His current show “Walk-Ins Welcome” at Marlborough (Broome St.), NYC opened last Friday featuring: Nina Beier, A.K. Burns and Katherine Hubbard, Barb Choit, Juan Downey, Jonah Freeman and Justin Lowe, Donald Judd, Leigh Ledare, Tony Matelli, John Miller and Takuji Kogo, Matthew Palladino, David Scanavino, Josh Tonsfeldt, Devin Troy Strother, Jonas Wood, and Eric Yahnker.
More info/press release here.
On a recent trip to Los Angeles I had the pleasure of heading to Santa Ana and stopping by the opening of Karen Hsiao and Dan Quintana's collaborative show entitled "Perverse Foil". The opening, which was Saturday August 2nd, even included an in person photo session with Hsiao and model Stephanie Inagaki, who has appeared in her work repeatedly over the years.
The work is a collaborative and explorative effort into merging their worlds where Hsiao, a professional photographer, exhibits original paintings and drawings with Quintana, who has created works based on her photographs. They claim that their collaboration was a "happy accident" due to being long time fans of one another's work, with roots in that conversation going back to 2009. Eery, ethereal, surreal, steeped in romanticism, sensual, powerful yet subtle, erotic, and masterfully executed, I am glad I happened to be in town to have attended. I look forward to seeing what's next, collaboratively and individually. The show runs through August 31st.
Photos and Text by John Felix Arnold III
"CASSETTE WISDOM" is one of the 30 new drawings which will be on display alongside 70 classic and most memorable Jeremy Fish drawings done over the last 2 decades. It's going to be an epic show!
If you're in San Francisco, stop in and view. Hours: Wed thru Sat (1-6pm) - 2277 Mission St. @19th
With Jim Houser's upcoming solo show "NIGHT GOT QUIET - NOT QUITE LIGHT" at FFDG opening on Friday, July 11th, we thought we should catch up with him and provide a little insight into his thinking and what his newest works are all about.
Jim Houser was born in 1973 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the city where he currently resides. He is a self-taught artist and an honorary member of the Philly-based artist collective Space1026. His work explores the cadence of speech, science and science fiction, sickness and disease, plants and animals, time travel, ghosts , the art of children and the gravity of fatherhood, codes and code breaking, music and music making.
preview inquiries, email: info(at)ffdg.net
I love your color palette. How did you get to your colors? Do they hold any significant meaning to you or just feel/ look right to you or what?
I always say the two main things I draw from are blood and the sea. There are a lot of allusions and direct references to both in my work. Red and blue in opposition.
As far as how I arrived at the palette, it just sort of evolved that way. I used to use a lot more color, but I began to want every painting to harmonize when I installed. So, I began paring things down over the years to where I am at now. My black has red in it, my white has blue in it.
What's new in Philadelphia these days?
Not a whole lot. It's a pretty static place. I love it for that reason. Things that move too fast or change too quickly can upset me. I like routine. It’s getting insufferably hot already, in only June… Does that count?
How has having a son affected your work?
It does on a few levels. I'm home with him and my wife works 12 hour shifts as a ICU nurse. So the actual amount of time I can spend working can be a struggle. Instead of waiting to noodle around when I feel like it, I had to learn to focus during the hours my limited schedule permits. Not a whole lot of 11- 3 am painting going on anymore. It’s hard for me to split my focus between Seamus and getting work done. So I tend to not even try while we are together. We do what he wants to.
It’s also sparked me to become a bit more active in pursuing opportunities. I've always been pretty passive (and pretty lucky) when it comes to showing / selling work, but your perspective changes when there's this little guy that needs food and clothes and school and all.
Finally, things enter my painting vocabulary very slowly, a lot of themes are considered carefully. Seamus has worked his way in there, my hopes and fears for him. We've done some collaborative work too.
I noticed in a lot of intros to other interviews with you, self-taught artist is always listed. Do you think someone can be taught to be an artist?
Yes, I definitely do. That's really just art-code for "didn't attend art school “. Tons of people have taught me numberless things. Maybe the compulsion can’t be taught, how to want do it, but the skills can be.
I could teach someone to paint like me. I could teach them the 5 or 6 things I know, but I couldn't teach them to feel like a walking piece of garbage if they go for too long without making a thing.
How much commercial work do you get? What, to you, are the differences from commercial work to your own fine art?
It comes and it goes. I enjoy it, but to be honest I am probably a headache to deal with. I don't take art direction that well. I'm trying to be better in my attitude and to think of it as a challenge to make both myself and a stranger happy.
The two are very different though. It's impossible to put the same type of emotional energy into a commercial job that I put into painting. A lot of jobs come up that want to use the text heavy, patch work type of painting i'm known for, and it never works. There is just too much personal stuff that goes into making those.
What are some of the moments in your career that you're most proud of?
Being included in the EAST MEETS WEST show at the Philly ICA; to show alongside Chris Johanson and Margaret Kilgallen was a blessing. Having the Philadelphia Academy of Fine Art acquire one of my paintings, and then seeing it hang next to an Andy Warhol was very cool. All the opportunities to travel, Sydney, Paris, Milan. I'm proud of all of it.
It's difficult for me say "I did this, and I did that" without feeling like it's bragging, but I am proud of my self when I think about the people I’ve gotten to meet and places I’ve gotten to go. The thousands of paintings that I have made.
Your last musical album was brilliant (view in ITunes). Are you still playing music? Any chance for a new release?
Yes I still make music, and if someone would like to put it out on record then just holler. I was putting a bunch of stuff on the internet for a bit, but I go through phases where it’s all painting or all music making. The last six months or so has been all painting. I'm glad you liked the record, thanks.
What sorts of things are you looking forward to?
My solo show at FFDG. I haven't been to SF in several years. After that, enjoying the summer with my wife and son, Jessica and Seamus. Going to nantucket, maybe making more music. I’ve been skateboarding more and more lately and it's beginning to not feel like I am dying afterwards, so that's a positive.