Friday, October 29, 2010


The anatomical skull, enclosing an animal(s) that represents our primitive drives and psychological states, is still of great interest to me. I've done a lot of reflecting on what drives human behavior and desires. I could not help but also do some self-evaluation on my own behavior, desires and mental state.

The next one I want to explore is rage/aggression. It's that feeling where you go into a rage and you don't even understand where it comes from and you feel like smashing something or someone. It is the "fight" from the term "fight or flight" which is almost instinctual. I used to get into rages much more frequently when I was younger. I can understand how it leads to aggression and violence; fortunately I tend to take out my anger on inanimate objects. I've actually gone into such a state of anger that I had the urge to attack a piece of my own art and destroy it. I've done crazy things like topple tables over and fling things across a room. I've done insane things like getting behind the wheel of my car and driving in a rage at 90 mph on a Denver freeway. I don't fully understand how I could allow myself to get into such a mental state and how it got so out of control. (Part of it was being young and stupid. Age has definitely mellowed me out.)

There is a level of rage and aggression that the upper cortex of the brain can't always control. When a human is in this state of rage, we act out like our nearest relative, Pan troglodytes, the chimpanzee. The painting will incorporate flayed chimps battling inside a skull. The skull will be shattered as if struck with a heavy blow. I may have chimp clutching a large rock as a weapon. The musculature of the flayed chimp is so similar to human anatomy - in fact, when I paint chimp musculature, I use human anatomy models for a reference especially for the arms and legs. The line between human/animal can be very blurred.

Above are the very rough small sketches for the concept.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Open Studios and Rambling about Insomnia

I've been trying to work diligently and consistently to get several new paintings done. As usual, i underestimated the amount of time these skeletons take. I'm finishing out the BDSM skeleton series. Above is the skeleton dominaitrix. She's almost done, just needs a little highlights on the boots and the leather of the flogger painted in. BTW, the walls are not vertically challenged - the photo was taken off kilter. Two others are in various stages of development. One of those two will probably be fairly far along, and will be placed on the easel.

I had some beautiful giclee prints made at Electric Works here in San Francisco. I'll have these available at OS, but most likely the major selling effort on these will be through Bert Green in LA. These are very limited editions, 25 -30 per image - including four of the Four Squared hybrid critters, and three of dancing conjoined twins.

On Friday, I'll probably be frantically hanging paintings, trying to tidy up all the clutter (which will be impossible, so visitors will just have to ignore it), and helping South Beach Artists get set up for our guests.

The Mission District Open Studios took place last weekend, so I took a little time to check out the Blue Studios and Red Brick Studios. At Red Brick - visited with Anna Efanova, who had some lovely whimsical animals in painting and sculpture. Also went over to see Hadley Northrup (an artist-neighbor of mine at the old Belcher Studios site) at her studio at Workspace ltd. She had some very nice pieces, including a beautiful painting of a lit alterpiece that fairly glowed.

I went over to Church Street Cafe afterwards, did a little sketching, and developed some ideas for more anatomical paintings. All the art and sketching got me so wired up, my brain was still cranking at 2 in the morning, and I had a very difficult time getting to sleep. I've always had problems with insomnia - it's like my mind just fires up late at night. When I was a kid I used to lay awake listening for planes - a sure sign of impending nuclear attack.

I think if I had a live work art studio, I would do all my painting between 10 pm and 3 am.