Boxing Fan.

Since I've came to the west coast, I've found myself immensely wrapped up into the art/sport of boxing.  Yes, the ART of boxing, and yes, also the sport of boxing.  The complexity of the form perplexes me on a deeper level.  Much like two-dimensional forms of expression through design do. Either way, I'm using this as a opportunity to speak about something NOT art related for once.  (Well, sorta). 

Boxing : Noun, the sport or practice of fighting with the fists, especially with padded gloves in a roped square ring according to prescribed rules.

Fight : Noun, a battle or combat.  a game or diversion in which the participants hit or pelt each other with something harmeless to inflict harm.

Contest : Noun,  a race, conflict, or other competition between rivals, as for a prize.  A struggle for victory or superiority.  

The recent Mayweather fight spun up a shit storm of controversy, that tightropes the line between sport spectacle and reality tv.  This is what makes the sports great, particularly boxing.  Shit can be talked, insults can be made and yet the most primal, and primitive means of handling any dispute is executed with the world sitting ringside.  Just that idea makes boxing great, and this fight was NO different than any others. 

My dude Everett brought this up to me when discussing my feelings on the recent Pacquiou/Mayweather fight.  He bought up the difference between boxing and fighting.  In a nutshell, he basically said you can't judge this boxing match without taking fighting into account, and as a fight, the aggressor usually gets the victory if it comes to a decision.  Pac Man was the aggressor, and was basically "bringing" the fight to his opponent.  Looking at the opposition,  Everett basically argued that in this fight, Mayweather did his fair share of blocking, evading, and making his opposition miss him, which isn't really "fighting".   Based upon the idea of fighting, he makes a valid point which is not to be knocked.  I don't see it this way.  

Boxing; to me, is poetic.  A boundless, artistic flow of athleticism cross-bred with chess like strategies.  A game, where as exhilarating the offense appears to be, lovers of the trade equally value the defense.  Boxing is the only sport, when refer to colloquially, the contestants don't "PLAY".  Football players play football, and basketball players play basketball.  Boxing is not a game.  Getting hit the wrong way, can kill you.  This underlying principle makes defense paramount, and necessary.   Boxing, is also a game of numbers and percentages.  One could make the argument that it only matters mathematically IF the fight goes the distance.  As far as deciding a victor when no knockout is present, absolutely.  But how does one make the distance, and not lose the fight.  You can throw inaccurately, and tire yourself.  One can choose to just block, to conserve energy and make the distance, but have no scored shots or knockdowns to show for it.  The right balance of defense and offense is essential to keep you in contention, keep your opponent on their toes, and keep the viewers interested.   This is EXACTLY what boxing is about. 

The Expectation : Pac Man is a holy man.  A man who gives back to the community, and came from nothing.  His natural persona radiates humbleness, with a soft spoken demeanor and an accent which woman refer to as, cute.  He reflects all that is "good" in the world. Pacquio is the best fighter in this weight class and the best chance for mayweather to suffer his first defeat.  His ferocity makes him elite, and will make the fight difficult for Mayweather and push him out of his comfort zone, resulting in a slug fest.  This combination is sure to crumble Mayweather.  He has not seen this kinda speed, mixed with combined power in anyone except Sugar Shane (whom he had a problem with.)  No matter the defense, Pacquiauo's offense would rein supreme and he will become victorious.  

The Result : Mayweather is not an outwardly holy man.  He too came from the bottom, in Grand Rapids, MI.  He takes his hard earned money, gambles with it and flaunts it.  From being sponsered by argubaly one of the most expensive swiss watch makers around (Hublot), and a legal fantasy gambling sport site (Fanduel), to naming his franchise "TMT', which stands for "The Money Team", Floyd Mayweather makes the sport a fruitful business operation.  A man who also has been to jail on numerous occasions for physical altercations outside the ring and domestic abuse.  He reflect all of which is "bad" in the world, while it continues to win.  Mayweather is THE BEST (pound for pound) fighter on the planet currently and has never lost.  There is a reason Floyd doesn't know what defeat taste like.  It's because defeat can't catch him. 

Pac Man was the aggressor, and bought his fight to Mayweather, and Mayweather managed to "weather" his storm of attacks.   Period.  This was the answer to many age old arguments.  Good vs. Bad?  Speed vs. Power?  Offense vs. Defense?  Well, I think you got your answer. 

 

New Work.

Finally.  My first show on the West Coast/SF.  It's been a long time coming, and I'm happy for it to be up so I can start a new direction.  I didn't name the show, simply because I didn't want a title to box the works together.  Yet, its the most uniform body of works I've done to date. 

Preparing for this particular show really tested me.  Specifically, in the "persistence" department. Being able to finally coming to a close and exhibit a visual commentary of that struggle, is a goal achieved.  Please, if you get a chance to come out and see it, please do.  The will be up for the next 3 months.   Thank you. 

Artist statement.

I get the question, "CB, what's up with the food paintings."

I let em know.  

Inspired by the monotonous routine of american cuisine, my latest works explores the decadence, and visual allure that our society has designed into the appearance of our daily diets.  American’s indulgence and obesity issues, and unhealthy consumption habits are triggered by delectable presentation, and lowered price points feed on the middle/lower class.  My work is a visual depiction of idealized american food presentation, the struggle to ignore it, and its power to feed on/to americas’s unhealthy majority.

Close the book on that one, son. 




Happy New Year. In March.

Yeah, I'm the worst.  I'll try and do better.  However, I do have an excuse.  I/we made a new site.  I simply forgot how long it actually takes to design, update and launch a website.  I think it took much longer because its a duel effort.  2x's the reads, writes, and editing efforts.  It turned out pretty well.  Take a look if you'd like. The address is Utahouse.com.  The website is a way for the both of us to keep our friends and family updated with whats going on in our lives without having to facebook/text/call/skype everyone and have to repeat everything.  Oh, and Happy New Year. 

                                                                                                                       I designed this logo, with Eva's and my logo in mind. 

                                                                                                                       I designed this logo, with Eva's and my logo in mind. 

Tintype Valentines for Black History Month.

This was part of my valentines day gift to my lady.  We don't take many pictures together, simply because I don't feel as if i'm very photogenic.  It's a common bond that we both share.  So, I thought to myself, "lets take some". We took Tintypes.  Read about them here. The photographic technique made famous in the late 1800's to capture an individual in time, while also showing ones wealth, prizes, and possessions.  It's basically a postiive image on a thin sheet of iron, coated in lacquer.  The technique is explained in the article.  So to my point...

We arrive at Rayko in San Francisico to have our photos taken.  We're able to see a few of the photos/couples taken before us to get a bit of inspiration on exactly how couples were going about poses to get their photos taken.  All couples were creative.  Some had stern glares, some had their dog in the photo, and some were even naked. However, all images gave off the same feel of a new aged individual in 1885.  I had no reason to believe (or so I thought) my photo wouldn't come out just fine.  Never EVER would I have thought that the photo would have been offensive, right? I mean, how could it?? 

Dude (the photographer) comes in and asked us if we have practiced our photo in front of a mirror that they provided with adequate lighting in the studio where the shot was to take place. We gave him the green light.  We then line our toes up on the tape on the floor and get in position.  Count down, 3, 2, 1, fire!  Bright flash, smoke off the flash, intense heat and a requested hold of pose for 1, 2, 3.  Photographer immedialty takes the photo in the back (for processing I assume) and in about 5 mins he returns with the photo in a tray with some photo solution in which the tintype lies exposed for the first time.  My eyes roll across, and almost began to water.  Why?  The only thing that I am able to think is : I look like a slave. 

Immediately I'm overwhelmed with embarrassed and am uncontrollably mortified.  And worst than all, I felt like I’ve ruined what was supposed to be sweet gesture, for my lady.  I asked her, “whats wrong with this image”?  She says “nothing, I think its great”!  You see, be it that she’s not from the U.S., she wouldn’t see the glaring imagery which I see as undeniable.  I then told her “I look like a slave”, and she began to laugh.  This laugh, which did sting initially, than subsided because I realized that she was laughing at how ridiclous my reaction was.  Still, I felt strongly about the image, so I called Brett.  

Brett Jensen.  My man, 100 Grand. One of my greatest friends ever, period.  He keeps it straight with me.  I can rely on him to give me the truth, whether harsh or not.  I prefaced him by letting him know that what I was about to show him really upset me and that I may be offended, however his honesty is the only thing I’m seeking here.   I text him the image, and he basically didn’t notice why I felt the way that I did (side note, Brett is caucasian, and was born and bread in the US).  In fact, not only did he not agree with me, he actually like the picture.  But then we began to talk and he basically said following (paraphrasing here) : 

"Do you automatically look at an old-time photo, and begin to think what your life would have been like if you lived at that time?? Yeah, tin types remind us of times past but nothing else in this particular photo fits your knee jerk reaction to this photo of yourself.  Getting your photo taken in that time, wearing cloths you wear proud was a social statement of your wealth and status.  Even more if you were black.  Now I can’t stand from your perspective.  I can’t tell you how you should react, or how your emotions should sway, but I felt zero of the vibe that you felt when looking at the exact same image.  But here’s the quote that makes brett different, and this deserves to be quoted....  

Everyone has strong reactions to seeing themselves photographed and immediately tries to talk bad about themselves to beat others to the punch. Self perception is never self perception. It’s always to an imaginary audience.
— Brett Jensen

 

That statement was one of the truest statements I’ve ever.  How often does one look at an image of themselves and immediately judge in favor of negative.  Even when one finds themselves socially acceptable, (aka self acceptable), how long does it take them to admit it aloud, if ever?  Or, you take a photo of someone you think is a beautiful capture, they see it and want to delete it off your camera so you can’t keep it?  Because that's how they see themselves.  Truth is, and people forget this… you NEVER see yourself.  You have to trust  the image that a camera, or a mirror reflect.  It’s the world that sees you honestly.  Thats a right the world has and your ability to ever see how beautiful you really are is forever revoked. 

In closing.  I’m proud of this image. I might look like a slave because my face is extremely dark.  I might look like a slave because my lips are extremely white, and they seem to be larger than normal.  And I might look like a slave because of the age in which the photo was taken.  But slaves weren't allowed to have beautiful woman of fair complexion who adore them, openly and freely.  Slaves had very little to be proud of at the time, and my look shows nothing but pride.  And if anything, it doesn’t look like I’m about to be sold.  If anything, it looks like I purchased the right to forever be proud of our image together!

Eva and Cory : circa 2014

Eva and Cory : circa 2014

Eva and Cory : circa 2014

Eva and Cory : circa 2014

Switzerland: From my perspective.

Switzerland.

I've been wanting/waiting to go to Switzerland ever since the summer of 2008.  That summer, needless to say was very eventful summer.  This particular NYC summer was the time I met 3 woman from Switzerland.  One, followed by another, than another, all in the 3 month span of time.  Before this, I'd never met anyone from Switzerland.  Funny enough, each of the 3 woman didn't know one another.  Anyway, that summer came and went. 

The following year, my neighbor who lived a few floors up in my building was out for the night in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.  She invited Brett and I out to come and meet her and a friend of her's.  I asked Amanda, my neighbor, "whats your friend like, where is she from"?  When she told me she was from Switzerland, I then thought to myself, "nah, I'm good... I'm all swissed-out" for now.  I've never been so wrong in my life.  This particular swiss miss, was the best yet... and is now my girlfriend, and the reason why I was able to visit that beautiful country. 

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The camera shutter went bananas over there.  I tried to capture everything in my capabilities.  After 1500+ shots, these are the images made the cut. 

Guess what book this is...?

Guess what book this is...?

The land of Meat....

The land of Meat....

And of course, cheese.

And of course, cheese.

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Same mountain, 4 hours later.  I swear. 

Same mountain, 4 hours later.  I swear. 

Ha! Liar swag. 

Ha! Liar swag. 

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She thought I was taking a picture of her mother, and THAT'S how I caught the troublemaker smiling.

She thought I was taking a picture of her mother, and THAT'S how I caught the troublemaker smiling.

The Troublemarker Photoshoot.

The Troublemarker Photoshoot.

The Titlis Cliff Walk,  apparently  the highest suspension bridge in Europe.  Sure felt like it. 

The Titlis Cliff Walk, apparently the highest suspension bridge in Europe.  Sure felt like it. 

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Snowfall here was nothing short of magical. 

Snowfall here was nothing short of magical. 

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Hopefully, this feldschlösschen will cut back on the steam that breathing off my crown.

Hopefully, this feldschlösschen will cut back on the steam that breathing off my crown.

I wonder where he went??

I wonder where he went??

This fade is natural.  

This fade is natural.  

Happened again here,... I don't know what it is, but its awesome. 

Happened again here,... I don't know what it is, but its awesome. 

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Cerebral Connectivity.

While out of work recently, I had a lot of time to think.  With this thinking, came adjusting.  Adjusting, like having to calculate anything scheduled on television because I never realized that every televised time frame seemingly circles around east coast time.  Or getting used to it being late November and not requiring gloves and scarfs.  Or having wake up early on saturday and sunday just to watch my teams play.  Or having to parallel park, everywhere.   All these adjustments have began to add up.  And the main one is that I'm having to adjust to the idea that I wasn't able to paint because I lacked studio space and materials.  

Well, creating artwork means the world to me and I don't have my painting shit.  So what do you do?  Well... You create artwork ANYWAY!  Who says that you need paint to make artwork?  I haven't broken the monotony in so long, that I forgot that I could create something to my pleasing in another medium other than oil.  Quick run to the art store, and about $45 later...ready to go. 

So, I lost a bet.  Eva beat me fair and square in a competition, and I lost a bet.   So, her earnings would require a couple of quick sketchers from me.  Size, length of time it took... didn't matter.  I just had to fork up some sketches.  It's hard for me to just do sketches.  I get locked in, and what I thought was going to be a sketches has somehow transformed into a drawing, and then morphed into a full out piece of work, portfolio ready.  So, I lost the bet.  Bad.  

Raw drawing without touch up. 

Raw drawing without touch up. 

Explanation of the subject.   My father asked me one day, "what does eva like"?  I had to think about it.  I'm thinking about all the things that I know she doesn't like, however I find it difficult to place my finger on what exactly she's fond of.  Light goes off, and now I have the answer.  I blurt out to my dad without realizing how awkward an answer it might sound, "antlers... she likes antlers".  This was a new discovery for me.  I start looking at her decorations and realize that I see antlers everywhere.... Conclusion?  She really does like antlers.  

One day, she's about to fall asleep.  I ask her "do you know what the purpose of antlers really are"?  I wasn't asking because I knew because, surely, I didn't either.   She said no, so I pulled up this article and read through it while she was drifting off to count sheep.  All of the other properties and uses are pretty cool, but they are really there for show.  To attract the opposite sex.  To mate, or to find one rather.  Its basically, deer swagger.   With this idea in mind, it basically is a completely mental thing.  The length of them don't physically do anything other than attract.  Not in a magnetic, or tangible way.  I didn't take it that way.  I took it that it was my....... cerebral. 

Prints coming soon...

Prints coming soon...

This is my first run of prints, ever.  Signed and numbered editions and hand chosen thick, watercolor paper.  Price is unknown quite yet, but will be finalized shortly.  If these go well, I'll keep the prints rolling for future works.   Thanks for your support.  

Great 2013. Better 2014.

Last Painting of 2013.

Engleberg, Switzerland:  The place I would end my year in 2013, and the most fitting place to bring in 2014. 

2013 was a GREAT year for me.  It's easily been the best year to date.  I've done more this in this year then I've done in the past 3 (in my opinion).  By no means has this come easy.  As for the down sides, I've been homeless (couch surfing for months).  I was living on the brink of termination from my job of 6 years for about 6 months, to finally walk way from it leaving me jobless for another 3 months. I've been without any income, and practically living off savings.  However on the upside, I've been probably more profitable than ever.  I stumbled across the love which lights my life (accidentally) while traveling through the Untied States with one of my favorite dudes.  I produced my very first solo show, with no help from anyone (shout out to Jake and Larry for the show set up).   I moved to the west coast.  I left my old job and landed a new one.  I was able to see my favorite professional and college football games live, on 2 different coast.  I spent my birthday in the Bahamas, and spend the years end in Switzerland with the woman I love.  2013 was definitely a "give and take" kinda year.  An ebb and flow, if you will.   How do I honor all this... I know how.  Paint. 

I hadn't painted outside since I learned how to use oils.  I remember having to do it for class, and absolutely hating it.  Once I began to gain steam and paint indoors, in the company of all my tools (projector, computer, lighting, etc), I found myself unnoticeably relying on these tools.  Feeling like I've artistically "forgotten where I come from", I felt an opposing and alarmingly overwhelming need to rediscover my foundation.  What would be a better place to paint outside than in Switzerland.. right?  I mean, nothing test your ability more than painting in 10 degree weather, for a shortened amount of time with light because the mountains block out the sun.  Or to paint on palette paper, when you only know glass.  Did I ever mention how often the scenery changes color and shadow location in the mountains?  No?  Well, the colors and the shadow locations change significantly, if I didn't make that clear already. 

 

In progess...

In progess...

Final (close-up)

Final (close-up)

In closing.  The painting turned out great to say that I couldn't feel my fingers or toes.  I ended up leaving it in the hands of Claudia and Rolfe Müller, (My girlfriends parents) as a thank you for all they did for me/us, and all the accommodations they made which made my trip to Switzerland memorable.  This was the first painting I've ever done outside the country, and because of this experience... wont be the last.

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