Friday, 14 June 2013 09:00 Written by Kristin Bauer
These days New York-native multimedia artist, Michael Alan, has been incredibly active artistically in the big city. Between staging hours-long Living Installations at the New Museum and other DIY spaces, exhibiting his drawings and paintings in group exhibitions and hosting an unusual solo show in the home of his mother, Alan proves that there is no rest for the wicked. I caught up with him recently to hear the latest, the backstory, and what's next.
Lately you've been busy with a your Living Installations and exhibition. First can you talk a little bit about the exhibition you had at your parents' house? I'm intrigued by that.
Hm. Where to start on that one...
Where did the idea come from? It's a pretty unorthodox idea- does exhibiting in your parents' home speak to your work in some way?
You know, participating in art and signing on, doing all the steps, being in the scene and doing what you've got to do- you just constantly question is this exactly what I signed on for? Is this exactly why I'm an artist? I try to constantly do things that are the reasons I signed on. Like when I was younger, why I drew as a kid, why I made pranks and would be the class clown and draw in peoples' books, draw dicks on walls- you know, where that pure essence came from. I got pretty fucked up this year.
I broke my spine and got water in my brain. My mom lives in the city and I had to move my studio back in there and she's been sick, so we've been taking care of each other.
And with people coming to visit me to see how I'm doing and see my mom- slowly it kind of hit me, "why don't you just do a show here?"
I always try to do shows in strange or odd places along with the regular gallery format and all that. I just felt like it would be really honest. It's where I've spent a lot of time and its an extremely emotional space for me. The work I make is about emotion and letting people in so it really fits. My parents have been a huge support and I want to celebrate that. My mom has been a collaborator in my performances and she can't go to them anymore and go see the exhibitions. I got this success going on and want to bring it to her in her own home.
I'm curious about your mom as a collaborator. I know you've collaborated with a lot of different people, and it ranges from your folks to Kenny Sharf to Jello Biafra. Can you talk about how you go about choosing your collaborators, and possibly some of your favorite collaborations you have done?
Most of the collaborations are musical, or the Living Installations, which I think is more of an experience than a performance. I've learned to choose the people based on being drawn to them as a person, not so much to their art but their spirit. Real soul searching, proactive people. That's Kenny Sharf, I mean he's super, super, super alien-nice. I've never met anyone as nice as that guy. I don't want to work with people who are negative and down. I'm coming from the Fugazi scene, you know, the posi-punk scene- so negativity doesn't match. So I'm looking for people who are proactive in their life. Especially in collaboration, there's hiccups- and it's about getting through that hiccup. And that's how my mom is – I grew up collaborating with her as a kid. We made a children's book when I was younger, always doing artistic stuff. I would do studio visits with her when I was five.
You have a Living Installation coming up at the New Museum?
At New Museum there's a huge performance thing going on called UnTapped, and I'm doing my rendition- I guess it will be more of a solo version, it will be four hours with music made with people I've collaborated with. I haven't worked out entirely what I'll be doing.
There's a question that I get asked a lot, "How do you make those?" It often comes soon after something like, "Do you make those yourself?" I find myself trying to explain, but I'm sure I never communicate clearly what it is that I did to make the thing. So I'd like to show the way it's done with the help of a few photos. I'm not formally trained in making this kind of thing. I figured it out as I went along and learned a lot along the way. If you've got any questions or want to know more details, post them in the comments below. -Brendan Monroe
Skaters out there, been watching the 6th series of the Battle At The Berrics? For you older(ish) skaters out there, shit has gotten nutty hasn't it? If you're not sure what we're referring to, check Koston V. Shane O'Neill. Wowzas. Most of us would be lucky to land a kickflip following a nollie flip... or even doing a 360 flip. Anywho...
This year's trophy (as seen below) was created by Tokyo-based artist Haroshi who does incredible wood work (see here).
"Battle At The Berrics" is the most watched game of S.K.A.T.E in the world, with top pros battling head to head, working their way through the brackets to become the Battle At The Berrics champion. The winner walks away with this incredible trophy made by Japanese artist Haroshi, know for his intricate work using pieces of reclaimed skate decks.
Mexico City based Curiot, whose sold out solo show Age of Omuktlans ran last March at FFDG, just finished this great mural entitled "El Retorno de Akhankutli" in Mexico. He recently completed one in Berlin too which we'll be posting in the coming week. The guy is very very talented in our eyes. Click here to view more of his work.
Monday, 10 June 2013 13:31 Written by Rachel Ralph
Wendell McShine (lives in Mexico City, from Trinidad) opened his newest show, Raccoon's Law, at Fifty24SF on Saturday night. ARYZ was a tough act to follow, but McShine held his own in the space.
With a combination of a mural, a video, and both drawings and mixed-media works on paper, the diversity of this solo show was impressive. The Raccoon drawings were especially attractive as the way he executed them looked like they actually had fur coming off the page, and you can only imagine how soft it would be to touch. I was lucky to see his work in person through this show, and I hope to encounter more in the future.
Words & Photos: Rachel Ralph
Wednesday, 05 June 2013 13:00 Written by Van Edwards
Works by the artists from the epic Skull & Sword tattoo shop located here in San Francisco are showing works at FFDG. Stop in and view the show this week. Hours: Wed thru Sat (1-6pm). Below is a taste.
I got there the day after the tornado came through. It was like nothing I had ever seen before. My mind just could not grasp what my eyes were seeing. It was just too much to take in, too much to process. So, I did what comes naturally and took images. It sort of helped me separate from the chaos and helped me focus.
I was very sensitive in what I was shooting and the people in the frame. For the portraits I did, I would go up and talk with the families for a while and hear their story, which they were glad to tell. Then I asked permission to take some photos, in which all but 2 people said that they wouldn't mind at all. I wanted to show the devastation, but also the resilience of the people. I did hear some sad stories, but I was amazed to hear all of the miraculous stories. I constantly heard things like, "My family and I were in the hall with a mattress over us and when it was all over the only thing still standing was our hallway." and "my elderly grandmother just happened to be on the other side of town when the tornado demolished her home." It was an extremely sad sight to see, but to hear that only 24 people lost their lives in that town, truly is astonishing. Here is a little of what I saw and the amazing people I met.
I'm not sure how many people are lucky enough to have The San Francisco Giants 3 World Series trophies put on display at their work for the company's employees to enjoy during their lunch break, but that's what happened the other day at Deluxe. So great.
SF skateboarding icons Jake Phelps, Mickey Reyes, and Tommy Guerrero with the 3 SF Giants World Series Trophies
When works of art become commodities and nothing else, when every endeavor becomes “creative” and everybody “a creative,” then art sinks back to craft and artists back to artisans—a word that, in its adjectival form, at least, is newly popular again. Artisanal pickles, artisanal poems: what’s the difference, after all? So “art” itself may disappear: art as Art, that old high thing. Which—unless, like me, you think we need a vessel for our inner life—is nothing much to mourn.
Hard-working artisan, solitary genius, credentialed professional—the image of the artist has changed radically over the centuries. What if the latest model to emerge means the end of art as we have known it? --continue reading
"Six Degrees" opens tonight, Friday Jan 16th (7-10pm) at FFDG in San Francisco. ~Group show featuring: Brett Amory, John Felix Arnold III, Mario Ayala, Mariel Bayona, Ryan Beavers, Jud Bergeron, Chris Burch, Ryan De La Hoz, Martin Machado, Jess Mudgett, Meryl Pataky, Lucien Shapiro, Mike Shine, Minka Sicklinger, Nicomi Nix Turner, and Alex Ziv.
"[Satire] is important because it brings out the flaws we all have and throws them up on the screen of another person," said Turner. “How they react sort of shows how important that really is.” Later, he added, "Charlie took a hit for everybody." -read on
Jacob Magraw will be showing embroidery pieces on cloth along with painted, gouache works on paper --- Rachell Sumpter paints scenes of colored splendor dropped into scenes of desolate wilderness. ~show details
NYC --- A new graffiti abatement program put forth by the police commissioner has beat cops carrying cans of spray paint to fill in and cover graffiti artists work in an effort to clean up the city --> Many cops are thinking it's a waste of resources, but we're waiting to see someone make a project of it. Maybe instructions for the cops on where to fill-in?
The NYPD is arming its cops with cans of spray paint and giving them art-class-style lessons to tackle the scourge of urban graffiti, The Post has learned.
Shootings are on the rise across the city, but the directive from Police Headquarters is to hunt down street art and cover it with black, red and white spray paint, sources said... READ ON
SAN FRANCISCO --- The Headlands Center for the Arts is preparing for their largest fundraiser of the year set to go down on June 4th at SOMArts here in the city. Art auction, food, drinks, live music, etc and all for helping to support a great institution up in the Marin Headlands. ~details
ABOUT HEADLANDS Headlands Center for the Arts provides an unparalleled environment for the creative process and the development of new work and ideas. Through a range of programs for artists and the public, we offer opportunities for reflection, dialogue, and exchange that build understanding and appreciation for the role of art in society.
We haven't been featuring many interviews as of late. Let's change that up as we check in with a few local San Francisco artists like Kevin Earl Taylor here whom we studio visited back in 2009 (PHOTOS & VIDEO). It's been awhile, Kevin...
If you like guns and boobs, head on over to the Shooting Gallery; just don't expect the work to be all cheap ploys and hot chicks. With Make Stuff by Peter Gronquist (Portland) in the main space and Morgan Slade's Snake in the Eagle's Shadow in the project space, there is plenty spectacle to be had, but if you look just beyond it, you might actually get something out of the shows.
Fifty24SF opened Street Anatomy, a new solo show by Austrian artist Nychos a week ago last Friday night. He's been steadily filling our city with murals over the last year, with one downtown on Geary St. last summer, and new ones both in the Haight and in Oakland within the last few weeks, but it was really great to see his work up close and in such detail.
Congrats on our buddies at Needles and Pens on being open and rad for 11 years now. Mission Local did this little short video featuring Breezy giving a little heads up on what Needles and Pens is all about.
Matt Wagner recently emailed over some photos from The Hellion Gallery in Tokyo, who recently put together a show with AJ Fosik (Portland) called Beast From a Foreign Land. The gallery gave twelve of Fosik's sculptures to twelve Japanese artists (including Hiro Kurata who is currently showing in our group show Salt the Skies) to paint, burn, or build upon.
Backwoods Gallery in Melbourne played host to a huge group exhibition a couple of weeks back, with "Gold Blood, Magic Weirdos" Curated by Melbourne artist Sean Morris. Gold Blood brought together 25 talented painters, illustrators and comic artists from Australia, the US, Singapore, England, France and Spain - and marked the end of the Magic Weirdos trilogy, following shows in Perth in 2012 and London in 2013.
San Francisco based Fecal Pal Jeremy Fish opened his latest solo show Hunting Trophies at LA's Mark Moore Gallery last week to massive crowds and cabin walls lined with imagery pertaining to modern conquest and obsession.
Well, John Felix Arnold III is at it again. This time, he and Carolyn LeBourgios packed an entire show into the back of a Prius and drove across the country to install it at Superchief Gallery in NYC. I met with him last week as he told me about the trip over delicious burritos at Taqueria Cancun (which is right across the street from FFDG and serves what I think is the best burrito in the city) as the self proclaimed "Only overweight artist in the game" spilled all the details.
Ever Gold opened a new solo show by NYC based Henry Gunderson a couple Saturday nights ago and it was literally packed. So packed I couldn't actually see most of the art - but a big crowd doesn't seem like a problem. I got a good laugh at what I would call the 'cock climbing wall' as it was one of the few pieces I could see over the crowd. I haven't gotten a chance to go back and check it all out again, but I'm definitely going to as the paintings that I could get a peek at were really high quality and intruiguing. You should do the same.
The paintings in the show are each influenced by a musician, ranging from Freddy Mercury, to Madonna, to A Tribe Called Quest and they are so stylistically consistent with each musician's persona that they read as a cohesive body of work with incredible variation. If you told me they were each painted by a different person, I would not hesitate to believe you and it's really great to see a solo show with so much variety. The show is fun, poppy, very well done, and absolutely worth a look and maybe even a listen.
With rising rent in SF and knowing mostly other young artists without capitol, I desired a way to live rent free, have a space to do my craft, and get to see more of the world. Inspired by the many historical artists who have longed similar longings I discovered the beauty of artist residencies. Lilo runs Adhoc Collective in Vienna which not only has a fully equipped artists creative studio, but an indoor halfpipe, and private artist quarters. It was like a modern day castle or skate cathedral. It exists in almost a utopic state, totally free to those that apply and come with a real passion for both art and skateboarding
I just wanted to share with you a piece I recently finished which took me 4 years to complete. Titled "How To Lose Yourself Completely (The September Issue)", it consists of a copy of the September 2007 issue of Vogue magazine (the issue they made the documentary about) with all faces masked with a sharpie, and everything else entirely whited out. 840 pages of fun. -Bryan Schnelle
Jeremy Fish opens Hunting Trophies tonight, Saturday April 5th, at the Los Angeles based Mark Moore Gallery. The show features new work from Fish inside the "hunting lodge" where viewers climb inside the head of the hunter and explore the history of all the animals he's killed.
Beautiful piece entitled "The Albatross and the Shipping Container", Ink on Paper, Mounted to Panel, 47" Diameter, by San Francisco based Martin Machado now on display at FFDG. Stop in Saturday (1-6pm) to view the group show "Salt the Skies" now running through April 19th. 2277 Mission St. at 19th.
For some reason I thought it would be a good idea to quit my job, move out of my house, leave everything and travel again. So on August 21, 2013 I pushed a canoe packed full of gear into the headwaters of the Mississippi River in Lake Itasca, Minnesota, along with four of my best friends. Exactly 100 days later, I arrived at a marina near the Gulf of Mexico in a sailboat.
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