Sunday, October 24, 2010


I am on the road to becoming an artist, but… what exactly is an artist? One would say that an artist is a person with the ability to produce art, but then it becomes more ambiguous because really, what IS art??? Some would say that art is an expression of the artist in order to evoke a response from the viewer. In other words, art is subject to interpretation. I had to go to a lot of art exhibitions in the last couple of weeks; some were good and some were bad, some were hard to elaborate and others looked like children were playing around and the outcome was that particular painting. I am not going to post those pictures because there are a lot of them and you’d have to be involved in some kind of art making to somehow appreciate them. I am learning to do so but it is hard, to open my mind and really get a painting or a sculpture for that matter. For me it is as if I open a bottle of wine of Premier Cru Château Margaux. I know it is a great wine, but I don’t think I could elaborate on why this specific wine is that good. Well, art, as wine, is an acquired taste, but you have to be very sophisticated (which I am NOT) to create or critique on those pieces. I just see good, bad, or repulsive, in some cases.

Either way, art is good because it is an expression of someone, it could be beautiful or grotesque, but it always has a meaning, even if the author doesn’t know it. The main question here is what is art to you, or in this case, to me! I have done some pretty bad artwork (as you will see), but some seem to like them. There was this case when I did a project for my sculpture class and I created an object using tongue depressors. I spent around 5 hours gluing them together and at the end I knew it wasn’t a work of art and it was obviously very cheap (250 tongue depressors cost me around 4 dollars), but at the subway one girl came to me and smiled when she noticed the “sculpture”. (Maybe she was flirting with me but I am totally clueless on the subject ;)). This made me think that if this obsolete abstract piece of “art” (I can think of a better adjective for it) could make someone smile, then it is a good work of art and it should be exhibited. Well, I wanted to test this theory so coincidentally that day we went to 5 exhibits. One of the exhibitors specialized on creating a lot of random stuff using garbage, very similar to my homework; so I put my piece on the floor near some other sculptures to see what happened. This is for real, people went on and admired my sculpture, and I even heard one interpret why the author made this thing. Seriously, art is everywhere… and since then, I am finding art in the most unusual places.

Ok, so I want to be a comic artist. Is it still art? Hell, yeah! Next week I am going to post some comic artwork and you better like it or else… But honestly, I have seen original art from comic artists and they are so exquisite that I know by now how difficult and time-consuming they were.

Another thing to considerate is that when you create something, it is YOURS! It has a certain connection to you. For instance, I made another sculpture (This class is so fun but I really don’t want to keep doing this!!! I’d rather be drawing) that when I left it on the table around other pieces made by my classmates, I was really connected to mine. I protected it. It had no life but still I knew every detail of it, I knew how it was assembled and how it was painted. All the decisions for it to become what it is were mine. Somehow, and this could sound really creepy, when I turned around I felt its eyes on the back of my neck (No, I am not doing drugs, I am just expressing myself as an artist ;)). I think this is the only way to actually OWN something. Buying something does not make you an owner, anybody, with enough money, can do that, but to create something, even if it is crap, it is your creation, yours and nobody else’s.

Besides sculpture I do other stuff too! I also paint and draw. I did four paintings and one big drawing! First I am going to talk about my painting experience. In class we had to paint a white still life and give the composition some values and tones. I spent around twelve hours doing this painting, and since it was my first oil painting I think I did OK. I noticed how in my first class I was messy and could not handle the brush well, but since it was an in-class project I got better by the end, which made me fixed some mistakes at the beginning, others were impossible to rectify. We used the mix of two composite colors and added white to make specific tints and some black to create shades. Let me remind you “this is NOT my BEST, this is my FIRST!” So if somebody want my first painting the bidding starts at $200 ;)

The next projects were homework and I spent like 4 hours on each one. I used acrylic on a board canvas. The Mondrian inspired project was intended to use as many colors I wanted the way I wanted them. It was an exercise on mixing colors. I got an A so I guess I did OK. The other I enjoyed more because it was more challenging. I painted my running shoes using just orange. Of course you can see more colors but only because I needed to use some whites and blacks in order to give some tonality. I really liked this one, specially since I am a runner.

 I also had to do a Sol LeWitt inspired painting on a 6 x 6 in. wood panel for my art history class. I just taped it and painted in black and white. I didn’t feel like doing more, above all because the teacher told the entire class that my last project was the least intellectual (the nerve on that guy!). I did NOT do my best effort with my latest job but he was enchanted, mesmerized, fascinated with this piece. He told the entire class that this was the best response to LeWitt since I extended the painting to the edges, so it focused more on the object rather than the illusion of painting. I nailed it with this and all of it came from within me, I just did not know it when I painted it :). Who knows, maybe there IS an artist inside of me!

Finally, my beloved drawing project, this is what I really enjoy the most. My assignment was to take three objects from home and draw them. Once I watched my fellow classmates turn in their works I knew I overworked for this one. Don’t get me wrong, there are some talented guys in the class, but even they did not spend so many hours with this project. Like I said in one of my tweets: “I am not the most talented, but I am for sure the one who works the hardest”.

Since I cannot finish my entry without mentioning anything pejorative about my classmates, I will only say this: I am learning a lot of slangs from them. For instance, when you say “two thumbs down” it means, as we all know, that it sucks, stinks, or it is just bad, but when you say “two thumbs away” it means that this is just not worth it, the absolute worst, so bad that it has crossed the point of no return. Also the term “rad”, which I will write down the definition from the Urban Dictionary below.

Rad.- An abbreviation of 'radical'--a term made popular by the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Still primarily used by people on the West Coast who find words like 'cool', 'awesome', and 'tight' to be tired and overused; 'rad' is generally considered to be a much higher praise than the aforementioned superlatives. Also used as a general expression of awe.

So, these couple of weeks were RAD!!! ;) I know! it is totally lame that I am learning this shit, but really, I spent 24 hours a week with them, and it always comes from the same girl. Maybe she is lame and I am catching lame words. Was it a joke, a gag, some uncool word to say for a couple of laughs? I honestly can’t tell, and don’t care that much either! As WTF means “why the face” to Phil Dunphy from Modern Family, now RAD means “cool” to me. Have a RAD week you all!


José Luis