Room and Border, my humble studio/gallery space at the ArtExchange will be hosting the gorgeously quirky paintings of Bruna Massadas. I'm thrilled to be able to display this series of work and am eager to find more opportunities to work with such a focused local artist.
All things considered, the timing here could not have worked out better. While I would love to feature her work for an entire month, the ArtX will finally be moving forward with long anticipated renovations. Unfortunately for all us resident artists, this means we will need to vacate our studios for the duration. During this time we will be entirely unaffiliated with the ArtX, welcome to reapply once the renovations are through (I assume with some preference.) Or there are the alternatives; this is a junction of many uncertainties. to this point, the camaraderie that has grown amongst those of us who have stuck it out is not something I will give up easily. With luck, when the ArtX reopens in late summer Room and Border Studios will still be nestled between Illuminoidal Arts and The Collective Print Studio on our little corner of 3rd and Elm.
After a good bit of downtime and a fair share of studio drama, an opportunity arose that promised to jump start my lagging practice. While less than a month seemed to me a real crunch in which to complete four 4x8" panels, I couldn't refuse the invitation from the Bixby Knolls Business Improvement Association. This was just the kind of fire under my ass I had needed to get things rolling again. Long story short I managed to squeeze out said panels to a great reception. And, after a thorough cleaning the studio is back in painting mode.
First things first. After letting it sit for way too long I finally took a good hard look at my website and came to the obvious conclusion that it was overcrowded and tedious to navigate. Thus the fat has been trimmed. Up next is a thorough studio cleaning.
The leading factor in all this revision has been a general shift toward printmaking. Though I will always have a love for pushing paint around, the reality is that big paintings (and scores of little ones) tend to pile up and collect dust. And while I know the work is always well received I have had a difficult time finding homes for all my paint babies; and this depresses me. And so, on to printmaking.
With the recent acquisition of a Richeson Baby Press kit (a compact etching/relief press that really pulls it's weight) I've dug into block printing with renewed energy. Gone are the days of pulling five prints and feeling like my arm is going to fall off. No more rubbing every little square inch by hand (unless of course the plate is larger than 8" on the shortest measure.) And, nearly all of the prints I've made fit into a few brief cases; it's magical. This little beauty below is the first proof of what I imagine is the limit of this my press. It was certainly big enough to keep me busy for a good week and a half of carving on lunch breaks. I'm considering doing a limited edition of hand colored prints. some trial and error is needed, but editions coming soon.
"Sol System" 7.5x16" printed on rice paper
The second aspect of this grand overhaul is the introduction of the Little Existential Bird Press. The little guy has long been my mascot; He is, I am! And finally, I'm putting him to work and taking him to market. I've basically been pouring all my studio time into making smaller card-size linocuts and prints small batches of greeting cards. Again, something that has always been on the agenda but never really practical until the press. at this point there's about eight different designs available. Below are a few; the rest are pictured here.
Finally, be sure to check out my new shop LittleExistentialBird. All the cards are available there and editions of prints will be posting soon.
A few weeks ago I was given a sketchbook by the Stillman&Birn company rep with instructions to do my best and worst to it. These books are awesome. Genuinely, some of the best drawing paper I've used in one hell of a durable book. I put it through the paces with a barrage of media: acrylics, ink, gouache, charcoal, pen, wet into wet, wet over dry, dry into wet, all of it. Ultimately I logged about sixteen drawings before passing it back for use as a display. But not before scanning the results:
Day two of EPR was yet another blast, this time with a bit more of a mission. Breaking off from the main party I caught a brief few of Crystal Antlers which produced one quick sketch. Then, after fueling up with a Rustic Rye IPA at Masa I headed over to 8bit studios to catch The Groms and The Hard R, both excellent. A few PBRs later and craving a nap, I found my way to Tierra Mia coffee for some pep and finished the evening near the Taix main stage. Myron and E instantly revitalized, throwing down Archie Bell and the Drells' "Tighten up", and Peanut Butter Wolf kept the energy going till close.
After an unusually busy session in the studio this morning I hopped the Blue line towards downtown, ultimately heading to the Echo Park Rising music festival. what followed was an evening of concert hopping. Catching one great show on arrival (Woods), then wandering the area finding great music at every turn, tonight has been a whirlwind. Woods, DeLux, Matthewdavid, Thumpers, Roses, Dante vs Zombies, all were phenomenal. DVZ wins the exuberance trophy, while DeLux still has me transfixed every time. And on top of all this a tidy batch of drawings came of it as well!