Jul 29, 2013

Trip down Tooksahn way (Arizona Biennial 2013)

I am an Arizona native. Call me a "Zonie" and I will slowly take my white glove off of my right hand and thwack you with it then swish my cape at you as I walk away. 

I moved to LA back in '03 to live and play at the beach. As far as my art career goes people tell me that I should have stayed in Phoenix for just a little while longer. I was getting studio visits and write ups, and I got into the AZ Biennial 2003 right before I left. For me, at that time adventure came first, and art was one aspect of my busy life.

Living in LA,  I focused mostly on making money as a designer so I could afford rent at the beach, traveling, and eating at nice restaurants and enjoying everything I could squeeze out of the California Coast.  I have never stopped painting and showing, but I have yet to shed my designer skin and become a full time artist. The issue is that I don't want to lose my lifestyle and I have never been willing to compromise the integrity of my paintings by having to rely on them as "sellable". 

In my case having a jobby job has been good for my art. I paint whatever I want and I can change my style and make art that challenges me. If I had to paint the same shit for the rest of my life because it sells I would go nuts. I still can't imagine what it must be like for someone like Axl Rose to have to sing Welcome to the jungle—over and over. Eee-Yah! To each his own, and if you find your life's work painting "zips" like Barnett Newman, you are challenged by it, and it shows in the work, then more power to ya! 

In 2008 (when me and half of the folks working in museums got "laid off") I became a freelance designer making more money working part time. Having more time to paint I found my "zip" and I now have a body of work that I feel is something I can work on for a long time. I've recently decided to put the work and myself out there 100% and if I can design less and paint even more I will. Fortunately my recent paintings and sculptures are beginning to appeal to people—and I am able to show and sell them without feeling like I am compromising the purity of my process. It is a great feeling and I have much gratitude every time I go into the "studio". 

It is true, there is a market for everything, so you may as well do what you love.

...and then Gateway Ranch happened last December and here I am back in AZ.

Living in LA was good for my art. You'd think I would have learned. I was showing and getting a few write ups and yeah in terms of my "art career" I probably should have stayed there a little longer too. I go where my heart (and goat) tell me to go.

I see every moment as having meaning and certain things that happen remind me that I am on the right path. So when I applied for the AZ Biennial 2013 and got accepted I felt like I picked up right where I left off in AZ. A book end so to speak. My Arizona pals haven't forgotten about me and there were never any hard feelings for taking off to LA. My work has been accepted and embraced here and I have been feeling the AZ love (as Fausto would say). Shortly after I moved to The Ranch I was in a group show at monOrchid in Phoenix and got interviewed in an article for the AZ Republic. I have a Solo show at Eye Lounge in a couple of weeks and I just found out I have a solo show in October 2014 at monOrchid. I just want to say THANKS to all of you that are following what I'm doing and for your love and support!

The Tucson Museum of Art.

I'm a sentimental cat. I found the shirt I'm wearing in this picture in a pile of the previous renters junk at my first real studio in Phoenix called The Lodge. ©Jana Davis

Gallery shot of the exhibition. ©Fausto Fernandez
Fausto asked me if I was going to talk about my painting. I said, "I don't thinks so. I'm kind of buzzed." He said,  "Just say anything, no one will remember it. They just need to see your face." ©Jana Davis

Pink Glandscape oil on canvas ©Bill Dambrova
The body believes in images series: My art celebrates the miraculous events that take place within our bodies and our minds.

Fausto and I are close pals and we both lived in the Lodge back when that area was a crack neighborhood. He moved out to LA and we got to hang and go to art shows for several months before I moved back to AZ. He's been in the AZ biennial 4 or 5 times since I left AZ. This is the first one we've been in together. His hand is trembling because he's about to smack my finger off of his painting. ©Jana Davis
Fausto Fernandez Love is what you make it out to be Mixed media collage on canvas. ©Fausto Fernandez

Fausto, Tucson Art Museum curator Julie Sasse and myself. ©Jana Davis

I was excited to see that the guest curator RĂ©ne Paul Barilleaux from the McNay Art Museum in San Antonio selected several pieces that were gutty or "Gutsy" as this writer mentions. 

Jesse Berlin Untitled Deer Study cold cast bronze and polyurethane ©Jana Davis

My new Tucson artist pal Daniel Martin Diaz Self aware system graphite and chalk on paper.

Devin Kelly Formulating Environments oil on canvas

Monica Aissa Martinez Male-back body casein, gouache, gesso and acrylic on arches buff.

Michael Marlowe Falling to pieces oil on canvas

Studio visit: Michael Marlowe

Since I'm up in Northern AZ, Julie (curator at TMA) suggested I contact another artist to see if I could get my painting a ride in his truck. I was excited to find out that it was Michael. I saw his work on a flyer a while back and was attracted to his imagery for obvious reasons. I love the organic gutty sexual shapes, his baroque(ish) style and the scale of his work. These are paintings I look at and think, "Damn I wish I'd thought of that!". So I made sure I got to deliver my painting personally so I could see his work. 

Great guy! We talked for quite a while. I asked him where he shows in Phoenix since I hadn't seen his work around. To paraphrase he said something to the effect of "My current subject matter is't exactly sellable. I'm also a designer." I found another artist more concerned about making good art without compromise!!!  I can't wait to get to know him better.

I forgot how long he said this was, but he is working on it in sections. It rolls up like a scroll and he has never seen the entire piece at once.

Works on paper.

He mentioned wanting to make large scale "balloons" based on some of these drawings.
Collin Chillag UAMA University of Arizona Museum of Art in Tucson.

Our friend Collin Chillag has 4 paintings in a group show at the UAMA museum. These were the ones he was working on when I went to visit his studio back in May. See blog post Leave no Trace My Ass. From left to right Zach, Fausto, Jana, Vaiden, and Joe taking them in.
The Altarpiece of Ciudad Rodrigo: A permanent exhibition at UAMA
These are works from 15th century Spain from the workshop of Fernando Gallego I'm too lazy to copy the original titles so I gave them my own... 

Gallery entrance.

Hey! Where's everybody going?

Use the force Jesus.

Shh!! I hear something over there.

Wardrobe malfunction Jesus.

Reservoir Dogs Jesus. To the music of Steelers Wheel Stuck in the middle with you. Yes, Jesus is feeding that guys his own ear.

Baby Jesus never forgets a face.

Nothing up my sleeve.

 Jheri Curl Jesus. It looks like he is about to dip his fingers in.

Hey boys, Super Jesus is here.

Plastic Jesus.

Simmah down now.

Larry, Moe, and Jesus.

Djembe Djesus.

No no. Don't get up.
Shameless Advertisement: Its my blog and I can do what I want

Work in progress for my solo show at Eye Lounge August 16th.
Here is the link to the fb event page.

Sayonara Goatpals. Bill out...

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