UNDERSTANDING David Altmejd !!!!!!

•August 16, 2015 • Leave a Comment

AD2014-001The-Flux-and-The-Puddled2_James_Ewing1-620x349
I just returned from the David Altmejd show at the Musee D’art Contemporain , it had been a long time time since I had visited my friends at the MAC. I guess in truth I was burnt out. I was tired of not getting it. My personal jealousy  of the success of contemporary artists was making it hard for me to see what was in front of me. I felt like a lost voyager being left in the past, struggling to understand the future that stood before me. David Altmejd’s work struck me as such. He was one of the those artists that had me wondering…. Thankfully this retrospective set things straight.

So I had seen Mr.Altmejds works many, many times before. I think I even talked to him once at the unveiling of his sculpture at the Beau Arts. Somehow when previously looking at his works I always felt slighted. It is the way I think most people feel when looking at “CONTEMPORAY ART”…. the funny thing about being duped is no one ever likes to admit it. SO there always seems to be a certain uncomfortable silence that goes along with the stunned looks as viewers leave a gallery. Like a conman telling you, you just got a good deal as he stole your last penny most people are unsure whether they just saw good art or whether  it good because it was in a “proper setting” and they were told so. Er maybe even worse I needed to afraid to admit  my intelligence just robbed at gun point. These are the type of questions that leave the viewer frustrated and dissapointed but to scared to admit to anyone they didn’t understand it. It was how I felt  when looking at the work of David Altmejd. Never certain whether his heavy handed, unfinished looking representations were part of his style with a deeper meaning then I could understand or whether he was just another undeveloped talent getting the push because of the lack of talent the “CONTEMPORAY ART WORLD” had to offer. This show proved me otherwise.

Now I will be the first to admit I rarely read the press package er listen to anything anyone is saying before I see a show (that is how they dupe you) I even rarely read the titles of the works…. (another way the dupe ya). I am a  go with my gut kindda guy and if a work speaks to me either singularly or as a collective at a show, it does, if it don’t, it don’t and I leave it it at that. All the intellectual diarrhea one can throw at a wall wont change that. I am also the biggest skeptic in the room always looking for the slight of hand. put that together and I guess I tend to miss somethings, That with my education in art also gives me a much different perspecitive than most other viewers, which there by gives me a much different view of most shows and most art.
AD2008-003-Le-Dentiste.p2
From the moment I stepped into this retrospective I some how knew it was different. Rather than foaming at the mouth and beast-fully devouring  the show as I tore through the works , I found myself stopping and listening to what THEY HAD TO SAY. Collectively they spoke to me in a different language then I had heard before. Mr. Altmejd’s style was ever present with guttural installations from a melange of mixed media including glass, crystal, wire, clay, human hair, mirrors, lighting and the environment in which they were set. Part sculptor, part environment giving the space the feeling of a B-grade sc-fi movie from the time when I was a kid.

This time when confronted with the works there was a certain completeness I hadn’t understood before. Maybe it had been my need for a certain completeness that had made me misunderstand the work before! Maybe it had been the fact I felt I had lived these creatures and environments 20 years earlier as as a child in such films and T.V. shows such as Logan’s Run, Buck Rogers, Krull and Battlestar Galactica. This time when viewing these works there was a certian finished asthetic I hadn’t understood before. maybe it was my need for “completely rendered object” that had made me miss the point before. Maybe that need was satisfied through fresh eyes. I think it was about half way through the show when I finally understood twhat Mr.Altmejd had been saying to me .The reoccurring theme throughout the works struck me like a hammer, the hammer used to smash mirrors throughout these instilations .

Mr. Admjed’s work was not about half composed grotesque creatures manufactured from disguarded objects left as waste with the intent of reconstructing the imaginary world and creatures from childhood movies. The undertone in this work was evolution, humans manipulation of the natural world, it’s effects on our envioroment and the eventual counter action from that.The creation, de-evolution and decomposition that will take place as a result.  Progress and nature’s reaction to it.. These works are artistic representations of the world that is rapidly changing around us. Subtle reference to the not to distant future. Representing the world as it changed natuirally through the law of natural selection and the changes that correspond with our influence and interference. (hence his reoccureing theme of the human hand through out many works.)
Natural objects are seen morphing into humanesque figures representing humanities state of being as it is. These humans often evolve further into part animal beings with humanesque characteristics( humans manipulation??? the enviorments response???)  This continual “evolution” then leads to its natural “Flux” of decomposition.  These beings are often seen through encasements or structures. These “structures” are are created from glass, wire, thread. At first the viewers see these simply as encasments for the works. Further insight leads one to believe that these are not meant as containers but actually are part of the works themselves. The encasement are man made with man man made objects. Often “organic parts or beings in these structures “come through” or break out of their cases. Seemly signifying the glass we are looking through are simply “barriers” through which we view our enviorment. Or how we are “connected” to the world in which we are surrounded by. It is as though we are slightly seperated, blinded by the surrounding of the world we created, Our vision obscured by the “unnatural” world which we have created as to the world in which we actually live.  thereby also effecting the “evolution” or the direction of both our speices and our world.

AD2014-026-Man-2v1_LB1-1000x1500

Through out these works animals we recognize as being extinct or close to exctinct are seen in various states of decomposition or maybe as partialy constructed. The idea of partial construction is actually an illusion as the animals are being deconstructed to a point of nothingness. Eluding to a future that is impacted both by natural as well as man made influences (hybride createures) The man made changes are often seen influenceing enviorments outside our awarness as mirrors are broken outside of the viewers direct vision yet still placed with in direct contection of the sculptures themselves.

AD2012-001-Le-spectre-et-la-main-view-17-Guy-LÔÇÖHeureux1
The subtle irony of all this, is that,we chase the idea of progression with the pretense or thought that progress will lead to a “better” place. Ironiclly as suggested in certian works progress has the power to take us to greater states. Consequently as we look at these works and  the world around us it can be clearly seen this state of progress has lead us slightly off track.  Instead of progress possible the majority has been lead to a cullture of consumption and status. Status through image and through consumption. Which there by further pulls us from our natural state and further effects the world we  in which we live.
There is a subtlte irony that underlines the work as a whole in the fact that all the works suggest man drive or desire for progression or “moving forward” and our manipulation to make it happen further pushes us to a state in which we have less control.  Much like the hurrieed lives we live, there is almost a race or quickness a to the works . We are sepperated friom the works/or reality through the looking glass so to speak. That seperation from our natural world creates the way we as a society views progress… instead of digging deep finding spiritual bliss, creating new ideas, or developing socially we get lost in the ideals of climbing the corperate ladder , Social status , MASS consumption and SELF IMPORTANCE. All at the expense of the world and IMPORTANT things around us. Further pulling us from our natural state increasing the speed in which we decimate our natural earth . Thereby increasing our need to cling to the society and technology we have created around us.
AD2011-039-The-Islandv3_Brant_JE
So coming around  full circle Mr.Altmejd ‘s work REALLY is just a subtle references to B grade Sci Fi Films we would have seen as kids ( I did my home work and he is about my age) Not your average shoot em up cowboys in space type of movie though. It ends up being the more deep underlying message those films were WARNING US ABOUT, the ones we may have missed while digging the cool space creatures all the F/X we could have only imagined previously. the messages we might not have gotten that none the less resonated deep within us. Those lesson that are now more prevallent then ever. As techknology has now advanced to the degree it is almost beyond us. The final lesson in this reterospective is not only about what it means to be human in our present time but also a deep deep lesson in installation and modern art. In that if you look at this work long enough one has to ask “What have I seen, What does it represent and how is it a reflection of US?”

ART, DRUGS AND CREATIVITY: A PERSONAL REFLECTION

•April 12, 2015 • Leave a Comment


****DISCLAIMER**** before I get into this subject I would like it clearly stated that I never experment with drugs until I had graduated high school and that anything they ever gave me, they took a great deal more. this was written as we currently live in a culture consistently promoting the notion of drugs being “no big deal”. Which I guess they are not if you can control them and use them recreationally. history consistently proves other wise. Maybe the machine works best all it’s sheep are lined up and ready for the slaughter?!? if you are 16 and getting high at 7:30 am or 4:20 gives you a sense of Identity drugs are a band aid for something bigger.


So through out history people have wondered what stimulates creativity, makes genius’ create great works of art and come up with “alternative” ideas to the norm. When looking back one can clearly see a link between drugs and creative thought. At least that is the one ideal a certain segment of society will point it’s figure towards. Wether it was the Beatles dropping LSD, Kurt Cobain shooting H, Hunter S Thompson doing all the above and adding a little extra, it seems there is a direct correlation between art and drugs. There are those who even state Plato took hallucinogenics while in the cave before or while writing the theories a great deal of modern society is based on. Ideas created through hallucinations of from shadows seen on the wall. That is a pretty heavy thought considering he is one  of the major philosophers of western civilization.
Now I am no history expert but I know my fair share of things about creativity, I also studied a great deal about drugs. If nothing else to justify taking them. Anybody who knows me would tell you I had a liking for a tab of this or a pill of that through out my days. So who better to cut it you straight then a guy who created original art, broke boundaries and rules of what creativity was to give it you. Yeah I know I am tooting my own horn the proof is in the pudding as they say cause I have yet to see any other freak who created cool drawings like this out of written word.

So to start off with one of the many, many reasons I got into the creative arts, was SEX, DRUGS and ROCK N ROLL. I was greatly influenced by rock from the 70’s and artists from the cafes of France at the beginning of the century. At just over 40 I had my share of it all. Looking back you realize you make some mistakes and seeing the lives you now influence makes you realize you have an obligation to others, especially in a world that sensationalize the shit outta everything to a youth oriented culture. I will be the first to state and it has taken years to accept this,  I came from a place of very low self esteem, I lacked self confidence and in truth at a very young age was told by the system I wouldn’t make much of myself. Which would not have mattered if I had not believed them, unfortunately I did.
So when it came time to make decisions in my life I wasn’t shooting to high. I was a skinny whimp, did not consider myself very smart, and wished for death long before life even started. What I did have was an explosive amount of energy and a creative mind. As such, as a young boy the heroes I looked too were often those who never fit in and had yet somehow managed to make it beyond the expectations of society. I found visual art at about 16 before that I was involved in the performance arts. I had a great deal of experience on stage playing in a band as well as acting. When I decided to make art my passion I chose it because it was something I believed in and thought it was something I could accomplish through my creativity. My heroes where drunks,drug addicts and underdogs.  As such that is who I unconsciously role modelled my life after. I got no regrets but say if I had realized far more people accomplished nothing while getting high and messed up then ever accomplished I may have chosen differently. I also didn’t expect to live this long.
I was pretty straight through out high school (and it is you kids that I am writing this for) I was always involved in extra curricular activities and really far to busy for alcohol and drugs ( I was also scared shitless cuz my father would kick my ass if I did not at least try and walk a straight line ) It wasn’t until my second er third  year of grade 12 that I started drinking and playing with the notation of drugs at which point I was 18 (the legal drinking age in Canada and yes you read that right 2nd er 3rd year of grade 12 hence the low self esteem). Part of it had to do with those I was looking up too as “heroes” at the time. For what ever reason those were the figures I could relate too. I guess they were the people I believed I could become and that stimulated my imagination. Really if you can’t succeed at being a starving artist there must be something really wrong with you. I was also set on living fast and dieing young, I think we all were.
it was about 1993 when my band broke up that i really started concentrating on art , believe it er not it was partly my “drug” use that created stress and lead to parting of ways, drug use in quotes because I dropped some Acid here and there and smoked a lot of pot which I would have never really considered drug use till recently. I  started smoking more dope and dropping more mushrooms and things. I never thought it was a big deal and as a matter of fact I considered it pART of the job description. I always had a “wild” personality and use that to enhance my “image” there wasn’t too much I wouldn’t try or wouldn’t do. I remember hearing the words “ARE you on DRUGS!!!” long before I ever took em. At the same it would be a little known secret that when all the partying stopped I went to work and was studying my practice…. The Practice of creating ART with a capital A. often holding 2 or three jobs while working on it. highagainlowres
portrait on LSD 2014
By the time time I got into college I was already creating ART(much of which was left through out time and space). If you had asked me at the time a HUGE PART OF THAT was the DRUGS. I loved to loose myself in images. Drugs were a way to separate myself from the real world. I often skipped class gettn high all night and making art. I didn’t wanna be part of the art scene I had already been there and done that. If you were to ask anyone from college they would most likely tell you I was a slacker, truth is I had little or no interest in being an academic. As a matter of fact I wanted be recognized as anything but. I went to college for my fathers sake and for the chance to concentrate on creation for a couple of years. I was hell bent on proving the rebel madman could out create the system. I did it but it mattered not, WHY cuz no one took me seriously. It was easy to right off my work because of my antics. I knew that place would be a small part of my history and I would continue on regardless. I did so for many years after, making great art and living what I believed was the artists life. It wasn’t till about 5 years ago I started questioning my way of doing things.
First off I had outlived the time in which I expected to be dead, secondly the world had changed a great deal, my model of artist was no longer accepted and thirdly it was the second time I had lived with out electricity in a few years (wether it was the drugs er dedication to the art I am not too sure  ). None the less I was pretty much third world poor in a first world country. My out dated my career mood was nowhere, nobody was taking my art seriously cause I was I “high” and really had no other skills people would recognize other then being a “fucked up” artist. Which would be okay If I was content with my life, but I wasn’t. So I started weighing in the factor that. Although art, drugs and creativity had served me on the one side on the other I was a miserable failure and hated my life. I had no choice but to change. Now some people can do whatever they want and not be judged because of my personality I found drugs gave the people the excuse to write off what I accomplished , which  means nothing unless they are the people you are hoping to make your living off .
The Paradox was something I couldn’t accept any more. I just wasn’t feeling good about myself cause I seemed to constantly be spinning my wheels. Something had to change. At which point I decided that regardless of the “benefits” I believed drugs had given my creative works, the trade off was no longer worth it. If that meant art had to be sacrificed so be it. So I started “cleaning up” my act.
So did drugs help me create art. The answer is YES , if they didn’t I couldn’t tell you other wise because that is the way I did it. Are there other ways I could have created a lifetime of art, YES. We will never know what could have been cause this is how I did things, right or wrong. You see thing I had failed to notice was there were creative minds that had created great things with out drugs. I had never thought about Henry Ford, Tesla or Leonardo.Creativity and drugs was the story I bought.

Sure it has long been proven that drugs and alcohol break the repression barrier between the conscious and subconscious mind ( see the work of Freud and Jung for further information) allowing us to access other parts of the mind. The part I neglected to study was that the subconscious mind can be accessed in many other ways as well.  Meditation, dreaming, hell even exercise takes us into other states of being. All of these allow us to access different parts of the human psyche. the choice we have as creators is how we choose to access them.

Stimulants is probably the easiest way to access these parts, which is also why most people natural drawn toward them. the truth is we don’t need them as a matter of fact often the use of stimulants just creates a crutch the person believes they need  in order to create. What we fail to to discuss is how those crutches and the use of them can end up effecting creators lives. Would Cobain and Hunter S have taken their lives if there was not some sort of negative aspect from drug use, of course there are all sorts of other factors, drugs didn’t help though
I have now been sober on and off for the past number of years, like I said before some people can control their substance abuse, I am one who can or chooses not too. I have now had a chance to see how drugs effects my creativity. Is it different? DEFINITELY . Would I have created the art I created had I not taken drugs? probably not. Am I still creative , yes it is just far more physical. That was one of the reasons I justified my drug use, maybe it has something to do with age. Are there a great number of artists I have seen their works change after they got off drugs. YES . Often the creativity becomes far less ethereal, could be age though. Truth is we will never know the answer. WHY because the people who created things while on drugs created them while on drugs and those who didn’t, well didn’t. is there a difference in what was created, YES. there is a difference in the people, the lives they led and their reaction to the lives they lived as well. really the choice is up to you. and that is what drugs and creativity is all about.CHOICE it comes town to the quality of life YOU WANT. primary_EB19860210PEOPLE362363802AR

Sure you can be Nikki Sixx and shoot heroine for 20+ years and play bass for one of the worlds most notorious rock n roll bands and get through to the other side. You could also be Sid Vicious and die at 21. Worse yet you could die an unknown junkie after 33 years of use and hard living which is probably the most common scenario.
I have known a great deal more people who never did a thing on drugs then ever accomplished anything with them. Hell you might even write some of the worlds most beautiful modern literature and live till the ripe old age of 83 a la William S Burroughs. None the less no one can be all that happy crumpled in the fetal position vomiting due to a dependency on their next fix.Hell it’s a crap shoot I guess. The question to ask is what you want out of your life, sure I never had a hard drug problem I can admit regular drug use greatly effected certain out comes in my life. (so did negative thinking and lack of self belief).
So you may ask would I do it again, the selfish part of me says YES, because that is the life I sought. Sex, Drugs and Rock N Roll and I had my share. Now that I know there were other options would I change that too. SURE, this life didn’t get me everything I wanted.  Like I said it is a crap shoot there is no guarantee things will work out as we hope er plan.  I guess what it really comes down to is life style and the style of life you want. Reality is, life is based on habits and a habit regardless of what it is can be a hard thing to break and life can be a hell of a lot longer journey (or shorter) than we think. So for what it’s worth choose wise. It is not all as pretty as it is written in the papers and history book.

Bout the Past 30 days in Art: The Psychology of BADASS ART

•March 29, 2015 • Leave a Comment


So here is the past 30 days of art. Lately I have found myself much happier at the gym then at the drawing desk. In general I love creating art. Making a living off it can has always been frustrating. Sometime it creates a massive conflict, which is what happened this month. So when I found myself injured with nothing else to do the other then draw it was about the last thing I wanted to do.
I am not the type of guy that believe you have to make art everyday from 9-5 in order to create great works of art. I definitely believe one must have great discipline at some point to develop the skills in order to create powerful works of art. I also believe that when one structures the practice it becomes obvious in the works created as a certain staleness starts to reside. you can produce 30 drawing over 30 days and every single one can be crap. Art is life and it is that simple. Sometimes you have to work through the hard parts and sometimes you just have to step away and let things “stew” . Sometimes it can take a good ten years for that stew to cook that is just reality.
I made art through out the month, I also chose to not make art at times when I could have. Does that take away merit from the works I have already created. Some seem to think so. They are probably unaware that Leonardo was considered unsystematic disorganized and a total slacker because of his varied interests.
Making art aint always easy especially when you have the pressures of running a business , creating a life, promoting the works you create and creating works that can be created by no other person other than you. So whats the answer????
Remember the game is long , things will get done, even if you spend a month er two napping….
Prints and originals available at Saatchi Art

Bout the Past 30 Days In Art: LIKE IT OR LOVE IT: A BAD MONTH IN ART : FEBRUARY

•March 3, 2015 • Leave a Comment


So this here is the past 30 days in Art. T’was a long month in art for a number of reasons. It is the end of winter , my mind was on other things and I have been pushing my practice by working on weak point training. AS artists we love to share our success, and hide our failures, it his human nature especially in a practice so based around ego, at least mine is ;p. So this month instead of hiding the bad and ugly I thought I would share it with the good . I Had along month for a number of reasons I hit a plateau in mind training and no matter how hard I fought I found negative thoughts creeping back . Theses days I find I keep myself busy not happy. I am busy all the time working. No social life no friends no fun.
This month I found it effected my work. A huge part of it is because I found out a large part of my legacy was lost, about 10 years worth of art. AS such work seemed pretty useless. Mostly the self talk I was using was pretty negative, while creating which is why I was less hesitant to create and happier in the gym then at my drawing desk. Most of yous could never believe the dark dark places I been with art. It happens when you give up everything for something you believed. This month it effected the work a great deal.
Truth is now days I would rather be anywhere else in the world then my drawing desk. I keep pushing through because just now am I gaining any recognition for my practice and the influential people I have just met have no clue about my art before so I am back at square one .As this could be the pay day for me and my kid, which is all I want I push through while looking for other options. Do I consider myself an artist anymore no not really. I do want recognition for the 20 years I was. I want my pay check and want to find myself somewhere far away from this room on a dance floor or a beach.
A ten year break should suffice and I will get back to er when I am willing to slow down a little. Fer right now I seem to be caught between a rock and hard place and work is the only solution. I want my fight er a part in a movie…. the last thing I wanna do is draw, seems to be the only option though
All that said you better believe I wasn’t too happy to be “stuck” in the studio. I really really appreciate the support I am suddenly finding, but really would rather be a hundred other place.Almost feels like there is a gun to my head!!! I wish it was saying dance er die instead of draw or die.
Here is a Februaries collections of work that was acquired by a private collector.

FullSizeRender 2

you can find my work at Saatchi Art

The Art Cave

•March 2, 2015 • Leave a Comment

WELCOME TO MY ART CAVE!!!! Here is a quick video of the works I have managed to keep over the past 14 years of my practice. Along time ago I realized that art was a long term investment and started saving significant works so as they could be passed to down to my daughter when she was older or sold at a later date when my art might be appreciated a little more. at one point I started renting a storage space in order to ensure the work was protected. It ended up serving a double purpose as not only did I find a safe place to store work, it also cleared up studio space allowing for more work to be produced. It is also relatively inexpensive which then in turn also saves on the expense of a “real” studio space. As it is insured I know the work is pretty safe.
Here is a video with some brief description of what lies with in. the video will have to be reshot at some point as it was the first time I had stepped into the art cave in months and therefore wasn’t well prepared, I also hit stop at one point with realizing my error. None the less here is a brief walk through of a small portion of my legacy I have managed to hold on to over the past number of years.
Some of these works are now available on my page at Saatchi Art

AN OPEN LETTER FROM THE ARTIST TO CHILDREN

•February 25, 2015 • Leave a Comment

powerwrtnHEY KIDS,
I noticed a lot of of you are actual KIDS and wanted to say TNX , cause it is YOU who inspire me. Adults SUCK as they are boring and dumb ,even the cool ones. I know you can’t stop from turning into one, you can control the type you turn into….
Who you are NOW is the ESSENCE of who you CAN become in the FUTURE! All that stuff telling you to be someone else is LIES. That includes videos , movies , television, alcohol, drugs, tattoos ect. Doesn’t mean you can not appreciate them or be inspired by them.
BE YOURSELF. You are the most powerful, imaginative and capable being on this earth. And yes I mean YOU, the one reading this.
The truth most adults never admit to themselves or anyone else is they lost themselves a long time ago and are constantly looking for ways to cover it up. To do so would require admitting they made a mistake. (And that even includes your mom, cause she may have stopped dreaming and working on those dreams after she had a baby)
Truth is you have to work at being yourself , you have to fight to always be yourself because most of the time people will want you to be what they want and do what ever it is possible to make that happen.
FIGHT THEM TO THE DEATH and BE YOU!!!!!!!!

Confession from an adult to children who was once lost but now found again after many many years.
Richard John Rossetto​
Ps (it is okay to believe in God , but the God you KNOW is true. Not the one ppl are always talking about)

The Original 5 Automatic Word Drawings

•February 19, 2015 • Leave a Comment
Automatic Drawing

Automatic Drawing

Here are the original five word drawing as I recall creating them. The idea behind these works were first conceived in 2000 when I played with written word on a line drawing. At the time I kept a stream of conscious written journal and sketchbooks for ink drawing . Figuring out that doing both took a great deal of time I decide to combine both efforts as a time saving idea. It is also seemed the best way for a VISUAL ARTIST to keep written account of his life. So in 2002 I started concentrating on the idea of creating images with word. it took till 2007 of the idea to come to fruition. Here are the first works created all but one are owned in private collections held by people other than the artist.
The first work created as in order of appearance in this blog were “Evolution of Being“, “And Darkness Fell Upon Us All“, “Sad Wings of Destiny“, “And Darkness Rained”  and finally “As I Walk Through The Valley of the Shadow of Death“.
These five works were completed almost simultaneously  the only difference being their completion time. To me the speak of human relations and the struggles humanity have faced through out history.

And Darkness Fell Upon Us All

And Darkness Fell Upon Us All

Sad Wings of Destiny

Sad Wings of Destiny

I had created great works of art before these works here spoke to me on a different level as the told me I had come into my own as a creator. I have given up on art many times as my creations have never seemed to be accepted enough to create a even the most basic of living. Art is a deep and dark mistress and always calls me back. As much as I choose her she chose me. these works are her calling me from the darkness.

As Darkness Rained

As Darkness Rained

As I Walk Through the Valley of Shadow and Death

As I Walk Through the Valley of Shadow and Death

here is video of continuos line drawing all that have but returned to the darkness from which they came as many of the people who own them simply disappeared. whether the works remain intact is unknown. (images start at the 2:43 mark if you don’t feel like sitting through the description of who works were created as the sync is off)

ORIGINALS & DIGITAL PRINTS AVALIABLE at SAATCHI ART

 
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,319 other followers