Thursday, March 24, 2011

We've moved!

It's official!  My new identity is done, and the new site is up, which has an integrated blog journal with a bigger, better looking format.  So it's time to shut down Deconstruction I and move on to Deconstruction II.

Huge thanks go out to Lucian and Todd at Cypher13 -- insanely talented designers and collaborators that worked with me from beginning to end.

And thanks to everyone that checked in and shared their thoughts over the last few years, it has been inspirational to hear from people all over the world.

Here are the new links:

Please stay in touch!

Friday, February 4, 2011

Busy Busy

Wow.  It has been a long time since I've taken time to write.  I'm back in the studio after a crazy January that took me to New York, all over Mexico, and North Carolina (twice).  

I'm definitely feeling the journal neglect guilt, but have been reluctant to write here because I am putting the finishing touches on a sweet new site / blog / identity that should be done sometime next week.  I can't wait to get it done.

2011 is off to a great start.  Let's hope it continues...

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Beautiful Losers = Winners

Watched Beautiful Losers tonight -- a story of the birth, growth, and explosion of an art movement that has now firmly lodged itself into advertising + pop culture.  

Mike Mills, Barry McGee, Thomas Campbell, Ed Templeton, Geoff McFettridge, Margaret Kilgallen, Chris Johansen, Shepard Fairey, etc, etc, etc, are all in there, talking about their beginning with Aaron Rose and The Alleged Gallery in NY.

I especially liked Geoff McFettridge's take on how he entered the commercial realm on his own terms, while under tremendous amounts of pressure from the agency / client world.

Anyway, I was inspired to follow up with some of these fine creators and see what they're up to now, a few years after the 2008 film.

Thomas Campbell just had a show at 49 Geary in SF, and shot a strange 60 sec. spot for Fuel TV, as part of their signature series:

TC's film, (#25 in a series of 100 films), puts him in the company of Doug Aitken (#3 of 100):

as well as personal fave Hunter Gatherer (#22 of 100)

Mike Mills appears to be taking a break, at least based on the lack of new work on his site, but made a film about antidepressants in Japan that looks interesting:

McFetridge is cranking out amazing work for everyone.  And it's 100% his.  Nice.... 

Barry McGee is still with Deitch Projects, and doesn't have need his own site.  This painting sold for $50k.

This Chris Johanson painting went for $32k.

Not sure how to describe what Ed Templeton is up to.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Talking about art is like dancing about architecture

I'm working on a new site, and have been thinking about different ways to present my work, and thinking about artist statements.  Even if you don't end up sharing it with anyone, the exercise of thinking and writing about it can be really helpful, bringing clarity to what you do, and where you want to go.

But do you really have to articulate what your work means?  Is this even possible with words?  As Steve Martin said, "talking about art is like dancing about architecture."

That said, I've been looking around at how other people talk about their work.  I am drawn to statements that sound like a normal person talking.  Like this one from House Hunter Todd Hido, via 20x200:

"People ask me how I find my pictures. I tell them I drive around. I drive and drive and I mostly don’t find anything that is interesting to me. But then, something calls out. Something that looks sort of off or maybe an empty space. Sometimes it’s a sad scene. I like that kind of stuff. So I take the photos and some are good. And I keep driving and looking and taking pictures."
Does this tell us what the work means?  Not really.  But do we have a deeper understanding of his work?  Sure.  So does this really count as an "artist statement?" 

Who cares?

It's frustrating to have to pick up a thesaurus to get through a really wordy, esoteric statement.  Getting caught up in layers of "artspeak" seems like a great way to alienate and exclude people from formulating their own ideas about the work. 

Emily Shur (amazing floating donut pic) wrote about this conundrum a while back:

"Why can't we just take pictures?  I always feel as though there's supposed to be some deeper meaning behind my pictures, a meaning other than 'Something inside me connected with what I saw in front of me, so I pulled out my camera and took a picture.'  That does not seem to fly as an artist statement.  Why, I'm not sure."   

Or as ninja master Garry Winogrand said, in fewer words:

"I photograph to see what the world looks like in photographs."

Enough said.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Daft Punk vs. Kanye

KCRW is my go to radio station.  The other day Jason Bentley talked with Joseph Kosinski, director of the new Tron movie about working with Daft Punk, who scored the entire film.  It's an interesting story about creative collaboration, and they play 5 or so tracks from the film too.  Listen here

During the interview, Kosinski mentioned a film that Daft Punk wrote and directed in 2006 called Electroma. So I cued it up tonight while working on promos.  The entire 70 minute film is here, which I found to be about 60 minutes too long.   But it's cool to see how two musicians that dress like robots would make a film:  In rural Utah, with a vintage Ferrari, and lots of extra robot helmets.

I made it to the end of Electroma, then jumped over to Kanye's site to see Runaway.  Lots of strange, expensive looking scenes, and plenty of Mr. West's music to keep things lively.  I did think the opening shot of Kanye sprinting down the road was especially beautiful.

In the end, both films are self-indulgent and silly.  But it doesn't matter.  These guys are musicians, not filmmakers.  More power to them for taking the leap and doing something new.   Although if I had to pick one film to shoot, I'd have to go with sad, exploding robots, hands down.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Remember this guy?

Alex Roman, the guy that made the insanely beautiful architectural piece last year that blew my mind?

What's he doing now?  Not surprisingly, he is killing it.  Check out this piece he did for Silestone.  I watched it like 10 times:

(And yes, it's CGI.)

Thanks to ISO50 for the find.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Talk to me!

Rob Haggart posted this interview with Hall of Famer Clint Clemens, which I found to be one of the most thought provoking posts of the year.  A few juicy quotes:

1) "So what’s happening is that you have a world in which the supply of photography is much, much greater than it ever was. You’ve got the concept that data, because it’s ones and zeros and it’s not a physical asset, has less value."

2) "So, how do you build a wall around yourself?  It used to be your ability to focus, process, expose, etc. and that whole wall has completely fallen down.....essentially what we’re seeing is the automation of photography with all these new cameras."

3) "My sense is that the real profit in photography is coming through people that are essentially teaching."


I'd like to turn the tables for a minute.

This blog started as nothing more than my creative journal.  Over time it has transformed, and through it, I've heard from shooters around the world, which has been amazing.  But this is a big, interesting, important conversation that is worth having.

SO.....whether you're a regular or first time reader of this blog, please, please, take 2 seconds to share your thoughts.  And if you want to share a little bit about yourself that would be awesome too.

Talk to me!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010


After seeing Brock Davis' MSCED project the other day, I decided to go make something cool.  I wasn't going to overthink it.  Just let an idea enter my mind, and make it happen, without second guessing or overthinking it.  I'd just let my imagination lead, and my hands would follow.

We've had a beautiful fall here, and it has been amazing to watch the trees slowly change colors.  There was one in particular on my street that was a really nice shade of pink, with big, perfect leaves.

So I decided to do something with leaves.  Then I thought it would be funny to have a pile of leaves that was perfectly square, instead of the low, round piles we're used to seeing.  Where would it be?  In someone's yard?  Too obvious.  In the middle of a field seemed more random and simple.

So I raked up the pink leaves (my neighbors found this to be a little bizarre), glued them to a box, took it to a big field, and made this picture:

Which I have to say is a really stupid, almost embarrassing image.  But the process was a success.  It felt good to just make something for the sake of making something, without getting caught up in trying to understand why you're making it, or what it means.

Cubist leaf pile: check.  On to the next idea.....

Monday, November 8, 2010

Baldessari @ The Met

In NY a few weeks ago for some meetings, I carved out a few hours one afternoon to get over to the Met to the see new Baldessari show, as well as the final few days of the Starn Bros. Big Bambu.  

The museum is totally overwhelming, both in its size, and in the spectrum of its work.  Museums for me, are like restaurants.   I have to be careful how much I consume -- after a while I start to feel full, and the food loses its flavor.  

I beelined for the Baldessari show, which took me about 20 minutes to locate in the maze of galleries stuffed with Warhols, Closes, DeKoonings, Rothkos, all the heavy hitters.  It's always a strange experience to see a painting up close after having seen it reproduced a million times elsewhere in a million formats.  

The Baldessari show was amazing -- I love the purity of his conceptual approach, and the simplicity of his work.  It was like being in a room full of whimsical, tangible ideas, many of which make you laugh out loud:

JB is still making work at age 80, and has been since the 50's.  So the whole show just oozed dedication and lifelong commitment to his art.  I especially like that he lived in National City, CA for a long time, taking periodic trips to NY / LA to see art, but staying mostly unfiltered by local scenes and influences.
There was an original JB print for sale in the gift shop, which seemed weird.  And it was only $5k or so.  For a second I entertained the thought of slapping it on the MasterCard...

Why I am so enamored with Mr. Baldessari?  Because he's known all along what many people never fully grasp -- that it's all about the idea.