If you are new to this series all the images are based on recent photos of me after basically being fed through a neural network (which can change age, gender, etc.), then edited and painted using various programs. None of the people actually exist, and thus they are like self portraits from alternate universes.
If I want hits, I gotta put in puppies (or better yet, boobs). Well, this puppy might be getting sucked into another dimension. Almost seems like the young man is trying to hold on to him just before the realization that something’s amiss in the universe. That just looks exactly like a younger version of me, but the scenario may not be what it seems, even without the fabric of reality being warped. As with the other “boy with dog” image, I never had a dog.
This is a sort of companion to the other piece. His dogs are always being taken away by inter-dimensional forces. This is also another experiment with space glop. No, it isn’t the “liquify” filter in Photoshop. That would be far too easy. It isn’t a filter at all.
I improved my painting technique in this one, though that’s only apparent when you zoom in.
The secret to how I work is that I combine things: ideas, techniques, motifs, etc. And then I create hybrids. This is, when I think about it, quite different than what artists are often expected to do, and what was a big hit in the last century: refining one thing into a narrow signature style. For example, On Kawara painted the date on a canvas almost every day for decades, and there are more than 25,000 of these things.
Boring! Exciting stuff.
Let me put my dog pieces side by side to see what they look. Like. Goin’ to Photoshop. Be right back.
Interesting, but not quite as good as On Kawara’s daily paintings.
OK, the last one is by me. Sometimes I like to prank the art world. But those B&W ones really are by him. So, find yourself a niche, and just keep making the same shit over and over. It’s called “branding”, and making a unique product, most preferably a physical one-of-a-kind object. I’m not sure On Kawara wasn’t himself punking the art world.
So, moving on, just some personal things.
Last night I couldn’t sleep for a spell and started thinking about the 8 years I lived in New York and worked as a (long term) temp in a bank. I would guess those were my “prime” years. It was great living in NY, and I suppose the experience is priceless. Indeed, most everyone way happy with me then. I was making decent money, had my own apartment in Brooklyn, wore collared shirts and ties to work (until it became unfashionable), and wasn’t really making art. I just did enough to hold onto the thread.
And when I look back I think I have fuck all to show for it. I made just enough money to stay a couple steps ahead of the game, I lived, but in the long run it’s the art I make that I have to show for myself.
Meanwhile, last I checked all my physical art was slotted for destruction because I can’t pay storage fees. I’m scared to ask if it’s already been moved to it’s permanent home decomposing in the dump.
So, despite the crap-O-la I get from paint-daubing hacks for working with the computer, I don’t have to worry about my work of the last 5 years being destroyed. I can store it myself on a thumb drive if need be. And this also allows me to be a digital nomad and live in the developing world where I can afford to work part time.
I shouldn’t be too hard on myself for not getting that much art done in 8 years living in NY. I did work at least 30 hours a week and had a 2 hour commute. Besides that, grad school made art into a toxic phenomenon, and it took me a while to distance myself from that part of the art world and reclaim art as what I love about it.
Now I find myself working on this unusual series I would never have anticipated a year ago. It’s a kind of working with my circumstances and making the best of it, so that, had my grad school been supportive for my race and gender, and had I had a prosperous art career, I might never have done this work. And that strange trajectory may turn out to be an asset (whether anyone else can see it or not).
If you haven’t figured this out instinctually, part of this is about resisting obliteration and oblivion, and another part is a big FU to the people who say my identity is irrelevant or pernicious… There’s more to it than that, but those are a couple components one might want to recognize. Notice the resemblance to this earlier work, and what it symbolizes.
It’s not just gloppy smeary paint on top for the heck of it (though that is a fashion today). There’s something more meaningful about it. That’s enough for now.
Stay tuned for more in this series. I have surprises in store I haven’t even mentioned yet.
Here’s all 22 pieces so far (in chronological order). Just click anywhere in the gallery to go into the screen-show mode.
And if you like the (experimental) sort of art that I do, and you don’t want me to have to quit or put it on a back-burner, please consider chipping in so I can keep working until I drop. Through Patreon, you can give $1 (or more) per month to help keep me going (y’know, so I don’t have to put art back on the back-burner while I slog away at a full-time job). Ah, if only I could amass a few hundred dollars per month this way, I could focus entirely on my art and writing. See how it works here.
Or go directly to my account.
Or you can make a small, one time donation to help me keep on making art and blogging (and restore my faith in humanity simultaneously).