Ceramics, Intaglio prints, wood, wire, denim, cotton t-shirts, wheat paste, natural pigments, oil, acrylic, 108" x 47" x 32"
Fallen begins with research through a visual dissection of a personal observation, and exploration of intimate details of the object of my study: the fallen tree. What about this that draws my interests? There is a majestic history that narrates a past told by my vivid imagination while reading the remains of redwood trunks along a random path one day. Perhaps it is the imprint of organic textures left by the once living cells that created this structure. How does it compare to other existing forms that age with cracks, breaks, and rotting hollow holes as it lies in its own debris of dislodged particles. How am I this tree? I collect material and make pigments from the tree, dirt and surroundings from the site to be used within my work, and revisit the site often, establishing a relationship with the fallen trees and the space which for me now becomes a nostalgic setting. I become obsessed with fallen objects that I come across and ponder the liminal act of falling. By inducing a sense of falling through meditation, I replay a feeling of vertigo until my body tingles with a sensation of falling but by instinct I catch myself, grabbing a grounded object for balance. To better understand what it is like to be the fallen, I lie on the ground as still and stiff as the lifeless tree without movement. Later I appreciate the right to move free and not to be contained by motionless.
In the end, this project is more than just about the fallen tree. It perhaps speaks in relation of what it means to fall, much of the time by the hand of another, and left to be abandoned, or parted for some other type of distribution. A tree that once stood tall in the forest falls, and the people wander if it made a sound. I ask the people, if you fell, what sound would you make? There are many who have fallen no different than this tree, yet many have been disregarded as this one has been.
Withered Rose, 2017
Natural pigments, ink, paper, cotton t-shirts, wood
40" x 36"
Detail of Withered Rose
Withered Rose, was created in part as an experiment and study of the selected tree that I used for my representation of Fallen. Pigments were taken from the tree bark and dirt of the site, and used with other natural materials to create the colors that were applied to a recycled wood panel, in which a custom frame was built to support the wheat-pasted strands of torn t-shirts, including them within the composition. It is part of my continuing research of natural pigments and traditional application methods, yet with a contemporary hand.
Dirty Little Secrets, 2017
ceramic 10" x 6" x 5"
(20 pieces at average of 1.5" x 1.5" x 1" each)
There is great value in secrets and to trust another with them leaves the chance that they may still become exposed. How does one share their most personal information with others without the risk of being shamed? This project is formulated by twenty ceramic keepers of my dirtiest secrets written on paper and embedded into the clay before firing. The evidence is burned in the kiln, leaving the essence of the forever disclosed secret within the rock-like vessel, the keeper. I have placed my keepers in various locations on campus at the University of California, Berkeley, where they will remain to exist within the surroundings of the public. Their locations are significant to my time spent at Berkeley; the paths that I have walked, places where I have studied, and spaces where I have created art. I invite the viewer to get nosey, if they are so intrigued, and seek out my hidden treasures.
The Process of the Keeper:
Material came from the deepest areas of sink traps within the clay and glaze areas of the UCB ceramic lab and mixed with recycled porcelain and dried underglaze in order to form the secret keepers. Secrets were then written on paper and embedded into the clay vessel where they burned away during the firing process, leaving only their charred imprint of their existence.
denim, towel, cotton fabric, wire, cardboard, paper, orange peel, candles, bra, synthetic wig, dollar bill, tempura, acrylic, ink, wheat paste.
My final work this semester was inspired by my Not Me Artist, Joby Downs, and his creation of Sappy Sophie. While portraying my character of the Not Me Artist, an alter ego of his developed. His background story of being abandoned, sold to a circus as a sideshow act, as also the life of prostitution set the scene for another identity to arise in order to cope and survive the harsh judgements cast by crowds for their amusements. Sophie was born to mask and protect the sanity of his identity. No one would know exactly how to feel towards her (or him), though it would not matter as Sophie would not care. This androgynous character's purpose was to amaze and entertain each ones own imagination and test erotic limits. She was created to push buttons and question the individual's sense of self shame and acceptance.
When creating this work material was taken form this character in both physical and spiritual ways. Most of the elements came from my performance of Joby Downs Does Sappy Sophie , such as the denim, cotton fabric, bra, wig, and tempura paint, but also the identity of Sophie was appropriated while constructing this work. Her sass is present in her nonchalant exposed posture, as she waits for the viewer to finish their gaze upon her. A sense of closure to my Not Me Artist's character of Sappy Sophie. Though question remains, what happen to Joby Downs?
In my future projects I may consider revisiting this scenario to entertain a continuation to this particular story for a full circle completion. Research aspects of these last few projects have imploded focus on my own relations and interpretations of masks and alter ego identities I may or may not of created, but somehow aware of them, as they are mere characters who live in my imagination and would only be seen through the acts of me. This drama and emotion is converted into art for the appreciation of approval and disapproval of the viewers. I aim to please, but know I will not please all. I take satisfaction as I got them to look at it, and even more if I got them to think about it, and the most if they remember it. This being said I will take further risks in exposing my subjects and creations of characters in my future projects. I feel there is a sense of life that is brought to the art which is related to the viewer, and can be used to send important messages I may have to offer.
A note to my professor:)
Thank You, this Junior Seminar has been an important aspect in my art making, and I will keep close what I have learned and hold the value of research as I continue in my art practice. See you again soon!
Stop to Smell the Cherry Roses
by Caztopher Johansinner
Art Critiques of America, November 2015
Hello Art Fans! This month's featured review comes from Berkeley, CA. While I was traveling through the bay area I stumbled upon a show held at the university. I was surprised to see such global headliners of artists together in a group show, and wondered why I did not receive a press release about this! The crowds were thick as everyone gathered around each work, listening to the artists (those who were able to be there) talk about their featured worked. Those who were not able to attend sent representatives to speak on their behalf. As I dined on the glamorous buffet of appetizers, fine wine, and expensive brews, I found myself intrigued by the arrangement of artists from minimalists to those of the exotic eccentric. This show had everything the eye wanted to see. There were performances pieces, interactive works, video interviews, functional art, installations, sculptures, as well as the arrangement of two dimensional art displaying beautifully blended colors and textures. Among these master works there I was specifically drawn to the crafty creations of Roxie Lane. I could not tell you why, but perhaps it was her fine craftsmanship of her work , or it was the arousing thought of cherry scented flowers. Lane's work seemed to be the hot topic item of this years fashion, pantie purses. What a concept! A sure win in all the fashion boutiques and I would not be surprised to see it appear in the runway shows this coming spring. Her choice of detail and fine seamstress skills make this work a winner! Unfortunately I did not get a chance to speak with Miss Lane, but her representative gave us the insight of her work, and it is easily available online at Etsy! It seems she is doing very well with these and there are new lines in the works. I see the craze of pantie purses taking over the country, overflowing to the European fashion markets. I am excited for the new line in progress and will keep my readers posted when they are available. Way to go Roxie, a sheer success!
Pantie Purses , 2015
panties, acrylic, thread, fabric
My Ideal studio would be a live work space, so I can wake up with my morning coffee and pick up where I left off the night before. I had a studio like this before and miss it tremendously. It was around 900 square feet on a ground level in the heart of midtown Sacramento. It had a kitchen and a bathroom (nothing special - just the amenities), but a lot of work space. It was drafty during the winter and hot during the summer (maybe I don't miss it so much - but I do). It had a roll up door which made it easier to get projects out the door that wouldn't fit through a regular door. It was my ideal studio. I have also had apartments which I would sacrifice my living space and kitchen to turn it into my studio space. Studios come and go along this path of being an artist. Sometimes you just can't pay the rent anymore and have to let it go. Linda Geary's studio was awesome, to have a work space and a show space, would be ideal. Ideally any space right now would be ideal. But Ideally my Ideal studio space would have about 1000 sq feet of work space minimum, and have my own kiln for ceramics. Have a roll up door because that is just an awesome thing to have. Lots of windows for the natural light. And if we want to get dreamy about it the roof would be able to open (like a convertible) for natural light and outdoor air. And to let fumes out easier. Wall space galore for all my works I create on the wall. It would also have a yard space so I can have a place for my animals as well as working outside. Location wise it would be best maybe for exposure to the public if I was in a midtown location, though thinking about my needs of outdoor space, maybe the country would be better. If we're dreaming here then I would have adequate transportation for my works to go to show. If we're really dreaming then I would be successful enough that I wouldn't need to transport my works, someone will come pick them up. Then if I'm that successful then I wouldn't need to make work to sell because I would have enough supporters who believed in what I did to fund me completely. So nice to dream. But really ideally any space right now would do. I miss my studio.
There was many insightful points Michelle brought to here lecture. Three that interested me about her and her works, were decolonization, rhetoric, and voice. I respected the way she used her own heritage to create a voice for other people, similar to where her family originated. There are many worldly concerns that are left unaddressed, especially from one scene of invasion to the other. How do they relate, there should have been no cause for this type violence. The giving up of heritage identity to assume the role of a new identity. How much is lost? Will it return? Will we forget? Memories were an important topic of her lecture. How these memories would reflect what is forgotten when assuming a new identity. How we are tied to memories through our family and the generations that proceed. Remembering is important, as this is part of a point I attempt to make when making statements in my work about Remembering Can Prevent. Work I am more excited about creating after Michelle Dizon's lecture last night. If we remember all the bad and horrible actions and reactions we have made as a species, all the wars, cruel beatings, the unjustified killings, the destruction, the conquering, the segregation, all that are part of all of our history, then we can commit to preventing it to repeat itself. Which the sad truth is that we are still struggling with these problems today. There also needs to be acceptance for agreement and respectable disagreement as we will not always agree, and such is why have experienced these issues, because we can be too strong headed in our ideas and beliefs that we feel the need to push them on everyone else until they accept them or be outcasted, possibly destroyed. I can easily continue to rant, though how much will it be effective. Society can easily turn their heads away from the rants of better ways that one can hear being preached on a city corner daily. How do we make our points civilly acceptable and accessible for all of the public. How do we broadcast these sensitive issues that will be appealing enough for the those who wish not to bother with the issues at all? Research, visual truth and being rhetorical in our art making - as shocking as it may take to make the voice that everyone will respond to. It is an ongoing project that may take lifetimes to complete as it has already taken many to cause the destruction that we are now to fix.
Joby Downs is an up and rising performance artist from Hollywood, California who was discovered this last year after his airtime on America's Got Talent. Since then he has been invited to show at a variety of venues in New York, Las Vegas, San Francisco and Los Angeles. His work focuses on psychotic phenomena and left the critics in New York claiming him to be an untamed, raw, exhilarating mix of naked talent.
The original identity and origin of Downs is not disclosed. There are vague details of his history given as he fears that it could jeopardize his safety, He was abandoned as an infant and left to be raised by vagabonds who later sold him to a circus as a sideshow act in his early adolescence. He found his escape in the early 1990's while in Los Angeles as part of a world tour. He has since made his survival in Hollywood by way of street performance and prostitution, and just recently this year as an artist.
His current works reflect the memories he wishes he could repress, but feels he must bring awareness to the public in hope to save the next child from the vicious cycles of circus slavery. He looks to his art as a cleansing process and hopes to wash away all the "yuck" in the world. There is much thought and preparation given in the set up and choreography, although in order to keep its originality it is only performed once. Downs specifically does not rehearse his performances and his videos are done in one single shot without editing. His work created from his performances are available for sale through auction, as well as limited copies of the videos in which he restricts from the internet. Proceeds of sales go to the P.S.Y.C.K.O.T.I.C.C. Fund (Please Save Your Children Kept Oppressed Through Indecent Circus Clowns Fund), founded by Downs in 2014.
His influences include Andy Warhol, Jackson Pollock, MTV, and Dan Dunn.
Big Fan here! You will see him in my artists section soon. I enjoyed his lecture, and mostly the circle chat outside the lecture after. I was familiar with his work earlier and was excited to be reintroduced, as it has been more inspiring the second time as I begin seeing the influence in my own work. Influences I found inspiring were the "Almost" process and creating the anxiety of viewer anticipating something to happen. Also the construction and deconstruction and then recreating it but different. Mostly there is art in the performance of the progress as well as the result.