Monday, September 2, 2013

Vinyl Revival, First Post in 2 years

Two years. It has been two years since I demoed the Cave, two years since my last big art project, and two years as the official Executive Director of Gallery 263. The gallery is still standing, and here I am participating in another residency.

This residency is quite different from the Cave. It is much shorter and there are four of us working on separate projects in the space. So far, I have spent the time prepping for a new body of work, a series of paintings of contemporary musicians. The premise of the series is the resurgence of vinyl. I find it really interesting and romantic that vinyl has come back into fashion. Back when it first came out, you had to be picked up by a record label to put out a full length album, at least for it to be a successful distribution and for most to afford it. Now I find that we have come full circle. People can and do produce full length albums on their own, but for the majority, artists won't put out a vinyl record without the backing of a label. In an age where the future looked to be a series of single downloads, I find it refreshing that a large population are buying and producing this product that propels against that. They are interested in sound quality, and experiencing or creating a record as a whole.

From there I found my scale: 12" x 12", two panel paintings (front and back), emulating a vinyl record cover. The front will be a portrait of the artist in his/her personal space. This is a private look into the performer as a person. I'm thinking bedrooms, studio spaces, living rooms--a space that is a reflection of the artist. The back side or second panel will be the same space, but without the artist. I'm interested in how spaces can be stand-ins for people and excited to demonstrate that with this series.

So far I have photographed 5 gentlemen.  Ladies are to come later this fall.  Below we have Dietrich Strause, Lyle Brewer, Mark Kilianski, Matthew Meyer and Zack Hickman.  I'm sharing some of my source material which I will use as reference for the paintings/drawings.  I will include a few notes about each man.

Dietrich is an awesome singer/songwriter in Boston.  He lives in JP as many artists do in this town.  I stopped by his place the week before the residency began.  He was making dinner when I got there, so we had a chance to catch up a bit first.  His kitchen is kind of amazing, so I took a few pictures while he cooked.  I especially love this one above.  I think the panel will be images from his room, but I plan to attempt a larger scale drawing set in the kitchen.  After dinner was cooked, we left it to cool and we went to his room.  Dietrich has this great minimalist aesthetic.  A bed, guitar, Rhodes keyboard, stack of albums and mounted deer head.  Amazing.

Lyle Brewer
Lyle is an extraordinary guitarist.  He lives in Arlington, just a few miles outside of Cambridge.  Until recently he was lead guitar in Ryan Montbleau's band.  He decided to step back to focus on his own music.  I went to his latest cd release last Monday at Passim.  The entire room sat captivated as Lyle played an hour of instrumental songs solo. Quiet while he played, and eruptive at the end of a song, not a small feat.  I went to Lyle's house 10 days ago.  Lyle is unique within this group because he is a father.  Lyle is married to another musician, Sarah Borges and their son Elliot is two years old.  The living room is very reflective of the family. The room over is the music room with a stack of instruments in the corner and walls decorated with album covers. Finally Lyle showed me the backyard which is where he said they all hangout.  It will be hard to decide which space to choose for Lyle's panels.

Mark Kilianski
Mark is a good friend of mine.  He's toward the beginning of a very promising future in music.  Also living in JP, I visited Mark and Dietrich the same night.  Mark co-founded a project called the Whiskey Boys with David Delaney at Berklee College of Music.  The band became their livelihoods post college in 2009/2010. A little under a year ago, Mark decided to withdraw from the project to go on a music quest to the south, and has since self-produced his first solo record with the help of kickstarter crowd funding.  Anyway, Mark was my second photo shoot of the project.  The wall where I am here with camera is slanted, and that was the farthest away from him I could get.  It was hilarious to shoot, as I balanced leaning as far into the corner as possible.  It took a little while for Mark to relax.  These images were toward the end of the session.

Matthew Meyer
Matty was my first photo shoot of the series.  He is an incredible drummer.  Matty plays full-time with Miss Tess and the Talk Backs, performing about 200 shows each year (about the same number of days as a high school teacher).  They hit the road hard, and in someways live more on the road than at home.  He also is part of a rock band side project called Madam Macadam which plays when the stars align.  This first picture was when he had started to relax.  It's not the best for source material, but I thought it was hilarious.  I shot Matty is his bedroom and in a space they call the jubilarium.  He saves tour posters, both from his bands, friends' bands etc., and puts them all up along this wall.  The layering and the peeling, the density of the collection I find captivating.  Nothing is sacred, everything gets posted over, even a screenprint of mine from the Gallery's folk fest.  :)  There's a beauty in the ephemeral/chronicle juxtaposition of the space.  It's a very specific history he is recording with this collection.  I think his bedroom will be the best fit for the project, but a larger drawing of the jubilarium is on my list for the residency.

Zack Hickman
After I left Lyle's place in Arlington, I swung over to Zack's in Medford.  He's known for playing the upright bass, his main commitments right now being the Josh Ritter Band, Ray LaMontagne, and Rose Cousins.  He also occasionally subs in with Miss Tess and the Talk Backs and the Sweet & Low Down, which is how I know him.  Oddly, despite the 20+ instruments in Zack's house, the bass didn't make it into any of the pictures.  From this first view, I am standing in the kitchen looking in on Zack through a doorway.  His bass is to my left, just inside that room leaning against the wall.  He felt like playing the guitar during the session, so that's what I have here.  We started in the music room, and then moved into Zack's living room. He said that he wanted at least one room in his apartment to be a normal person room.  I am torn between the two stark opposites. The one room is filled to the brim with his collection of instruments, and the other is very minimalistic, chic and contemporary.  The living room felt like a shoot for a home and garden magazine or something. Whichever is not chosen for the project will probably be another larger scale drawing/painting.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Day 26

Day 26 of 100 day project

Well, perhaps I should pause the 100 day project, and restart it at the end of July. The cave has been intense and wonderful and totally consuming. I added the acknowledgment painting finally, so that will be my new post for today. Other photos include some shots from recent music shows, and also some updated shots of the cave. I took some pictures for the Phoenix (we got a little mention in an article along side of Tufts and a MassArt show in July 8-15) which made me realize that I hadn't taken photos like that before.

Last note from recent events. One of my favorite visits was earlier this week. A family came into the cave, father, mother and 4-5 year old son. The dad says "This may be the coolest thing I've ever seen" and the kid says "This isn't a real cave!" hehe you caught me, kid. The conversation carried on with dad saying, "Well it looks, feels and tastes like cave..." So... the kid says, "It doesn't taste like a cave" and proceeded to walk up to the cave and lick it!!! Not just once, but 4 times. Hilarious.

Tour of the cave

Recent structural work

Cave from both sides now.

At night. Before the electro show

Extending the cave to the floor. This transition is most noticeable beneath the bbq where the bottom was pretty rough. I hope to finish the complete bottom edge soon.

Cave Concert Series

mtn (Making the Noise) and William Fields--Electro show 07.08.11

Getting ready for mtn show.

Stan Killian--Jazz show 07.16.11

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Day 25

Day 25

The first part of today was really slow here at 263. But the rain slowed down and people are coming in now. I have to decide a date for the BYOP (bring your own paint) closing reception. So many people have come in and wanted to paint, so we should definitely do that. If you want to paint, check the website for the date and come join us!

I painted myself into Phil's bbq today, as a deer. When we were kids, Phil used to draw me as a deer, and himself as a bunny. I certainly wouldn't want to miss one of his bbq's. Hopefully she gets on with the others.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Day 23 & 24

Day 23 & 24 (of 100 day project)

I am a bit behind on my 100 day project. I have 7 days to make up. The cave still isn't finished, but full days of construction are thankfully behind me, so from now on its just the one project to keep track of.

I finally started some cave painting yesterday. I did one section from my cave frieze, which I think will take a while. I also did my first shadow painting. The premise behind the frieze is pretty straight forward, I am telling the story of the making. The shadow paintings are maybe less obvious. The late late nights by myself in the cave, the different objects cast some really beautiful shadows on the surface. It reminded me of minimalist sculpture (Judd) for some reason. Probably the clear divided lines. I started wanting to keep them there, as a record of the process and also just a closer look at the contours of the cave.

When I was painting it last night, I had another idea. Everyone keeps asking if this is inspired by the Herzog film. Well it's not. I didn't know about the film until days before construction. But I did see it immediately, and there's this one passage where a man repeatedly "painted" his palm print on a high wall surface. I keep thinking about that painting, and how the hand is the same level of importance as it was then, has the same meaning to press it on the wall now. Maybe I will climb up my invisible ladder and do some hand prints above.

Anyway, here are some pics of the paintings.

This is part of day 1 of construction. There are actually 2 paintings that will precede it but I started with this one.

Shadow painting. Not sure how many of these (if more) I will do. It was a lot harder than I expected to see the shadow. You can see it from 10 feet back but its really difficult to see it immediately in front of you.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Megan Keely and Cowgill play THE CAVE

So I'm here,finally getting my paint on, and needed a little break. We had an amazing music show last night, well worthy of including in the cave documentary, so here are some photos from that. Megan Keely is a singer songwriter from San Francisco, with an amazing voice and awesome jazzy-bluesy-folk rock kind of jams. She is on a tour for her new album with her dad, bro and friend from Chicago. Talented family. Cowgill started off the show, accompanied by Dan Weissman. These are a couple of folk rockers, hailing from Chicago and Milwaukee respectively, that have joined our city here. I hope to see more of them for sure.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Day 22 (day 18 of cave)

Day 22 (day 18 of the cave)

Day 18 (Sunday) was the opening reception. I came early to paint and clean and set up. I spent most of the time painting my artist statement. I also need to paint my acknowledgments for all the wonderful people who have supported the project in someway. Perhaps today.

I also attempted to start a painting, but 20 minutes doesn't really render the best results. I think that I will just start it over during the next couple of days. The concept behind the painting was the creation and evolution of the cave. I chose to work on the column, stalactite/stalagmite deal, sort of in the manner of a Roman frieze. In faith of showing the full process, I will include the photos of my current painting too.

The receptions was awesome! Thanks everyone for coming. I think at least 100 people passed through. It was really well received, and there should be a couple articles coming out in the coming weeks (which is so f###ing great). Here we go.

My brother made the trek from Western MA. He's lovely.

More of my family. Mom, dad, and aunt Betty.

As the night progressed, things got really dark. Only problem with that is that it makes non-flash photos difficult. I need to bring in a tripod. Katie is the only one sort of in focus here.

Dear Scott, thanks bud.

I took some photos today to better show how the space looks now.

My artist statement.

The column painting.