I am excited to announce the very first Parabolis gallery show. We wanted to take this opportunity to display the very best of the Parabolis artwork in a way unseen before, in a fine art gallery. The Opening will be held at The Night Gallery during the Santa Ana Art Walk on August 2nd from 7:00 PM until 10:00 PM. On site will be the Novelzine and art prints for sell, as well as materials to provide insight into how the book was created. The Author (Eddie Han) and I (Artist) will both be present at the Gallery to sign any work, answer any questions or assemble any ikea furniture that you may need assembled (we are multi-talented ). Please come say hi and support the show. Plus there will be free wine and a possible drop in from cheese. See the flyer for me info. Thanks!
This piece is loosely inspired by self preservation. You know that process of trying to avoid the pains of life and in the process kill any chance at life at all. This was just an experiment and it was a lot of fun.
John Cage (even though I can’t find a reference right now) said “there is no Right, there is no wrong, there is only make,” This Quote has had a tremendous effect on me this week. This tells me that I do think there is a wrong answer when making something, And maybe even more surprising is that I think there is a right answer. Where did that come from. I have lived my whole life trying to find this right answer.
Growing up, our school system has told us that we need to know what to think or else we get the wrong answer and we fail. Great for them, because this kind of knowledge is easy to test. But what about when you enter real life, and you have to make real decisions. Decisions like What kind of career to pursue or How to spend your money or who you should marry. There is no right answer or no piece of knowledge that will inform you of what to do. Instead the answer is inside of you. There is no way to test someones ability to reach inside themselves and find what is best for them, so instead we just never talk about this and we live our whole life thinking there IS a right answer. feelings of inadequacy soon follow because we have been told we should know the right answer but we never feel like we do. The truth, as John cage so eloquently put it, is that there is no right, and there is no wrong, There is only action. In other words we are free. It would be a shame to live your whole life afraid to live in that Freedom. You may not always have this freedom but you have it now, live it. A piece of Art, a Relationship, a decision what ever it is just MAKE IT.
Another installment of experiemntal friday. Allow yourself to do something new today. For me this experimental collage study is my new thing, I made this with some scraps I had left over from other pieces i was working on. Deco haircuts, Cheers readers.
I made some updates to my blog yesterday. Here is a new image I added to my Parabolis portfolio. Who doesn’t love some good old fashioned chocolate milk?
This piece is an exploration in something I have personally struggled with my who life, Self Doubt. Where it comes from I am still trying to identify. Maybe growing up last in a family of 6 where my everyday decisions have been made for me. Or being taught that there is a “right” answer in life and if you don’t match everyone else’s answer you are wrong. What every it is as an artist trying to find his voice it haunts me. I hope this inspires someone to not live in fear of the indivisible rules that they have put on themselves and embrace that they are unlike another human to ever live. What you thought was your weakness is in actuality your strength. Well it is just a picture after all, but I guess it is the thought that count.
Some of my favorite topics lately have been Past eras predicting future technologies. Some are completely crazy and others are eerily accurate. I even saw an illustration recently from the 1950’s that predicted the state of amazon drone delivery technologies that they are developing right now. Regardless of how accurate they are you can’t help but activate your imagination. The Collage piece above is inspired by those old illustrations and my affinity for the clean automobile styles of the 1950’s 60’s. This piece is assembled by hand from old 1950s car ads and then digitally modified for background enhancements. I hope you like my Past Future Car. Please message me if you would like to see this as a print.
The most satisfying part of this whole process is the last part, implementing natural textures. I tried for years to add texture digitally to my compositions but it never quite looked natural and it would take 10x longer. Sometimes it takes longer to fake it. Since then I have developed a process of creating real textures as the result of many hours of experimentation and frustration. I think every creative person needs to develop the capacity to be continually experimenting, otherwise we rise falling into sameness. For Parabolis My process was to transfer toner from the printer onto a new sheet of paper using acetone. I would print out the shapes from my composition using a Brother laser printer. I placed the paper facedown on a new sheet of matte photo paper and applied an acetone to the back of printed sheet. After a good rub the toner would transfer from the printed sheet onto the photo paper but this time with tiny imperfections that add character and age. A quick scan and photoshop reassembly would place the image in its final resting place. NOTE: The image will be flipped horizontally after transferring. The last step for me was to collage in some clippings of old 1920s newspapers and erase until the desired affect emerges. There is no secret or wrong way to create a process but it does require time and experimentation. This experimentation is vital the freshness of my work. If you want to see this process in action here is a video that someone made of this exact thing. A video is worth a thousand words. And here is a video showing a process that Warhol used to implement called the blotted line technique, He was my inspiration in developing my transfer technique.
Next in the Process is the translation of the rough sketch into the rigid Geometry of Adobe Illustrator. The original composition from the sketch gets another round of obsessive rearranging. It Takes a While to get the right balance of flow and tension. What does that mean? Well in any image or photograph there is a path that the viewers eye uses to move around and explore its contents. So The idea here is to let the eye move rapidly around the composition but then slow the movement down once it reaches the focal point. In this image the focal point is the conversation happening in the background. The man in the front is therefore composed of long straight lines. This moves the eye rapidly around him but when the viewer arrives at the two seated in the back the eye slows down due to the shorter more complex shapes. Thus a focus has been achieved. One of the goals in this image was to use the least amount of lines to create the most amount of information. This is directly related to my complete obsession with Charley Harper at the time. You can see my inspiration from him here. Next week I will explain how to apply a texture to create that aged and worn look I love so much. Stay tuned.
When setting out to creating a large uniform body of work process becomes vital. For Parabolis I had to craft an almost assembly line like production process. My process became simple and ridged allowing my brain freedom to explore the conceptual side of visual narrative. Ironically I made some of my most freeing and unique work in this restrictive process. Here is one of my favorite pieces I made for Parabolis, it depicts an investigator listening in on a conversation over coffee. Above is the final image while below is a couple rough sketches that proceed the final steps. As you can see the early sketches are usually rough geometric shapes and outlines in pencil. I usually do about 30 or so small sketches just to define the prominent structure that will direct the eye. You may notice that the principle shape blocks of the piece are there even at an early state and they carry through to the final, even if nothing else is the same. When creating a concept Its important to consider what will take the spot of importance on the page and how ones eye might navigate the shapes. I don’t feel comfortable moving to the next stage until I have a clear vision of what the piece might look like even though it is always different. Next week I will uncover the middle stage of my production process during Parabolis. This is usually reserved for wizards, magicians and the others of the sort. Stay tuned.
An artists process is a personal thing. Its what sets them apart from other artist. Some artist paint, some draw, some cut and paste some use a the computer, or a screen printer. There is a million ways to execute a piece and for the last three years I have used Photoshop and some Illustrator to execute mine. My motto should be “IN ADOBE WE TRUST”. I first created this process because I couldn’t achieve the clarity and richness I wanted in paint alone. So i turned to the computer to create a system to help me accomplish more in my process. But like all systems there comes a point when it can hinder you more than help you. The computer is a great time saving tool And I will probably always use it in one form or another but it is not thinking tool. Sometimes I feel like I get more productive thinking done in my car on my way to work than the entire time I am at work. But once you abandon the computer it is quickly discovered just how messy and clumsy your hands can be. I’ve always hated my hand writing and honestly I have hated my drawings too. I know it sounds ridiculous that an artist would hate his own drawing style but it is true. lately however, I’ve been adamantly be trying to overcome these insecurities. Actively excepting my unique mark even if it doesn’t look like my favorite artists. I have tried to be like them, trust me, but I not them. I start my daily process almost like an AA meeting by saying Hi my name is Curt and this is a safe place to express anything. After all, This is about freedom of expression. What I have learned is that My unique view is as permanent as my fingerprints, I can try to hide them but they will always show through. What systems do you still use that have stopped helping you? Are they hindering your unique expression, or slowing down your process? What parts of you do you need to accept today. Like scaffolding around a constructed building some systems have to come down in order to keep moving forward.
There are two sides to the human brain. Both sides do very different things, and in the creative process both side are necessary. the Left side is logic and the Right side is intuition. For this exercise lets give these two sides a job title to suit there role in the creative process. The right side will be labeled the Muse and the left side will be the Editor. The Muse is your inspiration and content maker. This is the side that makes interesting connections and thinks outside the box. The Editor is the filter, Its the voice in your head that says that that is a great idea and this isn’t so lets get rid of that and do more of this. Without the Muse the Editor is left with a blank page, and without the Editor the Muse would make content that is chaotic.
Our society favors editors, a lot of jobs in America are editing jobs. Most subjects taught in schools are reasoning subjects, in this age logic is king. But there is a problem that occurs when the editor precedes before the muse is finished. It stops the creative process in its tracks. We have all sat in a room like this. A meeting where there is a problem to get solved but no one wants to suggest anything out of fear that their idea will sound stupid, or its not good enough. Its like sitting in your brain when you have writers block. What would happen if you said the thing you are afraid of saying or made the thing you want to make but are afraid of what people will think. This idea has changed the way I think about my art, and it has opened a new energy I never knew was in me. Although it still takes a lot of effort to quite my Editor, it is a fruitful endeavor. Because in the end, there are many more uncertainties in life than there are “correct answers”. Sometimes you will never know the right thing to do and you just have to close your eyes trust your instincts and move.
This is my interpretation of a chapter in the book FREE PLAY which I highly suggest to anyone wanting to unlock their creative side.
Allas another installment of the awkwardly bizarre Friday collage experiments. This weeks episode is the wildly rambunctious MAN-BOY! what tomfoolery will he get into next! Please don’t be creeped out. Happy almost weekend folks.
A couple of weeks back during one of my productive Friday experiment days I made this bizarre collage that I thought was kind of interesting. Hope you find it as interesting and weird as I do.