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Tuesday, December 30, 2008

New Year's Eve in Death Valley

Death Valley (photo taken in 2004)

This morning I am leaving to go camping in Death Valley with my family. A few days in this amazing desert, enjoying the openness of the landscapes, the light. I take my camera, my note book and a bottle of champagne to celebrate the new year next to the campfire!

Happy New Year to everyone!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Shoot an Iraqi

A stunning program yesterday on KPBS about an installation/performance by artist Wafaa Bilal which took place in 2007 in an internet gallery in Chicago. Wafaa Bilal made himself the human target for a live internet shooting gallery. People around the globe took aim and fired real paintballs at him for a month.

From Bilal's website:
"Art, Life and Resistance Under the Gun

Wafaa Bilal's childhood in Iraq was defined by the horrific rule of Saddam Hussein, two wars, a bloody uprising, and time spent interned in chaotic refugee camps in Kuwait and Saudi Arabia. Bilal eventually made it to the U.S. to become a professor and a successful artist, but when his brother was killed at a U.S. checkpoint in 2005, he decided to use his art to confront those in the comfort zone with the realities of life in a conflict zone.

Thus the creation and staging of "Domestic Tension," an unsettling interactive performancepiece: for one month, Bilal lived alone in a prison cell-sized room in the line of fire of a remote-controlled paintball gun and a camera that connected him to internet viewers around the world. Visitors to the gallery and a virtual audience that grew by the thousands could shoot at him 24 hours a day.

The project received overwhelming worldwide attention, garnering the praise of the Chicago Tribune, which called it "one of the sharpest works of political art to be seen in a long time," and Newsweek's assessment "breathtaking." It spawned provocative online debates and ultimately, Bilal was awarded the Chicago Tribune's Artist of the Year Award."

I visited to get the video.

Thank you Kevin for your comment. I did not know about the book and I am very interested in reading it. I ordered it on Amazon.

Things, things, things! (tis the season)

From "Into the Wild", Sean Penn, 2007

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Lynn Susholtz and Art Produce, Sally Ride and the Earth seen from the Shuttle

one of my new paintings (detail)

I am working on a series of paintings but I do not want to talk too much about them before I show them! I have three upcoming exhibitions in which I am participating. The first one is the San Diego Art Prize, a group show at Noel Baza in February and March, with 12 other artists. The second one is a solo show in June at the San Diego Art Institute in Balboa Park. The third one, also a solo show, should be in/or around December 2009 at Art Produce Gallery in North Park. I am very excited to start the year with these interesting projects and I am certainly very interested by the space at Art Produce because I can do pretty much what I want there! I am thinking about a lot of possibilities that the space has to offer and I think it will be a blast to put everything together and especially to work inside the gallery for a while.

Lynn Susholtz in Art Produce Gallery

Two days ago, I went to see Lynn Susholtz, the director of Art Produce Gallery. I saw the show: it is a light and poetic installation by Stacie Birky Greene: "Junk Mail Takes Flight". One thousand origamis made of junk mail. I regret I could not come to the opening because I think it is important to support a gallery like Lynn's. Can I say that I would like to see more artists coming to the openings? "Junk Mail Takes Flight" runs until January 4.

I took a series of photos of Lynn for the project "Movers and Shakers" (San Diego Visual Art Network / SDVAN). I chose Lynn as the person I want to make a portrait of. The deadline to finish the piece is the beginning of March. I am happy to participate in the project. Lynn's dedication to the community, her energy and her personality inspire me and it is exciting to work on her portrait. I asked her to give me a text I could use in the painting. I usually incorporate one or more texts when I make a portrait of someone (it can be a song, a poem, a text from the news). But sometimes I don't.

"Junk Mail Takes Flight" by Stacie Birky Greene

On the way back home, I could not help looking at an unbelievable sky: a breathtaking, huge and changing "installation". I was mesmerized by the light, the quality of the shades underneath the clouds, the shapes. And the scale of the sight of course. How is it possible to compete with that?! Compete is not the right word, but that's what I was thinking, coming back from the gallery. The beautiful but delimited space of the gallery. The delimited space of each of my paintings. I love art, I need it, I need to make images, but I am always more touched by nature - one reason being the scale. I remember watching storms on the sea through the windows at my mom's in Marseille. I could stay there for a long time, staring.

I saw a lot of paintings of the sea, of the ocean, but even "The Wave" by Hokusai so beautifully made, does not really touch my soul. It makes my brain think - certainly too much: how technically impressive it is, how constructed, how clever... But a real storm is way beyond that.
The other day, I read something Bansky said: "The holy grail is to spend less time making the picture than it takes people to look at it." But I have almost no example of a piece of art I looked at more than I looked at some landscapes in the mountains and the deserts I enjoy. When I walk in landscapes, I am often so immersed in what I am seeing that I forgot about everything else. I am simply there. Totally.

(image: Friends of Water)

Each time I look at the sky I am thinking that, not far above it, it is black everywhere. We are floating in space, on our very small planet, very alone. The other day I was listening
Sally Ride, the first American woman to enter space, on KPBS-NPR. She was talking about the first sight of Earth she got through the window of the spaceship: our planet, beautiful, small, fragile, only protected by an ultra thin layer of atmosphere. Beyond it is the infinite space. An amazing vision for all the astronauts who get the chance to fly in space. Maybe all the humans should fly in the shuttle and get that vision. Who knows, maybe, like Sally, we would be changed forever. No more little (and big) wars, no more jealousy, envy, greediness, no more judgmental thoughts... It's not forbidden to dream.

I wrote a letter to Sally Ride,
she is professor of Physics here in UCSD. I hope to meet with her and may be she will accept that I make a portrait of her. We'll see...

Lately I am orienting my work towards more portraits. There is no profile, I sometimes know the person but sometimes I don't - like for Sally Ride. But they are certainly all inspiring. That's exciting, it is certainly more and more a very intimate work, where I definitely find myself.

Monday, December 15, 2008

It's raining in San Diego - at last!

I am happy that it is raining - at last - in San Diego but I had a lot of water in my garage where I work and where I have all my paintings. The other day, just before to leave to go see a show at my child's school, I had to rescue everything on the ground because the water level reached the door in a matter of minutes...
Everything is fine though! I really like when I rains here, it is so rare!

SOE holiday Party and Wig Contest

Hall of Champions in Balboa Park

It was very silly and we had fun! I forgot about the wig contest and when we arrived at the party almost everybody wore one! Before to go I decided not to take my camera which was really not the best idea because once I was there I wanted to take pictures all the time! Thanks to Kyle's iphone I have a few pictures anyway!

I like that lighted-white haired wig very much - an artist specialized in wigs for drag queens made it. Later in the night he won the contest.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

The Garage Gallery: "Lotion + Salve + Mud + Shit = Paint"

On the left paintings by Irene Abraham

Karen Bernauner, Larry Caveney and Bruce Mattis
behind: paintings by
Marie Prainito-Winczer.

Maura Vazakas, Larry Caveney, Effi Karakaidos,
me, Richard Gleaves and Irene Abraham.
Behind us paintings by Gary Byrd.

Larry and me - paintings by Irene Abraham.

Last Friday I went to the Garage Gallery for the opening of the exhibition: "Lotion + Salve + Mud + Shit = Paint". Surprisingly colorful and poetic, the exhibition has not much (nothing?) to do with what the title is about... A lot of people showed up and I had a good time.
I even bought a small painting by an artist I did not know before coming to the exhibition: Maria R. Prainito. I do not have a good picture of it but I will post one soon.
I like the energy Larry Caveney puts in The Garage. It looks to me like a courageous adventure, specially these days.

Paintings by: Gary Byrd, Connie Bostic, Irene Abraham, Marie Prainito-Winczer.

The Garage Gallery
4141 Alabama Street #4,
San Diego, CA 92104 US

Larry Caveney:

Friday, December 12, 2008

Art Tap-Out # 2 at Agitprop


A very interesting and entertaining Art Tap-Out took place at Agitprop in North Park last Saturday, december 6!

There were 5 rounds /5 artists:
Andy Hunter
Eric Wixon
Zac Monday
Jesse Mockrin
and the mysterious artist was David White. By the time it was his turn, the battery of my camera was empty so there is no video of the critic of his piece...

Critic: Kevin Freitas / Art As Authority.
Referee: David White - director of Agitprop.

Round 1: Andy Hunter (part 1)

Round 1: Andy Hunter (part 2)

Round 2: Andy Hunter (part 3)

Round 2: Eric Wixon (part 1)

Round 2: Eric Wixon (part 2)

Kevin Freitas with Zac Monday's piece

Round 3: Zac Monday (part 1)

Round 3: Zac Monday (part 2)

Kevin Freitas and Jesse Mockrin's piece

Round 4: Jesse Mockrin


Monday, December 8, 2008

Cyber Santa

Wishing, 2008, 6x6", mixed media

"Could we skype Santa instead?"
My son (7), while writing his list of toys for Christmas.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Today's notes + Into The Woods

Yesterday I participated in a field trip with my son's class. We went to see "Into The Woods", a strange mix of different favorite Grimm’s fairy tales, where the paths of Cinderella, Little Red, Rapunzel and Jack cross...

San Diego Center for Jewish Culture
4126 Executive Drive
La Jolla, CA 92037
(858) 457 3030