Labor Day and Holidays: Prepping for Upcoming Print Shows

Labor Day and Holidays: Prepping for Upcoming Print Shows

I'm thrilled to be participating in several holiday art events this coming winter, and in order to reduce last minute stress, I decided to work on printing and packaging inventory extra early. All Labor Day weekend I was busy fighting the forces of evil in preparation. Between creating new artwork, generating digital prints of past work, and packaging everything up for sale, I'm exhausted but happy with the results. I love having such a large stockpile of art on hand - it makes me feel very prepared! 

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Way Out West: Route 66

Way Out West: Route 66

I just got back from a road trip along Route 66. We drove down the coast from Oakland to L.A. so we could start the route at it's official end point, in Santa Monica. Then we drove Eastward through California and Arizona trying to travel the original route as much as possible, with only minimal side trips for the Cazabon Dinosaurs and the Grand Canyon. 

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Dinosaurus, for All of Us

Dinosaurus, for All of Us

Upon embarking on a recent Route 66 road trip, we made our first detour in order to visit the Cazabon Dinosaurs. This roadside attraction consists of the largest sculpted dinosaurs in existence. The dinosaurs were the pet project of an artist and cafe-owner named Claude Bell (they are also known as Claude Bell's Dinosaurs), though he only completed 1.5 of the massive sculptures before he died. These dinosaurs became all the rage in 1980's film - you may remember them from Pee Wee's Big Adventure, The Wizard, or Paris, Texas. My distant memories of these films are what incited this side trip to begin with. Though their heyday is long past, the Cazabon dinosaurs do not disappoint.

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James Ensor @ The Getty Museum

James Ensor @ The Getty Museum

Last Sunday, during a trip to The J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles, I caught their special exhibit entitled The Scandalous Art of James Ensor. Ensor is known as "the painter of masks" and true to that designation, the exhibition focuses on a time in Ensor's career when he pivoted away from naturalistic painting and toward more creative and disturbing imagery. Ensor's "scandalous" work depicts society imagery - parties, religious processions, theater goers, and art studios - with a disturbing twist; the heads of the figures are replaced with skulls or faces are distorted into melting masks.

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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.

Open Studios Wrap Up

I just wrapped up East Bay Open Studios 2014. The 4 full days over two weekends was exhausting yet again, but overall I thought this year was much more fun than last year. I shared a space with 4 other artists on Telegraph Ave. in Oakland. We had around 200 guests, and we had each other for entertainment. It was truly a great time. Thanks to everyone who stopped by! Here's some of the documentation. You can also see one of my fellow artist's (Nate Boxer) time lapse video of open studios here.

Still life at art show. 

Still life at art show. 

Nate Boxer's fairytale themed dice

Nate Boxer's fairytale themed dice

Me and my early 2014 paintings

Me and my early 2014 paintings

Laurel Cain abstracts

Laurel Cain abstracts

Paul Szymanski's sunset sihouette photography

Paul Szymanski's sunset sihouette photography

Guests at our 5 person open studio in Oakland

Guests at our 5 person open studio in Oakland

Paul & Laurel relaxing before guests started arriving

Paul & Laurel relaxing before guests started arriving

Nate's cards

Nate's cards

More of my paintings

More of my paintings

Laurel Cain' urban lanscape paintings

Laurel Cain' urban lanscape paintings

More of Paul's photos

More of Paul's photos

Emily Van Engel's industrial shadow painting

Emily Van Engel's industrial shadow painting

The gang at our shared open studio, 2014, photo courtesy of Dan Tennery-Spalding.

The gang at our shared open studio, 2014, photo courtesy of Dan Tennery-Spalding.

GIFs from Open Studio Weekend 1

East Bay Open Studios 2014 will also take place Saturday + Sunday, June 14th & 15th. We'll Be Showing @ 3240A Telegraph Avenue Oakland, CA. Doors will be open to the public from 11:00am to 6:00pm each day. Please swing by for art, talk, food, and drink!

Lonesome sign outside the studio @ 3240A Telegraph Avenue Oakland, CA

Lonesome sign outside the studio @ 3240A Telegraph Avenue Oakland, CA

We had 100+ folks come through on the 1st weekend. Not a bad showing.

We had 100+ folks come through on the 1st weekend. Not a bad showing.

Art-baby and Art-dog hanging out on the gallery floor @ Open Studio 2014

Art-baby and Art-dog hanging out on the gallery floor @ Open Studio 2014

New Figurative Paintings

Whew! I finished up a handful of new paintings just in time for my June open studio. The varnish is literally still drying. I'm planning to show 12 new works during the open studio, all made in the first half of 2014.

Each painting in the series is a 24 inch square, 2 inch deep, hardwood panel with canvas stretched over it.

I used a combination of painting and screen printing. It's an elaborate process that roughly involves: sketching, inking, scanning, digitaizing, refining lines in Photoshop and Illustrator, creating screens, painting, printing, and painting and printing again. It's a massive amount of work per image, but with the combination of technical knowledge and free hand painting involved it appeals to both my detail oriented side and the side of me that loves to make a mess. The finished paintings have an ultra-smooth finish with great detail that usually elicits a response along the lines of "how did you do that?"

I've also been using a set of pantone color swatches and matching them back to acrylic colors when deciding on color schemes for the paintings. I'm normally more of a repetition & revision (rep & rev a la Suzan Lori Park) type of girl - deciding on colors as I go along and responding to the colors already on the canvas, so this pre-planned and methodical colorization is new for me. I love it though. Let me know what you think, and don't forget to drop by the open studios! 

Open Studio Time

It's that time of year again . . .

Come see all of my newest paintings at East Bay Open Studios 2014. There will be drinks, snacks, and lots of great art to see. I'm showing with 4 other talented artists this year so there will be something for everyone, so bring your friends!

East Bay Open Studios 2014 will take place Saturday + Sunday, June 7th & 8th and Saturday + Sunday, June 14th & 15th. 

We'll be showing at Nate Boxer + Laurel Cain's lovely studio, located @ 3240A Telegraph Avenue Oakland, CA

Doors will be open to the public from 11:00am to 6:00pm each day. 

Check out some of the work you will see during the open studio by Nate BoxerLaurel CainSummer RomasacoPaul Szymanski, and Emily Van Engel:

A digital print by Paul Szymanski

A digital print by Paul Szymanski

A painting by Laurel Cain

A painting by Laurel Cain

A sample of Nate Boxer's work

A sample of Nate Boxer's work

A painting by Emily Van Engel

A painting by Emily Van Engel

Painting by Summer Romasco

Painting by Summer Romasco