Saturday, December 30, 2006
Nine months have gone by really fast, and so has my money. Was it worth it? Yes! It was very convenient to live in the island, the commute to work was a lot shorter, you can walk anywhere, can walk home from any hang out point in lower Manhattan, and meeting friends for drinks or whatever was much easier. Now I have to set one hour aside to come into Manhattan from Astoria. No big deal since I've done it before.
Some what upset I went up to the roof deck of my building and took these shots. My good bye as an insider. The financial district looks so alive from atop, while things are quite and desolate below. I'll miss living here, but happy to know that I'm moving on to a new exciting part of my life. Along with a new home is the new year, and I hope to make it a good one and focus a lot more on my art. Who knows, maybe I'll go back to school. Well, time has run out and I have to turn out the lights for the last time in this little studio apartment. I invite you, by clicking on the link, to witness my experiences in the city during these nine months. Have a look at my Views of NYC.
Tuesday, December 26, 2006
I saw this citrus fruit last week at the market and I had to have it; for painting that is. I bought it and asked the staff of the place if they knew the name of it since no sign was on the pile. No one was sure, they kept saying "Orange! Orange!" I left it in the fridge so that I could paint it after Christmas, and when I got home tonight my roommate, God bless his soul, threw it away. The first time ever he cleans the fridge in eight months happened when I was away in Connecticut with my family, and my little orange went down the garbage shoot. I had to go down to the store again and buy another one. To my luck they still had a few more. I asked again what kind of a fruit this was. I got the same answer "Orange! Orange!" I'm not sure if that's the truth or not since it looks like a mix between a lemon, an orange, and a clementine. Since I don't know the correct name for it I'm calling it "Little Orange."
Saturday, December 23, 2006
Many have seen the lights of the big tree of Rockefeller Center or the lavish window displays in 5th Ave., but not many get to see the other more humble things this city has. The first image above is a beautiful and huge tree placed in the middle of South Street Seaport, two blocks away from where I live. The tree above is from Washington Square Park.
Puppets, toys, jewelry, mugs, books and clothing. You can find all these things and more at the Christmas Market in Union Square. Every year a group of red and white striped tents go up in Union Square to form a little village of one of a kind, hand made gifts. You can't help but to feel like as if you just walked in to Santa's shop.
I fell in love with these puppets, they were all lined up with big smiles and open mouths. Don't they look like a jolly choir?
Hand made ornaments of all sizes hang in this tent. There is so much to look at it is hard to describe it all.
Once again the big tree in South Street Seaport. I hope you enjoyed some of the images in this post and I wish you all Happy Holidays and a Happy New Year! May we all find peace, health and success in 2007!
Friday, December 22, 2006
Thursday, December 21, 2006
Wednesday, December 20, 2006
Tuesday, December 19, 2006
Monday, December 18, 2006
I was very excited on Thursday to hear that someone was interested in buying one of my "one day paintings". After sending the guy all the information I could about the physical aspect of the work and it's creation, he emailed me back wanting to know if I had other work available in the price range of $300 to $2000. I sent him a link where he would find all this information. On Saturday morning he sent an email hoping to make a deal with me. I felt uneasy, and after asking Scott for his opinion, he did a search online with the findings that this was a scam!
Bellow you will find what we found online and a copy of the email the guy sent me:
Standard Art Fraud email letters (of introduction)
Good day, and thanks for the email.
Am o.k. with the price of the [art work name]. Am still interesting in purchasing it. Don't worry about the shipping, I have my shipping agent that will carry out the shipping and other necessary arrangements.
I am sending you the check of [$ value] euros, so you have to get your own 1700 euros for the [artwork name], and send the remaining excess funds on the check to the shipping company, through western union money transfer for the pickup of the [artwork name], from your place.
Here is the information that I need from you, where the payment will be made out to. Your full name that will be written on the check
Get back to me as soon as posible with these information today. I will await! this information from you.
Thanks and God bless...and here is my number [telephone number] you can give me call anytime also here is the shipping company email who is going to come for the pick up you can email them any time. [email of shipping contact] and also am from [country of origin].
Best reagards, [senders name].
Letter type two
thanks for your email sorry for my late reply...i would like to know some of your cheapest art works...i have already bugjet up to [$ value] for the art work so pleas let me know the art designs from [$ value]...
SHIPPING; i have a shipper who works with a shipping company so he would make arrangments and they would come and pick up the art work in your house so pleas dont borther about the shiping
i would instruct my shipper to mail you the money as soon as you get money you can cash it then deduct the money for the art work from the money and send the remaining back to my shipper and he would make arrangements. Please i hope you understand me...
this is my shippers contact mail [email address]
ensure to send me the info;
and let me know the prices range so i can know my bugjet
waiting for you
The email I received:
barber firstname.lastname@example.org wrote:
Thanks alot for the response,
so now in this case, I shall be paying through check for the payment and for the shipment, so you don't have to worry about the shipping, because I have a reputable shipping company who normally comes for the shipment of my items. So now I sall be sending you the sum of $4000, for the payment of the (Red Cabbage, Olive Oil, Two Onions and Tomato), so you are to deduct $1050 for the payment of what am buying from you and send the remaining to the shipping company in other for them to use it for the shipment.
Well, I know you might be wondering that why is it that you are the one to transfer the shipment funds to the shipper? Its becuase the shipper informed me about some problem they normally face by the seller when they come for pickup, and this make them to come up with a new arrangement on this above arrangement am telling you about, so all what you just need to do is to bear with me and the shipper so their wont be any problem on the day of shipment, cause if the payment were send to them via you its an assurance there is no problem and their wont be any problem on the day of pick up.
Hope yo got me right, OK if so do let me have all this bellow information in other for me to proceeds and send out the check to you.
Name on check;
Your Full address;
As soon as I receive all this information from you I shall proceed with the transaction and send the payment to you right away, and also for your information am from Netherlands and in a case you have any questions you can call me on this number +31643632911, and in a case you have any question you want to ask from the shipper regarding the shipment and packing you can email them on this email address email@example.com
Thanks and hope to hear from you ,
Get the Point?
I felt the need to share this with all you since most of us do our transactions through email. I feel very bummed out that this person was taking me for a fool, but thank God I followed my gut feeling and decided to seek advice. My findings proved that my intuition was right. How does the scam work? They send you the check/money order for you to deposit into your bank account. When that happens you are to tranfer the funds to them by check, cash or whatever. Few days later you get a call from your bank telling you that the check you deposited bounced, this is after you gave them your money. In the end you have to pay back for your withdrawal. When you get this kind of email, especially full of grammatical mistakes, alarms should start going off and just press the delete button! If any of you would like to see more testimonies about this kind of scam just do a yahoo search with the email the dude gave me, firstname.lastname@example.org. Seems like myway.com is their favorite!
Sunday, December 17, 2006
Saturday, December 16, 2006
I had scheduled to move to New York on Wednesday June 30, 2004. On Sunday June 27, late at night, I found an ad in the New York Times for a sales position at an art store. I looked at it and thought it was too good to be true, a good paying full time job for a sales person at an art store is unheard of. What did I have to loose right? On Monday night, after I got out of school I drove to the nearest Kinko's to fax my resume. That night I found out from a Kinko's employee that I had been faxing my resumes the wrong way, reason why no one called me for an interview. This time around I made sure to fax the damn thing right!
On Tuesday afternoon I get a call from my partner in New York letting me know that the manager from the art store had called and left a message in the answering machine. I called right away and told them that I could see them the next day, Wednesday June 30. I told them that I would be moving that day but that I would be there for the 5 pm interview. The next day I got up early, by 8 am I was on the road from Connecticut to New York with all my belongings and made it to my Queens apartment by 10 am. I started unpacking right away and made it to the interview forty five minutes early. I interviewed and two weeks later I get a call saying that I had the job.
I have been working for Kremer Pigments for two and a half years, learning a lot about materials and their use. Things that unfortunately art schools today don't care much about. I have grown as an artist and professional thanks to this job, and to top it all it paid my high rent, and it still does. I wanted to share with you this place. We recently moved to a new location in Chelsea, a store that's about three times bigger than the original store in SOHO.
Many changes have happened. This week Kremer Pigments Inc. NYC was sold to another company in California, Sinopia Inc. The new owner used to be a former employee of Kremer in the 90's, and now he's back to run the place. We are all excited since good changes are coming our way, but before the physical aspect of the store changes, I decided to bring you some images of the good old days of Kremer.
This is how the store looks at the moment, and in a few months everything will be revamped. By the way, that is Miss Paris Breakfasts herself sitting at the front counter in the top picture.
Please enjoy the images and if you can make it to the store in the next few months do so. Even if you don't work with raw materials you will like to see all the colors available, more than 500! Or you can look at my set of pictures.
Kremer Pigments Inc. a Sinopia Company, 247 W 29th Street, New York, NY 10001 (212) 219-2394
Thursday, December 14, 2006
I have been a follower of Caravaggio for many years, and to see The Crucifixion of Saint Andrew was an amazing experience. Most of the work I have seen by Caravaggio is from his early years, a period when his surfaces were smooth and the linen used as support was made up of a fine weave. I have seen this specific painting in books, recently I encountered it on a catalog that accompanied a show in London called, Caravaggio: The Final Years. It is one thing to look at art on printed paper, but the experience of looking at the real thing is incomparable. The first thing I noticed as I walked in to the gallery was the size. It's a massive painting, dwarfing the surrounding works, and as I got closer the lights shining down on it revealed a heavy linen weave. This I was not expecting, a Caravaggio with the surface of a Titian. I stood there taking it all in, the majestic bold use of color, the paint application, the power of the image; I couldn't get enough. I kept walking back and forth studying the painting, and before I knew it my Moleskine and pen were at hand and work began as passers by looked over my shoulder and at the painting. I didn't care much about them, I was having a moment.
Caravaggio has chosen to depict a very specific moment in the story of Saint Andrew. It may appear to be the moment of his crucifixion, as the title suggests, but according to historians this is not the case. Caravaggio is showing us the moment when Saint Andrew is about to get taken down from the cross.
"The Proconsul of Patra, upset at his wife having been baptised by Saint Andrew,
ordered that the apostle should be bound to a cross. For two days Saint Andrew
continued to preach from the cross to the gathered crowds, who pressed the
proconsul to have him taken down. Remarkably, the attempted rescue of the
apostle was thwarted when the soldiers who tried to untie him found their arms
paralysed, for the saint had prayed to be allowed to die on the cross; he was
surrounded by a dazzling light before expiring.
Caravaggio, The Crucifixion of Saint Andrew, 1606-7, oil on canvas, 202.5 x 152.7 cm, The Cleveland Museum of Art, Leonard C. Hanna, Jr., Fund
 Cassani, Silvia; Sapio, Maria. Ed. Caravaggio: The Final Years. Electa Napoli, Italy 2005
Monday, December 11, 2006
I let him lead the way through the charming streets of the Village. I'm not too familiar with this part of town since the streets are from old New York, before the grid and numbered streets. As we walked he told me of a book store I had to see. I thought he mentioned it because we were in the neighborhood, but suddenly I look up and there it was! I looked at the window and saw different art books. The place was still open, so we walked right in.
Left Bank Books was the dream I've been dying to have. This place immediately captured my heart, it was the old hard wood floors covered with vintage red Persian rugs, the old leather bench in the middle of the tiny store, and the shelves of books covering almost every square inch of the place. It was like walking into another long gone time period, one of those old vintage little stores in an early American colonial town. It was awe struck as we were greeted by the warmth of old paper and classical music. A pleasant and calm grey haired man sat behind a desk piled up high with books, reading and contently spending his time among his large collection of knowledge.
Not wasting any time I looked for the art section to see what surprises I may find. This wonderful book paradise specializes in modern and first edition fiction, poetry, theatre, film, art, photography and music books. In a place like this one I was sure to find some good reading material for those subway rides when you need to tune out the crowd and have some "me" time. Not a minute goes by and I found The Collected Writings of Robert Motherwell, an artist I like but a man who's ideas I find to be more appealing. I grabbed the used paperback and set it aside, happy to know that it was at an affordable price.
I didn't want to leave. It was one of those new obsessions you can't get enough of, and I didn't want anything or any one standing between me and the store. Eventually I had to come back to reality and gather my things, pay for my book and make my way out into the brisk night. We walked some more, appreciating the quiet night under beautiful trees and white Christmas lights adorning the fronts of different restaurants. Left Banks Books is located at 304 W. 4th St. (near Bank St.), New York, NY 10014.
Wednesday, December 06, 2006
Thursday, November 30, 2006
Thanks to my friend Scott Newcomb I found out about Art Face Off, an online competition open to artists world wide. People visit the site and rate your work on a scale from 1 to 10; I think. The site also holds monthly competitions between different artists to determine who's the best. Although this may sound competitive it's also a good way to get your name out there and meet different artists in your area and internationally. You may also come across future patrons, and that's something no artist should pass on. About more than 3,000 visitors voted during the first round of face offs, different blogs are writing about this online competition and Europeans are digging it as well. Last night I joined and my work is up ready to be rated by you. Everything is anonymous so you can be as honest as you like. On the home page click on the top tab "Vote Gallery" and then click on "search artists" on the left panel. Type in my name on the keyword area and then pick the work painting from the drop tag. You'll find me right away. Hope to see some of you in this site soon.
Tuesday, November 28, 2006
I made a mixture of earth tones and some chalk so that I can get this new ground layer to be a little absorbent. I also needed to add chalk because the oil content was too high and needed to thicken it up.
I'm hoping with this new try things will work better, since I've taken note of many of my mistakes along the way. Now I'll have to focus on another piece until this canvas dries.
Friday, November 24, 2006
It's impossible that these canvases actually talk and have a personality, I know that. It's a mental trick that is triggered by my guilt. Why do I feel this way? Why do I have this guilt, and guilt for what? This is something I have never been able to explain. But it's always there like thick air engulfing me every time I walk into this room. I'm not sure how it is with other artists, but I develop a close connection to my paintings. I call them my babies, and not just as a term of endearment but as something more literal since I feel that I gave birth to them. Maybe I'm nuts but that's the honest truth. Is this close connection that makes me feel like crap when I see my most exiting work abandoned, collecting dust and cob webs.
I run my hands on the back and front of as many paintings as I can. As sick as this may sound, touching them is a way of letting them now that I still have love for them and that I haven't forgotten them. Every painting in this room is special. They were all painted during a period in my life when turmoil reigned supreme and a brush against a canvas was my escapeism. These colorful canvases were hopes of better things to come and they were my main reason for pushing forward. I always look back at that time with fondness, as hard as it may have been I'm thankful for it since it has shaped me into who I am today.
As I leave this old room I look back before closing the door and promise them that no matter where I go I still think of them as the best, and that one day I'll come back for them.
Tuesday, November 21, 2006
Moving along through the exhibition the use of color is explored further, with paintings made of two or more panels, diptychs and triptychs, creating beautiful color harmonies reminiscent of Color Field painting. The main impact of the retrospective is Marden's "calligraphic" paintings with its early beginnings in 1971, after the artist visited and then moved to Hydra, a Greek island in the Aegean Sea. Inspired by the land and history of the setting, his new work became looser and poetic. The work from this period was setting him up for his new style, a visual language Marden has been utilizing and modifying through the 80's 90's and present.
Marden's use of color became more neutral as the paint applications became more transparent. Paintings like the Cold Mountain series were reminders of foggy days in the wilderness when the play between tree branches and clouds of fog mix together obscuring and clarifying things simultaneously between foreground and background. Marden is one of many abstract painters who draw their inspiration from light, atmosphere, and other natural elements. Some the his paintings make use of a soft golden yellows that look like sun light breaking through the fog after a rainy day.
Brice Marden, Dragons, 2000-2004, ink on paper, 40 1/2" x 29 1/4", Private collection
Marden unleashes his use of color even more in his recent work, with rich reds, purples, and oranges. What at one time seemed to be natural light has now been replaced with "color light." Paint layers are more opaque leaving saturated color to reflect light its own way, with no connections to landscape. Even though the newer paintings don't have the misty feel of earlier work, the idea of nature is still present. Some the most recent work deals with the imagery of rocks; not representative but inspired by their shapes. Marden has also been inspired by Asian culture, especially Asian art. Dragons, an ink drawing/painting is a perfect example of that.
On November 20, I had the privilege to attend an artist talk with Brice Marden at the Strand. This was a very informal gathering as the artist, after being introduced by the Co-owner of Strand, Marden opened up the discussion by taking questions. It is here when I get to find out the meaning of "rocks" in his work. According to the artist, rocks were used by Chinese scholars in their studios as way to remind them of nature. And as mentioned above, his work is based on nature, not as "depiction" but as capturing the feeling of being in it; and about free association of energies like the energies of water and land used in Asian landscape painting.
Here I am standing next to Brice Marden as he signs the catalog for his retrospective.
On this occasion I wrote down a few quotes by Mr. Marden that I thought were right on point:
"Nature is everything but us."
"You take this colored dirt and make magic." (Talking about pigments)
"Andy Warhol is over appreciated."
"A work of art is a renewable source of energy." (Marden here quotes one of his favorite writers.)