Below are 3 photos that I took in St.Petersberg, Russia. Whats funny about them, is that I was standing in the exact same spot when I took the photo, on 3 different days, at 3 different times. Let me be clear. This was NOT intentional!
Long story, that I wont get all into right now. However, I'll promise to come back to it and explain actually what the idea is/was.
None the less, it required a few paintings of puffins that I needed to spawn off. I did one a while back and ended up painting over it. I even painted over it upside down! It was absolutely horrible, and no, you nor anyone else will ever see it. I won't even tell you what I painted over it, just to make sure someone would have a hard time finding it via blacklight. I was just not 100% into the project, and I needed to be to produce better work. I learned that being at 90%, is a dangerous thing. You either have to CARE, or not at all. That middle ground forces the brush to do odd things.
So, I stopped caring. Painting a few paintings/studies that I enjoyed. Very quick.
I love football. I didn't play much of it when I was younger, and its one of my oldest regrets. Seriously, I really wish I got on that train at an early age. The kids will definitely be getting some snaps. Yes, I don't care what she says. Bad Parent? Nah. Kids are here for you to live vicariously through, right???
The game has always been magical to me. These Titans in flashy clothing, clashing every Sunday for the ultimate week finale. If someone took football away from america, I'd move. No bullshit. The league upholds a certain american standard and tradition, that creeps past the spotlight and lands in the subconscious of our youth. Yes, a lot of our children (much like I did) look up to sports figures or organizations, and mimic what they do without realizing the patterns their accepting. Parents have a hard time seeing this, and doing otherwise because they too were raised fairly similar and the cycle perpetuates. So, why would I not be upset if one of these "stand up organizations" decides that it's NOT going to change it's company name and logo because its a none-issue? What does this teach everyone? What is it saying about our traditions? What does it say about our country?
"Redskin" is a slang term referring to Native Americans in the United States. American English it is labeled "usually offensive","disparaging", "insulting", and "taboo".
How are we able to turn a blind eye to this, and act as if theres nothing wrong with this name. In America, exercising your 1st Amendment basically means we all soapbox and complain about other shit that doesn't matter to us on a day to day basis. Lets take, public bathrooms for 500, please. This issue has been going on for YEARS now, and now North Carolina believes that we should make a change and agitate this already combustable society. Transgender individuals have been around for years, and seemingly perfectly happy with urainating amongst the sexual group they relate with. So why poke a sleeping bear? I don't know. However, if we are waking up sleeping giants, then why can't we talk about the hypocrisy which floats around the racial slur that is the Washington Redskins. After all, thats what it is. A football team, who's mascot (source of symbolic pride amongst a group united by a set goal) is a flat out described as "utterly offensive", and "insulting" to a group of individuals, we to this day live amongst.
The Redskins came into existence in 1932. To put that into perspective, Hitler had not yet invaded Poland to jump start WW11 yet. He was just getting warmed up. The following year, the Nazi Party rose to power, thus persecuting and removing Jews and other minorities from Germany. If that doesn't give you a good perspective on how antiquated this way of thinking is, think about this.... In 1933, it was illegal nationwide to produce, import, transport of sell alcoholic beverages here in the great US of A. With just these two instances, think about the mindset of that day and time. Both of these instances in this day and age are now are not only laughable, but outright offensive. Yet the Redskins logo and name aren't huh?
Listen, I get the argument of "when will it stop". Or I get the "when I say Redskins, I don't think of it being derogatory". I get that to. When I say the name, I don't think of it as immediately offensive as I would the "N" word (hard ER) simply because we didn't grow up around anyone using it on the daily. The word/logo itself does not offend me directly. But given this fact, should it not be something I stand up for? Plenty of people in the past stood up for my people who couldn't directly relate to the factor which oppressed us!!?! Being able to relate to a significant percentage of america's population who have been referred by disgusting names for a long stretch of american history, I could only imagine how I'd feel if I were native american and called this great nation "my home". It would make me hate the great game of football and the land that it was played on. It would definitely make me hate the people who stole that land from me.
I have never liked the redskins logo, thats true. Colors have sucked, and as a kid there was nothing that drew me to them. I like them about as much as... lets say, the San Diego Chargers. Well, no... I actually like the Chargers throwback colors and uniforms. Ah, the Buffalo Bills! I could live with them, or without them. They are there, and I acknowledge them as that random week 12 opponent on your schedule that is a stepping stone win to help you edge out your devision. Much like the Redskins, their noticed. But the Redskins need to be addressed for their sigil. I personally don't know any Native Americans (sadly), but I don't need to know them to address my opinion on the hypocritical postion the NFL is taking at the expense of all native americans.
My father is a great man. He taught me plenty of things growing up that I use on a daily basis. One thing that sticks with me is this : Don't complain about a problem, and not have a proposal for a solution. Otherwise your just complaining and nobody wants to be a complainer. Thats true. Complainers are the worst. The painting is my proposed solution. I felt like putting a woman in as the subject, for a predominantly male dominated sport as the spokeswoman for their brand was a good touch. Also, be it that she's white, and from Switzerland really goes against the grain. I turned her in the opposing way of the current logo as a metaphor to my resistance. Lastly, this Red Skin. When I think of red skin in reference to native americans, I don't think of pigment. I think of bloodshed.
So yes. Redskins, please consider changing your colors, team name and logo. Although the Pats didn't change their name, the definitely switched up their colors and uniforms, and look what they turned into.... #facts.
Painting is much like any thing you practice to get good at. Sure, those with talent wont lose much, but you still have to keep your skills tip top to stay at your best. Lately, I've been pretty bad with updating my blog, and keeping the paint wet/brush moving. Guilty as charged. To remedy this, sometimes you just have to come up with something, and then PAINT IT. This simple task proves to be difficult if you don't like practice. Practice??? Practice. We talking about practice. NOT a, not a game.... But Practice??
Shout out to The Answer!
The best thing about having a Interior Designing partner, is that she can almost use you like a swiss army knife (no pun intended) to any project that she's working on. I do some design, web, and IT work for her fairly normally, however I sometimes get casted to play the role of "artist", which is dope.
They needed a mural done for a non-profit they recently completed. They asked me to step in and put it down, so I did.
About 2 days later, I had a made-up, swiss inspired mountain view. A quick, fun, write-offable project completed.
This was a study that I was able to knock out in about 4 hours. There was nothing really to it but a study. I don't know who the model is, and I just basically found a face that I wanted to paint. This was entertaining. I should do it more often. I just might.
I realized the other day that I hadn't painted someones face since I've been in a relationship. WHAT!?!? I didn't even realize it. I had to look back to confirm this was in fact, chronologically correct, and it was true. My subject matter lately has been fair, "still".
This painting was just me having fun with painting the figure again. I missed mixing skin tones, and didn't realize I had. Proportions are a bit off in a few places along with a few other gripes but for the most part, I found it to be mostly successful (Nah, let's say productive). I was trying to get back into the swing of capturing a specific aesthetic the human face lets off, while trying to introduce the texture of my last works to this realm. When I was paintings figures and faces, the application was thin and smooth, with out texture.
I'm also just trying to stay in painting shape.
I'm absolutely planning on painting Eva. I just haven't gotten her to pose yet. When she can shoot, I can't shoot, and vice-versa. She next though. Thats for sure.
King Cashus, Lord of Utahouse, King of the Andals and the First Men, Prince of the Seven Oaks and Protector of the Realm was going to be his first name. No Joke. Then we figured it was a bit outdated, and entirely to long so we shorted it to just King Cashus. Really, it's just Cashus. We sometimes call em "Cash".... He even responds to whistles now.
Seriously though, we when with "Cashus" for a few different reasons. Firstly, he's named after arguable the greatest boxer of all time (in his prime). The prime part is important, lets be clear. We are not talking about the Forman/Ali age. I was aiming toward the Sonny Liston/Floyd Patterson Clay. He's named after that man, in his prime. Also, Eva's father was always called "Cassius" growing up (apparently for his shit talking and walking ability). We are very alike in that manner. And, it starts with a C, like yours truly. (Fact : Everyone in my immediately family, has a name that starts with the letter C.)
Raising a dog isn't an easy gig. It's just not. It's much more like raising a kid and I know that you've probably heard that before. Do you know how I came to this conclusion?? It wasn't the being called "daddy", or the getting up early in the morning to feed him when he's crying. One very simple act I found myself doing made me feel like a parent. Imagine this : Think of the typical American life vision that our society makes us believe is the america dream. White picket fence, with a back yard where the mother is able to do dishes and peer directly out the kitchen windows to monitor her child's actions. Same shit happened to me. I'm here doing dishes, and as I'm washing away, I'm looking through the window of the kitchen for him, searching throughout my field of vision to spot him after ventured out my sight. Parent.
I'll talk about him and his actions more. I'm sure. But I'm just gonna post a few image of this guy. For those who don't know, he's a Hungarian Vizsla. We got him from a breeder in Sacramento. I'm not even going to start talking about he process to get this dog. I'm just going to skip all that shit (because that's exactly what it was) and just get to the images.
Today marks a historic day. Today (July 10th, 2015) marks the day that the confederate civil war flag which represented the south has now permanently came down from flying about the South Carolina state house. My only regret, is that I wasn't there to see it come down personally, with my lady.
This is a very big deal for South Carolina, my home state. I could go on and on about it. However, this passage of my blog isn't to educate, or disperse my opinion on the topic. I find this occasion to be the perfect opportunity to explain a painting that I've done in the past, that is directly corralled to todays events, in a poetic way.
The Old South is the New South's Nightmare.
I did this painting back in 2009, and it came from a very positive, and proud place. After moving away from the south, I'd see that flag and always think of home. Yeah, some would consider that to be a shame be it that I'm an african-american, but hey, I didn't see what everyone else did. I didn't grow naturally disgusted by the particulars of this flag. All the whites that I knew never flew that flag in my face with malicious intent, so it was never a burning passion of opposition inside me when I saw the flag. You learn in school, or your parents/grandparents have a strong reaction, and for those obvious reasons it was something I didn't particularly entertain.
My intention was to create a narrative that would catch one's eye, and make positive commentary on a very unfavorable symbol, of the south's disgusting past. After all, I'm proud of the south and I'm proud of my past. This fact is something I will not shy from. My heritage travels with me internationally, spiritually, and unconditionally. Pride gives a man solid ground to stand on, no matter how its viewed amongst the masses, so when doing this painting I simply thought of the image as a 2-Dimensional banner of my roots, AND what I believe our tree will grow into in the future.
I used myself as the model, to represent all african-american peers from South Carolina. In the reflection of the avaitors which the metaphor is wearing, you'll see a reflection of the south carolina state house post 2003 after all the rebel flag was originally taken down atop the dome. This was HUGE at the time, and caused quite the stir. The figure is gazing towards the right side of the flag symbolizing progression. In the background/woven into the fabric in a more subtle manner which graduates to a much starker contrast as the eye continues right is a paisley/floral pattern. Even though these elements are working together on this confederated layout, I was able (and determined) to represent all 16 stars on the flag in the design. Once could make the argument that I missed one that should be placed in the eye of the glasses, but the focal point was placed in line of that last star purposely. The odd shaped figure in the top right corner which is in place of a star is the state of South Carolina.
The point of the painting is pretty simple. WE ALL are looking towards growth. WE ALL want a better tomorrow for our children and the south in general. We get a bad wrap for plenty of things, but hope, and pride will not be one of them. The south is literally, headed in the "right" direction in this painting, and I do believe older southerns (responsible for all this mess in the first place) are rolling around in their graves. But honestly, fuck em! Their dead anyway! A new south is approaching, and we are seeing change everyday, through our aviators!