Reflections on quick hit recommendations of note: 1. I recently viewed a great chapter from the four-part PBS series, My Wild Affair, entitled The Rhino Who Joined the Family, documenting a compelling episode in the short (and still-difficult) history of hand-rearing wild rhino. In this case, a chronicle of an orphaned black rhinoceros (Rupert) as a result of the damming of the Zambezi River in (then) Rhodesia. A must-see for anyone working in or supporting the conservation movement! Available via stream and on dvd. 2. One of my fav collaborators/artists, Randy Polumbo, was recently featured in an excellent article by Deborah Copaken writing for Cafe. Randy’s work is infectious, mysterious and fun, and I alway enjoy talking to him about art and life. This read is a candid venture into his family history and amazing creative energy. 3. For decades I’ve enjoyed buying/using art supplies from Daniel Smith via catalog and online. The materials they engineer, re-sell and recommend always seem to be thoughtful and respectful of the creative process and artist’s development of technique. As they are returning to their roots as a manufacturer of pigments and paint, all of the other wonderful items they carry are on (bittersweet) close-out with on-going discounts. Stock up while you can! 4. We’re still [sic] at war and I think Veterans deserve at least a month (or forever) instead of a day. History matters and remember to take care of those who take care of you.
2014 is flyin’ and it’s great to have some new work on display back east. The next painting in the Tornado Series was born in an excellent workshop this summer with abstract painter, Matt Rhoades of Sacramento. Got a solid base on this piece and then worked it up with several layers of acrylic clear coats to add depth in the studio. On display as part of REUNION II – Alumni Invitational at the McDonough Museum of Art from September 13th to November 7th, 2014.
6th Cycle: Storm Front
acrylic on canvas
40” W x 30” H x 1.5” D
From an on-going body of new paintings exploring tornados and themes of organic and entropic (r)evolution. At times the images are illustrative and surreal in creating the narrative, while others attempt to manifest these raw forces at work. – WFW2
I’m honored to be a collaborator on a year-long project with Anné M. Klint (previously of Tracy, now residing in Oakland) exploring the housing collapse in the San Joaquin Valley. Our project, Inhabit Your City – Voices of Tracy, opened on Saturday, June 8th with a premiere screening of Anné’s documentary HOME, and was followed by an Opening Reception for the feature exhibition, Fire Sale (Everything Must Go).
Over 250 patrons were part of the activities Saturday evening, and I offer and sincere “You’re most welcome!” to the dozens of participants and visitors who thanked us for bringing this project to life in Tracy, California.
The media seems to have left the proclaimed aftermath and ongoing effects of the recent and historic economic depression behind, while artists are finding ways to explore impact and forward needed discourse.
Anné has created an empathetic, respectful and direct way to document the real stories of the housing collapse, working with nearly 100 participates. Behind the statistics and market reports are the experiences of families who have redefined the concept of “home” and “the american dream.” This is important work that should seen, heard, shared and discussed in any community that was damaged in the wake of 2008.
Project: Inhabit Your City – Voices of Tracy
Exhibition & Events: Fire Sale & Gallery Talk
This project is made possible in part by a grant from The Creative Work Fund, a program of the Walter and Elise Haas Fund supported by the generous grants from ArtPlace, The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, and The James Irvine Foundation. The Grand Theatre Center for the Arts is the first organization in San Joaquin County to receive this prestigious recognition from The Creative Work Fund/ArtPlace.
Normally I don’t publish formal posts for updates on the internal pages, but a recent request to make the old punk/hardcore Slam Whitman cassette available for download on the Audio page has prompted me to do so. Otherwise it wouldn’t be tagged for other fans to find online and enjoy after all these years. So if you dig 1980’s politcore, grew up in Ohio where this great band is from, or have been trying to find this elusive content, this one’s for you. 😉
Toys are killer eye candy, fun as part of our creative libraries, and make for really great inspiration. Really good books about toys and toys collections are uncommon and collectible themselves. Kirk Hammett’s Too Much Horror Business is a 2012 standout release, but there’s another one you should get immediately!
Brian Heiler (of Plaid Stallions & the Mego Museum) has just released Rack Toys – Cheap, Crazed Playthings. Brian describes it as “a celebration of fun toys that broke super easy and covers such genres as Superheroes, Monsters and Horror, Saturday morning cartoons, generic items and dreaded knock off. If you were a child during the 60s to the 90s, there is something you likely had or wanted within this 8.5″ x 11″, 144 page, full color book.”
Just look at all that plastic quirky goodness! There was an excellent, recent interview Brian did with Collectors Weekly with a preview, and it looks fantastic! Support this unique indy release and order it up here!
Sometimes fun is the only priority. Across the summer I’ve been reviving my beloved childhood Planet of the Apes collection. Without the careful attention of my mother, who not only re-strung my Mego action figures when broken but also saved a good chunk of the great toys from my youth, these awesome apes and filthy humans would have met their fate decades ago.
In addition to fixing up some of these old friends and filling in gaps with variants I never had, I’ve been building some mash-ups and custom figures. Below are a few of those incarnations… I’ll periodically update this post with additional pics from Ape City.
If you too have an affinity for the Superhero, Celebrity, TV & Movie toys that Mego created in the 1970’s & 80’s, be sure to visit the Mego Museum for the coolest archive and toy community around.
UPDATED 07/03/12: Grand Theatre Center for the Arts presents Beauty… it’s not pretty – National Juried Exhibition – A survey of Artists exploring Beauty, in and by unconventional means, in America. June 16 – July 21, 2012
Selection Juror & Awards Judge: Kris Kuksi, Critically Acclaimed International Artist
With Special Guest Artist, Ewelina Koszykowska
30 works by 25 featured Artists from across the nation, in addition to exclusive works by Mr. Kuksi & Ms. Koszykowska.
Thanks to everyone who visited the Gallery on Saturday, June 16th for the Opening Reception. Although I didn’t have a chance to speak with everyone, I’m pretty sure most of the artists (Kim, Jenn, Mark G., TaVee, Patricia, Lisa, Jill, Mark K., Susan, Angela, Bruce, Abhilasha, Adele & Anna) were in attendance; the energy, conversation and catering were all excellent.
Kris offered an intimate and engaging Gallery Talk on Friday, July 13th to full audience in the Energy Gallery. The discussion included his childhood and influences, as well as the secrets of his sculpture construction and shipping tactics. In addition, Kris spoke about the scientific provocations of beauty and took the time to answers questions and sign books.
We were also delighted to host Kevin Champeny (NYC) and his wife Ana. Kevin’s work, What Remains (skull mosaic constructed from 35,000 hand-cast polyurethane flowers!), was the centerpiece of the exhibition and won the Grand Foundation Award. It was also great to finally meet Tamara Staser-Meltzer (SF) who’s collage Lillith hung in the Souza Gallery.
I’ll be putting together an electronic catalog documenting the show in the coming months which will be distributed wide and free. Thanks again to all of the Artists, Collaborators and Patrons that made Beauty… a remarkable exhibition.
Another work completed in the ongoing new body of tornado paintings… on the way to shopping them this fall for exhibition.
Tornado Series (Revenge Series II): Paintings
acrylic on canvas, 8″ x 24″, 2012 – $1,500
Master Artist Stephen Gyermek gifted us with a remarkable portrait of IF. This work marks a new style/exploration in Stephen’s portrait paintings. He gave Ilena his customary fleshly treatment in oils, but chose a bold shape and placed her on a stark white background. He captured her big soft striking eyes and rendered her hair as a sharp sculptural form.
It’s always a fun, yet strange, experience to view an artist’s representation of yourself or someone close to you. Composition, color choices and the artist’s ability to look inside and throughout his/her subject often result in something familiar but peculiar. This work was no exception. Initially the stark nature Stephen chose depict her was unsettling in some way. We spent a few weeks with the painting, periodically viewing it and discussing its presence. It’s now framed and has been placed carefully on display among our collection. We’re most gracious to be able to enjoy it; thank you Stephen!
Stephen Gyermek – Portrait of Ilena – oils on board – 2012
UPDATED: On display at the Oakwilde Ranch & Sculpture Park Spring Exhibition, March 31st – May 11th, 2012, near Valley Springs, CA.
Special thanks to Pat Sanchez for finding me a great serpentine gourd to work with and to IF for hardware critique/metals intel. Cleaned, sanded, polished, dyed, waxed, cut apart and articulated the lil’ beast with handmade aluminum brackets.
A mixed-media assemblage, with a narrative exploring the Scientific specimen as cyborg/cyberpunk obscura. This is a theme I’ve been riffing on for several years… the alchemy of the New World Order: part toy – part tool – part relic. All the rage with the antique chic oddities cult.
Specimen #912.78 – 2012
mixed-media assemblage: gourd, wood, dye, graphite, wax, steel, aluminum, found objects
31”H x 18”W x 14”D – 6 lbs.