoyed me but he didn't. I was a champ.

How does this tie into art? 

Well, I was using my studio as my main workout space. Although P90X routines are mostly contained, there are some that require jumping around. My studio was perfect for this. Then, in my second year here at Stanford, I started my thesis work and went into full production mode at the beginning of the year. I bought some bitchin’ saw horses (a certain big box hardware store GROSSLY undercharged me—the art gods were in a generous mood that day) and rearranged my studio setup for heavy duty sculpture work. No more room for exercise. And so, I promptly have stopped working out AND cooking AND laundry is in constant code red AND no social life. Rarely do I know if it’s a weekday or weekend. Only one pair of pants fit me now.

So, I’m blaming it all on art, not potato chips. When I poorly parkour my way up to the stage and snatch that rolled up piece of fancy paper from my department head at graduation, just know that underneath my gown I could be better. #gradlife

Tethered shooting

This is my first time with a tethered shooting setup. I'm photographing some new work for my thesis and it's proven very tricky. The sculptures are all-white plaster casts photographed on a white background. I've adjusted the camera (Canon Mark III) here on all manual settings and I'm working off of a grey card shot at the beginning and end of each piece's photo session.
The hardest part of photographing this kind of work is finding focus. That's why I wanted to try tethered shooting so I could check focus as I was going along. The computer acts as a remote shutter release so my shaky hands didn't come near the camera.

Folks, adjust the camera's view finder to your eye especially when using a borrowed camera! Fiddle with the small knob located next to the view finder window. My film background is paying off. 

I used Adobe's Lightroom as the interface between the camera and the computer. It was pretty straightforward although I'm sure there's a better workflow that I'm unaware of. I still had to bring the image into Photoshop and massage all the white balances so the images were consistent. I think this took the longest time out of the whole process of getting good images of my work. But if it weren't for taking high quality images to begin with, the rest of the process would be all for naught. 

Furniture reconsidered

I've been in this nook in the new art building's library, the Art & Architecture Library. Not is it a library of just art books (and an amazing artist book collection) it has a whole wall full of the most current national and international magazines having to do with art and design. I just WISH I had the time to look at them. Meanwhile, here I am thesis-ing for the past month. I've commandeered this spot from my fellow MFA mate Justin Wood. It was his writing spot until I pushed him out.
Arguably the most comfortable chair to be writing in are these fancy Knoll Womb Chairs designed by Eero Saarinen in 1948. These are the real deal, folks. NOT repros. The ergonomics of this chair with laptop is pretty dope. Obviously, I am procrastinating, admiring these chairs and gazing wistfully out the window. I checked how much the chair is and it is $3988—not a price an artist will ever be able to afford. 
Back to writing....

Selected for a studio space at the Minnesota Street Project

!!! Minnesota Street Project OPENING EVENT tonight (Friday) from 6-10pm at 1275 Minnesota Street, San Francisco !!!

I am absolutely thrilled to announce that I have been selected as one of 35 artists for a subsidized studio space at the Minnesota Street Projects. Located in the Dogpatch section of San Francisco (on Minnesota Street) are a group of buildings renovated to house an 'arts district' including galleries, artist studios and exhibition spaces. The project is a response to SF's colossal rise in rent that is, in effect, pushing out the arts along with many other demographics of the city. 

I attended the VIP (yeeeah) opening event last night at the gallery side of the street. The build out is super fancy and is, I gotta say, filled with exciting buzz. Currently, there are 12 galleries in the building, many of them transplanted from 49 Geary Street in downtown SF due to the unaffordable rent. 

This piece of great news has somewhat quieted the wild panic of where I will land after graduation this coming spring. I cannot emphasize how incredible this opportunity is where I would not otherwise be able to live and work. Living expenses are my next line of tackle but for now, I FINALLY have an anchor where I can begin to build my life on the flipside of school. 

I thank the Rappaports and those that are making this project come to life. 

Dialogues In Art: A public talk at the Anderson Collection

Next to Richard Diebenkorn's Ocean Park #60, 1973

Jennie Waldow, art history PhD grad, to my left. I think I'm talking about how Diebenkorn's canvases grew as large as his arm could reach. The dude was tall.

It was my pleasure to give a talk at Stanford University's Anderson Collection this past Saturday. If you haven't visited the new building housing the Anderson's primo modern and contemporary art collection, you are missing a part of your being. The idea behind this annual public event is to discuss a piece of art currently on display from a studio artist's perspective and an art historian's perspective. This format highlights the differences and similarities in the language we use in talking about art from a "maker" approach and an academics approach.

Jennie Waldow, an art history PhD grad student and I chose to talk about Richard Diebenkorn's Ocean Park #60. This particular painting came to me at an early and critical time in my practice. During my undergrad at RISD, this painting showed me that abstraction came from somewhere—that abstraction is a lyricism of sensorial memories distilled into an arrangement of pictorial/experiential information. Jennie had actually been to the very neighborhood where Diebenkorn's studio was at the time, so she was able to speak of the quality of light and the historical context of this painting's time period.

I also discussed about how important it is to be in the physical presence of a piece of art in respect to seeing the art on a computer screen. I believe in the "aura" folks. 

The best part was the discussion with the audience, the most cunning question coming from a 9 year old girl, "What is the painting's message?" Girl, you are an incisive art critic. Guess, you had to be there for my brilliant answer. It makes the talk all the more worthwhile when someone came up to me after the talk and commented on how differently she experiences the painting as well as her understanding of abstraction. Art lovers unite. 
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