Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Happy Sheep

Oh boy, I’m just getting back from my long morning walk. I wanted to break down in tears as soon as I left my apartment. Though I’m easily affected by this gloomy LA weather, its more than that. I’m feeling discouraged with my art career. 

Immediately I started feeling gratitude for everyone and everything in my life. I’m blessed in every way. How could I possibly be sad? Yet being grateful didn’t alleviate the sadness. I kept walking and thinking about how to get out of this, yet knowing I had to feel it through; I need to cry. I’d wait until I got back home to let the tears flow. They haven’t come yet. 

In the middle of my walk I had a mini epiphany. I had to stop focusing on where I ‘wasn’t’ and start focusing on where I want to go. This is the clue. I’m being pushed to think bigger and outside of myself. The uncertainty feels scary! I’m feeling overwhelmed and curious at the same time. 

This past week, aside from working on painting my apartment (because I need a fresh start), I’ve also worked on my Pink Sheep. There’s something magical about these pink sheep; I feel joy doing them. And though they’re very simple in nature; they’re meaningful. The series is a representation of not following the norm, off not conforming to standards other than your own. The piece here is titled, “Will Work For Sex.” The idea of a sheep working for sex is silliness. How could I possibly feel sadness in seeing this? It cracks me up. 

And as for the rest of the day, I can’t say. But I'd rather be a happy pink sheep than a sad one. 

Be Bold, Be Weird, Be Random, Be AMAZING!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

PINK Sheep

Happy Belated Birthday Mr. John Waters! 2 Days ago, on your actual 67th birthday, I finished reading Role Models, what a great coincidence and an amazing book. I felt like I took a college course, Cult 101. I learned so much about fashion, art, pornography, books, and even religion. The last chapter titled Cult Leader was especially brilliant. It's like you took the words right out of my mouth. “I had little use for dogma that was drilled into my young mind. I mean, “original sin”? The idea that newborn babies come into the world already soiled before they can let out their first cry? “ I've thought the exact same thing. Hogwash! If you’re going to be a cult leader, I want to be a sheep in your herd. Where do I sign up? 

Speaking of sheep, a few weeks ago I started a new series based on pink sheep. There’s so much to explore. I've always felt like an oddball in life and instead of being a black sheep, I’d like to think of myself as the pink sheep. I’m curious to where this newfound inspiration will take me. It’s very different from anything I’ve done before, but there’s something magical in a pink sheep. I can see this being bigger than I'm thinking. 

The piece here is a simple sketch of my Pink Sheep. It’s called Baaahdass. I think Mr. Waters would approve of the simplicity, I hope. I’ve never been one to follow the status quo. He once said, “It wasn't until I started reading and found books they wouldn't let us read in school that I discovered you could be insane and happy and have a good life without being like everybody else.” How is it that God hasn’t brought us together? You've forever changed my life. Baaaaahhhhh! 

Monday, April 15, 2013

FREE Ricky

Sometime this week, possibly tomorrow, I’ll be starting my art campaign titled ‘Free Ricky.” I immediately thought of 80’s song 'Free Nelson Mandela' by Special A.K.A. But, it was more than just a song: it became a slogan against apartheid. 

In no way could I possibly compare this art campaign to Mandela’s Freedom. But in some way it’s still freedom nontheless and in this case it’s also about free art. For however long it takes, I will be tacking on 1,013 signed mini prints onto trees, mostly around my Miracle Mile neighborhood. Because I'm a little odd, I've chosen an odd number. I like 13 and so far 2013 has been a very good year. I like the idea of free art on trees. Shel Silverstein’s The Giving Tree inspires it. Every time I walk by a tree stump, I think of this beloved story and I’m reminded of how much more I can give back. 

I’m curious as to how the project will evolve, if at all. In some way, it's a 'pre' prequel to a bigger art project in mind. I have my work cut out for me, and though it feels a little impossible, it also feels possible. It's with this little grain of possibility that I'll move onward. Nelson Mandela once said, “It always seems impossible until it’s done.” And as much as I'll appreciate the journey of of this bigger project, I'll look forward to looking back once it's done and knowing I believed its possibility. He also said, “There’s no passion to be found in playing small- in settling for a life less than the one you are capable of living.” As I write, these words have brought tears to my eyes because I have played small in many ways and I can’t no longer. I want to play bigger than I can dream for myself. And this to me is freedom. 

The piece featured here is my LITTLE Pop portrait of Nelson Mandela. Thank you Mr. Mandela for being the man that you are, for the inspiring our world. 

Always remember to give back, to give freely. Have a beauty of a beauty of a week.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Troubled Waters

Happy Monday! 

After all these years, I'm finally reading one of John Water's books; it's Role Models. 

And so of course, I started thinking about my troubled teenage years. But looking back they actually weren't so bad. As a ‘goth’ teenager in an all boys private high school, I was the weirdo. If I had known John back then, I think we would have been best friends and I'd now be an old cult legend. A few days after smoking some mysteriously laced marijuana, I asked my parents if I could see a shrink; surprisingly, they said ok. And though I only had two sessions, because I felt it was a bunch of hooey, my shrink did come to say that I needed to stop drinking soda and start drinking water. Otherwise I'd develop diabetes; it was life changing! But now, I wonder if he could have been forecasting something else? 

A year or so later at UC Berkeley, I was introduced to the cult works of John Waters and Divine. At the local theater, I saw my first double feature of Pink Flamingoes and Polyester (in Odorama). Like quitting soda, it was life changing. On screen were the biggest freaks of all. And though I still consider myself an oddball today, at the time after watching those movies, I no longer felt like the freak I thought I was. And about a year later, I was lucky enough to see John Waters give a talk on campus. Like the good student I had always been, I sat up front. Who would have thunk? 

In Role Models, I'm immediately drawn to Mr. Water's storytelling, enjoying each and every odd nuisance. I'm already learning so much about old films I've never scene or even heard about. In leading a class about filmmaking at the Maryland prison, he asks the inmates to do a little improve and to act “the exact opposite of [themselves].” As I read and rode the stationary bicycle at the gym, I wondered about who was ‘my’ complete opposite? The answer revealed itself easily. My complete opposite is an aristocratic straight blonde haired blue-eyed man with an English accent. He’s polished and ignorant to any and every subculture and probably a CEO or even a lawyer. Or maybe even both. I laughed at the thought; I sat up straight with my chin up and I looked around at the measly members working out alongside me. Did they know who 'I think' I was? 

The piece featured here is titled “Waters: Lost Doggie.” I found this old poster on the street as I left the gym. It’s in homage to the infamous scene of Divine eating dog poop. Ah, good times. And since I'm thinking about troubles, Walt Disney once said, “All the adversity I've had in my life, all my troubles and obstacles, have strengthened me... You may not realize it when it happens, but a kick in the teeth may be the best thing in the world for you.” I feel the same way. I wouldn't change anything in my life. And how appropriate this qoute is, especially in just having seen Llyn Foulkes retrospective at The Hammer Museum, whose work spoke up against Disney and corporations. 

Is it possible that with all our troubles, the world itself can be the happiest place on Earth?! I think it can. 

Have a beautiful week. And make sure to drink lots of water. 

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

BULLSHIT In The Art World

Bullshit is defined as ‘Stupid or untrue talk or writing; nonsense.” 

After 2 months, I’ve finally finished reading Sarah Thorton’s Seven Days in the Art World. As a behind the scene into the art world, it was an intriguing read. It’s a must read for any artist thinking about what it must be like. It’s left me seriously thinking about how to take my art to a different level. Because as of right now, it feels like the entire process of receiving recognition is a bunch of bullshit. It seems even more daunting than the entertainment industry. Who do I know and who have I slept? 

Is it even possible? 

In the past couple of weeks, I’ve been debating over a new idea, but it will be costly. Yet I know that money can’t be a determining factor in whether or not to proceed. If I can think it and visualize it, then it needs to be brought to life. And whether anything comes from it, I can see it being interesting doing the work; and most of all, I’m curious. I’m calling this new project “Free Ricky.” Aside from it being a slogan about my own freedom as a human being, it’s also about giving back to the world a little FREE art. I’m in the works of figuring out the details. 

The piece here is a sneak peek of what I’m thinking. It’s a portrait of Muhammad Ali. He once said, “The man who has no imagination, has no wings.” These words reminded me of Mr. Stover, my high school English teacher who once said, “You can’t be bored as long as you have imagination.” Since hearing those words 30 years ago, I’ve never been bored in my life. It’s like he gave me wings to always keep imagining, anywhere, anytime. No bullshit!