I am obsessed with strata. It started upon viewing my first Andreas Gursky photograph around fifteen years ago. His knack for taking pictures of ordinary environments that become visual geometry spurred my love of natural linearities, geometric composition, and the breakdown of any image into shapes, patterns, lines and forms. For the past decade I have been seeking strata in the world I view daily, mostly attuned to that found within landscapes and panoramas of setting. Compiling and collecting these images and sorting them into categories of color, shape and mood has provided an odd sense of therapy.
Archive for June, 2010
Modern Day Cleopatra
I spend a lot of time in my artwork exploring the myriad archetypes associated with female identity both historically and in the contemporary present. Most women, throughout their lifetimes, try on many different archetypes in their journeys towards self actualization and identity, keeping elements that they find fitting to their personal psyches then further blending them with personal traits and experience, as the persona perpetually evolves from birth to death. I am fascinated by combinations of archetype that become a woman’s persona and how that changes with circumstance, age and self-understanding.
In exploring this work, I have used both painting and photography to express these variations on women. I am the one creating the woman or I am the person observing and capturing the essence. About a year ago, I decided to take myself out from behind the lens and walk into the role of exploring some of my own archetypal influences. I now have a whole new respect for my muses. It’s not easy transforming yourself without inhibition but once you get into the role, it’s equally amazing how far you can go in liberating your own personal freedoms and playing with identity.
My friend Shahram Farshadfar is an amazing painter, photographer and conceptual artist and was the person I decided I would be most comfortable putting on personas in front of. He has graciously allowed me to step into my new medium of performance art to some amazing results seen here.
Jolly Bordello Owner
Wild West Saloon Girl
Victorian Sleeping Beauty
I am fortunate as an artist in that my main muse is also my best friend. Nearly six years of finding inspiration in our collaborations. A good muse doesn’t just inspire, but participates in the creative process. It started with me asking her to dress up for me as different female archetypes. Her past life in New Orleans made her the queen of costumes and props–she came with her own accessories department! I would then take the photos and create paintings from them. The photos in themselves started to become the pieces of art as we began to experiment with elaborate locales and settings. Not only do I love the idea that she becomes so many different women, but I also love that I will photograph her aging process and have a perpetual subject of femininity to document and explore. Every once in a while I will have her sit for me and I will create a painting of her in her natural glory as herself.
Sitting at a stop light in Los Angeles, I was taken by this juxtaposition of site elements that reminded me of the broken American Dream–a breathing entity of the collective consciousness, archetypically connected to the aging starlet, that needs to be revisited, revised, and restored in a proper and more age appropriate setting. It’s getting old: the fading idea of the nuclear family whose car and home is equally wrapped up in the unit’s identity, a unit primed for consumerism and keeping up with the Joneses, a unit that represents a golden nugget of fruition. It may be available but it’s an antiquated tough sell just like the image of the nostalgic, neon dinette sign, hearkening back to a time of apple pie wonder, naive materialistic motivation wrapped in the sexiness of a post-war math and science boom. The soft rosy sunlight of Southern California beach sundowns falling across the no parking sign and the image painted by a forgotten, perfect pitched realist in the colors of the mellow 1970s. It’s time to reconnect with our internal and personal sources of manifest destiny to find definitions for ourselves. There are no more icons to emulate, no commercial advertisements that actually tantalize, no general lifestyles to sell, no mass feel good moment in which to participate. It’s time for the individual to create the portrait of their own dream, to disconnect from the illusive bubble of a collective country whose identity is too tarnished to resurrect the glorified images of its past.