City of Industry | Art of Industry

A friend of a friend, who works as an editor for various academic publishing houses, swung by open studios last month. I was sharing a studio space with 4 other artists, and she offhandedly mentioned how all of our work had a common thread. This was news to me, so I pressed her on it. She thought for a moment and quickly articulated we were all concerned with industry. 

I haven't considered the industrial as a significant part of my work for years, but it occurs to me now that I've simply been addressing it indirectly through elements like color and processes like screen printing. I’m going to have to invite an editor to my studio once in a while, just to help me understand the obvious.

Take this somewhat obvious revelation in stride, I’ve decided to work on a series that depicts the awe-inspiring if decrepit structures of industry as the background patterns for my figures. 2 years ago I moved to a very industrial area of Oakland; it's full of warehouses, run-down railroad tracks, and cranes. My studio itself is in a converted packaging factory with views of the highway and the Oakland port. Truly, my environment could not be any more industrial. So, I've been working on finding and photographing these industrial objects so that I can turn them into motifs and signifiers in my upcoming work. Here’s a sneak peak of my collection to date.

My First Roll of Canvas

I haven't stretched my own canvases for years. This was a NYC-based decision. My rooms and apartments in Brooklyn  and Queens were always too small to store the necessary supplies like wood boards, roll canvas, and a chop saw. It was more easier and more practical to order pre-stretched canvases.

Now, however, I live in a great loft in Oakland with plenty of room, and I'm developing quite a nice tool collection. So, once again I can make custom canvases. I just bought my first roll of canvas from India. After much research I decided on a 60 inch wide, 90 yard long roll of army duck. Army duck is a 100% cotton canvas - it's way cheaper than linen. Army duck is a double-fill, which means 2 threads are twisted together for a much tighter weave than standard cotton duck, so it's smoother, stronger, and more durable. Because of the tight weave it's good for portrait painting and silk screening both of which I do a lot.  90 yards means a lot of painting, and the potential for large canvases. I'm totally excited!

Unpacking my new canvas.