Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Inspiring Stamps

As I look back at 2012 I see that the 2011 Project continues to play itself out as a sketchbook for future work.  The stamp thing all started with this little piece back in January 2011 (shown above).  Now I’ve added a number of new and larger stamp pieces with certainly more to come in 2013.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Día de los Muertos

One of my favorite holidays and one of my favorite pieces from the 2011 Project.  I think I got a little carried away this year.  My entire apartment smells like marigolds.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Pink Week

Pink is admittedly not the most common color in my palette.  But with 365 pieces for the 2011 Project, there were inevitably going to be a few pink pieces.  This one titled Keep This Coupon is going up to Sacramento for Pink Week.   

This year’s Pink Week show will be at Bows & Arrows at 1815 19th Street in Sacramento.  The show opens November 2 with an opening reception from 6-9 p.m. and runs through December 5th, 2012.

Keep This Coupon, 4"x4", mixed media on canvas

Monday, September 10, 2012

Travel-Themed 2011 Project Pieces

Travel was a theme that came up in many pieces for the 2011 Project.  And many of the mixed media pieces used travel-themed ephemera like maps, postcards and ticket stubs.  This Sunday, on September 16th, my new installation Imagining Val Travel opens and it will include some of the travel themed pieces from the 2011 Project.  

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Featuring Magazine

Issue 2 of Featuring Magazine has an article called Mapping it Out. I am one of three artists featured in the article that talks about my work and the 2011 Project. Plus there is a photo of one of the new pieces that will be included in my installation Imagining Val Travel as well as one of the pieces from the 2011 Project.  

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Another look at Sidewalk Topography

I just got a peek at the second issue of Featuring Magazine.  It is due out any day now.  There is an article about my work and I see this is one of the images they selected for the article.  I forgot how much I really liked this one and am reminded that I still need to do a much bigger version of Sidewalk Topography.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Travel Stuff

Some of the travel-themed pieces from the 2011 Project

Travel was a recurring theme last year as I did the individual pieces for the 2011 Project.  I certainly enjoy travel, but it also is not surprising considering my collage boxes are full of travel ephemera (yes, I keep boxes of treasure just waiting to be used in art).  In September I am showing over 30 pieces of new work, all of it travel themed.  It is all part of site specific installation called Imagining Val Travel (it opens September 16, click here for details).

Monday, July 23, 2012

Beach Day

Beach Day, mixed media on canvas, 10”x10”

I still keep coming up with ideas I wish I had thought of for the 2011 Project.  This is one of those examples.  I did use some sandpaper in one of the pieces, but I hadn’t thought of encrusting the edges of the canvas in sand as I did with this piece for my upcoming installation.

I added the sand and some sandpaper because I knew that Beach Day needed more than vintage postcards of beach scenes.  The cards have beach scenes from Florida to California with a heavy dose of Cape Cod including Kalmus Beach.  Kalmus is a beach I grew up near in Hyannis, named for Herbert Kalmus who donated the land.  He was also the inventor of Technicolor.  While a motion picture film process, where would the sky in old postcards be without the influence of Technicolor?  Beach Day itself refers to a certain type of summer day, when the weather is just right, and it’s a perfect time to go to the beach.  If you live near a beach, you know….

Prints of this piece are available from Society 6.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Fabulous Land

Fabulous Land, mixed media on canvas, 8”x8”

I can never say enough how important it is to experiment.  A little 4”x4” collage of vintage postcards for the 2011 Project has lead to an ongoing series of postcard collages.  This latest piece is made entirely with postcards from the Fabulous Land (aka California).

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Put the 2011 Project on your iPhone

Put the 2011 Project on your phone.  The 2011 Project website has site has six wallpapers formatted for your iPhone.  Go here to download them all for free.

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Little Eurocollages

European Collages, all approx. 2.3”x4” each, mixed media on board 1997

As I continue to organize and archive I came across these forgotten treasures.  I started making small mixed media collages long before the 2011 Project.  This series of 12 geographic, travel themed pieces were done in 1997.  Each was for a different European country.  I printed these images and used them in handmade magnets.  Nowadays printing technology has improved and become less expensive.  I see cool artists magnets at shows and craft fairs all the time.   Back in 1998, I sold about 25 of the magnets in a small shop in the Richmond.  If you have one, hang on to it — it’s a collector’s item.

As far as my current work, one could say its come full circle, as I am working on a series of travel-themed work for an installation later this year.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Friday, February 17, 2012

101 Years of Airmail

101 years ago today the first airmail letters were sent. It was a short distance - from Santa Rosa to Petaluma, CA. Last year I commemorated the event with a piece for the 2011 Project. I used postage stamps, aerogrammes and other airmail labels throughout the year in many of the 365 pieces. Some of the examples are above. 100 years from now it may become difficult for artists to incorporate stamps in their art as mail becomes less common. In the meantime, I have a box of stamps to keep using.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

I knew this would happen

As predicted, as 2012 marches along I know I am going to keep thinking of pieces I should have done or the 2011 Project. This morning I was enjoying the Japanese Tea Garden in Golden Gate Park and realized I missed this. I did a fortune cookie piece (see above). Legend is the cookies were invented at the Japanese Tea Garden. I need to do some piece about the garden anyway, even if 2011 is over.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Reflecting on 2011

Now that 2012 is a few weeks old and 2011 is behind us, I am beginning to miss making a 4”x4” piece of art every day. Last year the 2011 Project became the focus of my artistic life. There were a few days when it felt like a chore, but overall, I truly enjoyed working on it. Gradually my wall kept filling with the grid of piece after piece. But it really wasn’t until near the end of the year that the impact of the project began to feel “real” to me. Around November I was reaching the point where I had that I did it feeling. I’ll never forget the final moment when I put the last coat of varnish on the last piece on the evening of December 31st. I was sad that the long journey was over but also had a sense of accomplishment with having actually made it.

When I conceived the idea for the 2011 Project, I was experienced enough to understand that I could not really predict how the project would unfold. I had the basic concept of a piece of art every day. Having spent years exploring pattern and making grid like collages, the idea of using 4”x4” canvases and laying them out in a big grid was natural to me.

Starting with the commitment to making a piece of art every day, I quickly realized I also wanted to explore a different idea every day. There are reoccurring themes and styles throughout the project, but I really did strive to make each individual piece about an individual idea. There were many themes and materials I was well versed in and they started to appear in the project. As I began looking for new ideas it also lead to new styles, materials and subject matter. There are so many things I painted for the first time ever in 2011, everything from magnolias, to a goat to a quahog shell. Maps appear in plenty of the pieces and I also used other materials that I had used previously like old photos, vintage postcards and stamps. But the list of new materials grew to include: naugahyde, MUNI passes, dice, jigsaw puzzle pieces, Eucalyptus leaves, candy wrappers, wax and incense boxes to name just a few.

One advantage of working small was that each piece took me about 1-3 hours to make. There was some additional prep time and scouring around for materials. But basically, as an artist, each piece was a small commitment. This brief amount of time opened me up to experimenting. Unexpectedly, many pieces have become studies for future projects. The 2011 Project is also a vast personal sketchbook of ideas I will be expanding on for months and years to come.

Each artists needs to develop their own rules. And, I do not want to be one of those artists that tell other artists what they should do. But I will suggest that by imposing a disciplined structure for yourself, if even for a month, you will likely have a similar experience of positive and unexpected results.

The year 2011 is over, but the 2011 Project is far from finished. There is the need to show as an installation(s) in 2012. Then the separate pieces will be distributed to supporters so they can curate them for the future. And some point 10 years, 20 years or even further into the future, it will be even more interesting to revisit the project.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

An Inspirational Phone Booth

Yesterday afternoon was spent at the SFMOMA wandering through the galleries. One particular photo that drew me in was Henry Wessel’s Buena Vista, Colorado (see above). It was no surprise. I am constantly drawn to images of open, empty roads under big western skies. I take “this” photo all the time on road trips and use them for sources in paintings.

Wessel’s image is dominated by the phone booth. Phone booths have all but disappeared. The logo and style of the booth dates the image to about 40 years ago. If one recognizes that time, it’s unnecessary to confirm the image is from 1973. If the phone booth were absent from this image, it could have been taken yesterday.

This photo stuck with me after I left the museum. As I thought about the photo I was reminded how every artist may act as an archivist either consciously or unconsciously. Many of the pieces for the 2011 Project dealt with past and disappearing objects. Wessel’s photo of a phone booth inspires me to continue to document ordinary items in my work.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Not available in the gift shop, yet…

If you know my art, you know I love things in grids. A Rubik’s Cube with my images seems inevitable. I’ve seen more than a few of these art cubes in museum gift shops and yes, they are kind of kitschy. I do confess to buying a Gilbert and George cube on sale. But as their work is often in grid form, that Rubik’s Cube has my approval. And it was on sale, cheap. A few months ago I attended an art fair and where an artist had some hand-made Rubik’s Cubes. He shared his trick with me. You basically buy Rubik’s Cubes cheap and then print out your own work and replace the color squares. A certain large shipping company has great blank, adhesive labels that fit in a printer and officially are not for this purpose. And where would we be without Japantown dollar stores and knock-off Rubik’s cubes? So here it is, the 2011 Project on a Rubik’s Cube. If you’d like one, you’ll have to wait for the big Tofu museum show and always remember to exit through the gift shop.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Today in the mail from Italy

As an artist it’s always a struggle to get recognition for your work. Today the current issue of Urban Magazine arrived in the mail from Italy. It has an article on the 2011 Project. I am feeling rather validated today, and I have to confess, just a bit glamorous…

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Off to the Post Office

A big stack of 2011 Project postcards ready to go to the post office. Do I have you on my mailing list?

Friday, January 6, 2012

Point Reyes

Today is Epiphany or the Feast of the Three Kings. Point Reyes National Seashore is named for those Kings. It’s a place I like to visit whenever I can and it inspired a number of pieces for the 2011 Project including the six ones seen above. I have been painting and photographing Point Reyes for many years.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Archive Pieces

Early on in the 2011 Project I started to save some of the cut outs and various scraps generated while making the pieces. It was the beginning of an archive box that I often used as a source for subsequent pieces. Here are just some of the scraps from the archive.