July 19, 2017

New EL MAC prints: 'Winter in America'

New print release this Thursday, July 20th. Purchase info will be posted at a random time at http://elmac.net

Print details:
Winter in America
Signed, titled, and numbered by the artist.
Hand-pulled serigraph by master printer Tony Clough at Serio Press in Pasadena, California. Printed in two colors, the linework was printed in four layers to create a slight embossed effect.
Printed on acid-free, 100% cotton, 330 gsm, Italian Magnani Revere paper with one natural deckled edge along the bottom of the print.
18.25in x 20.25in paper size
(16.25in x 17in printed area)

Winter in America:
edition of 48, dark red on bright red/vermilion

Winter in America II:
edition of 8, dark blue on bright red/vermilion

Winter in America III:
edition of 8, black on cobalt blue

Artist's statement about the work:
'It seems that much of this country, if not the world, has been experiencing a growing climate of fear and confusion. Daily tragedies overwhelm and desensitize as we grow accustomed to hearing constant reports of killings by terrorists, criminals, and police. We face obscene and ever-worsening economic inequality alongside countless social and environmental problems. A dismal and surreal political atmosphere have contributed to a collective feeling of frustration and powerlessness.
I started working on this portrait of a woman in despair late last year as a response. This piece is also an homage to the great German social realist Käthe Kollwitz, who was known for her melancholy drawings and prints depicting the struggles and suffering of the working class from poverty and war. She was born 150 years ago in July of 1867, and her work is still just as powerful and relevant today. The figure was modeled after my wife's grandmother, and like most of my paintings it was not intended as a specific portrait of just one person but rather a representation of many people. It is a simple, direct expression of grief and fatigue in troubled times.'

"It is mid-winter in America; a man-made season of shattered dreams and shocked citizens, fumbling and frustrated beneath the crush of greed of corporate monsters and economic manipulators gone wild (...)
We must all do what we can for each other to weather this blizzard. Now more than ever all the family must be together; to comfort, to protect, to guide, to survive..."
-Gil Scott-Heron (1975)

January 6, 2017

"La Mère Créatrice/The Mother Creator" : New mural for the City of Montreal

This is my most recent mural for the great city of Montreal. It is a symbolist homage to feminine beauty and creative force as represented by a figure that can be seen as a sort of fertility goddess wielding a glowing paintbrush, emanating light amongst verdant, leafy growth. As with most of my work this mural was a devotional labor of love and neurotic perfectionism.
While procreativity is generally seen as a feminine characteristic, creativity is often perceived as intrinsically masculine, and one doesn't need to be an art historian to recognize male domination of the visual arts throughout history. However, thanks to the early influence of my exceptionally talented and inspirational artist mother, I've always taken for granted the tremendous dual capacity in women for both creativity and maternity. Thus, from my own perspective, woman is truly the greatest creator of all and this piece speaks to that.

This project was initiated by Artgang Galerie and made possible by the public art program of the Ville de Montréal, l'Arrondissement Rosemont-La-Petite-Patrie, la Société de Développement Commercial de la Plaza St-Hubert, and Le Medley Simple Malt. Many thanks to my good friend Louis of Artgang Galerie for a decade so far of friendship and support. Thanks to Erica for modeling. Additional thanks to Valérie, Kwest, Louis-V, and all the locals who offered so much positive feedback and encouragement. Additional thanks to poutine for sustaining me on a few long cold nights..

Short video below by Eric Heights.
Music: 'Pacification' by La Nouvelle Frontière, recorded in Montreal in 1970

November 30, 2016

New EL MAC Prints: 'Peyote Blossoms'

New prints from Santo Press in Scottsdale, Arizona:
Peyote Blossoms is a six-color relief print from photopolymer plate and multi-block linocut. Produced in an edition of 45, it is printed on 17.5" x 13.5" Arches Johannot 240 gsm paper. Signed, titled, and numbered by the artist. $300 with free domestic shipping.

Peyote Blossoms II is a single color relief print from photopolymer plate. Produced in an edition of 15, it is printed in dark black-brown on 16.5" x 13.5" Hahnemuhle Copperplate warm white 300 gsm paper. Signed, titled, and numbered by the artist. $150 with free domestic shipping.

Both editions are printed on soft papers to create a heavy embossing effect.

One print per customer. First come, first served.
Call or email to place order: (480)242-1592 brent@santopress.com

October 26, 2016

"Native Son (This Saint Floyd)" : Mural for the Manitou Art Center, Colorado

This is a mural I painted over the Summer, commissioned for The Manitou Art Center (The MAC) in Manitou Springs, Colorado. The mural is a collaboration with my good friend FUSE, a Los Angeles graffiti veteran who began painting in the 1980s with AWR crew before relocating to Colorado in the 90s. 
The mural is based on my photos of legendary and reclusive local artist Floyd Tunson (born 1947), who had a retrospective at the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center in 2013, a couple years before my own exhibition there last year. Tunson is a Colorado native who has been creating art in his Manitou Springs studio for over 30 years. It was a pleasure getting to know him, and I would consider him one of the most inspiring and interesting people I've met. I recognize in him a deep love for creation, experimentation, and a certain shared philosophy that art and life are inseparable.

Many thanks to FUSE & the Masters Family, Floyd & Flo, The Manitou Art Center, Natalie Johnson, Joy Armstrong, Don Goede and all the kind people of Colorado Springs & Manitou Springs who supported with such tremendous positivity. This was one of the most beautiful and welcoming places I've painted.
Thanks as well to the Bee Vradenburg Foundation, Gazette Charities, the City of Manitou Springs, Ben Harvey Financial Group, Manitou Springs Real Estate, Adventures Out West, City Paint, & SunWater Spa

August 4, 2016

"Spark of Divinity": New mural in Sedona for Whole Foods

This is a mural I just recently painted in Sedona, Arizona, commissioned by Whole Foods for their store there. The embracing figures are based on my mother-in-law and her granddaughter. I hope this mural might convey some sense of the positive influence of familial love and joy, as I've seen the impact of these on my mother-in-law while she has been going through cancer treatment the last few years. The mural is also a sort of southwestern homage to one of my favorite artists, the great Austrian symbolist painter Gustav Klimt. The mural is based on a section of Klimt's Beethoven Frieze, from 1902, which was inspired by a Beethoven symphony from 1824, which was inspired by a Friedrich Schiller poem from 1785. That poem, the infamous 'Ode To Joy', begins with the line: 'Joy, beautiful spark of divinity...'

Thanks to my good friend and Arizona aerosol pioneer Mando Rascón for his help with the background designs.
Thanks to Whole Foods and Carlo Carbajal for making such a cool public art project possible.
Thanks to Saichai, Madeleine, Kim, Jorge Bracamonte, Peter Votichenko & the Votichenko family, Marisa Aragon, Fernando Ramos, Corey @ACE, Tamaliza, the good people of Sedona, and anyone else that provided encouragement or support.

June 30, 2016

EL MAC in Morocco

I spent a couple weeks in Morocco recently to paint some small murals as part of the Igloo Hong project (along with an all star team of artists including David Choe, Andrew Hem, Aaron Horkey, Mars 1, Esao Andrews, & DVS1)

The first mural, painted in Agdz (southeastern Morocco), is outside the Casbah des Arts, and is a portrait of Mohamed Ait El Caid ( محمد ايت القيد ). He is a 92 year old man who lives next door to the mural. He is a respected local figure, who once had the first radio in Agdz and would also receive foreign newspapers so he could share the news with local residents. I was impressed with his willingness to be photographed and painted by a strange foreigner 
The second mural, also in Agdz, is based on images of my cat, and is painted on a centuries-old mudbrick kasbah. One can clearly see a great appreciation for cats throughout Morocco. There is a story about the Prophet Muhammad having such affection for cats that he once cut off the sleeve of his robe so as to not disturb his cat, Muezza, who was sleeping on it. Agdz also means 'resting place', so painting a sleeping cat seemed appropriate.
The third wall is further east in Merzouga, at the edge of the Sahara, near the border with Algeria. Andrew Hem painted the background designs for this one. It is based on my photos of Hssain Ahnana ( حساين اهنانا ) who comes from a lineage of Sahrawi nomads and now owns the camping ground (Secret du Sahara) where the mural was painted. He is painted wearing his 'cheche', which is a traditional indigo-dyed head wrap worn by indigenous North African Amazigh/Tuareg/Berber people for protection from the harsh sun and sand. The Tuareg have been known as the 'blue men of the desert' for this. 
Having grown up primarily in another desert (Sonoran) on the other side of the planet, it was fascinating to come to the Saharan Desert and see some of the environmental and cultural parallels, along with the local adaptations for desert life. I hope to make it back someday.

Many thanks to the good people of Morocco, the David Young Choe Foundation + the Igloo Hong team: Dave, Matt, Jy-Ah, Karim, Jason, Paco, Steve, Soufian, and everyone/anyone else that helped out. 

Photos by me except:
2,10-12 by Matt Revelli
6,16 by Dave Choe
9 by Jy-Ah Min
13,15,21 by Paco Raterta